Classic Mole Sauce


I’ve never tried mole, but have always wanted to make it. It’s incredibly complex. It took all day to make. At first, I thought I had ruined the sauce because all I could taste was burned chiles. By Day Two, the burned taste went away and the flavor of all the other ingredients came through. The mole tasted dense, smoky, rich, and earthy.

The hardest part was deep frying the chiles. I tore them up a little too much, and it took forever to fry all the small pieces. I’m not sure how much flavor was imparted by the frying, but it seemed like a superflous step. Next time, I will tear the chiles into 2 or 3 pieces max. I may skip the frying altogether.

This recipe makes a large quantity of mole. I could have easily made a half batch and still had plenty. But since it is such an involved process, I figured we could freeze the leftover and enjoy it later.

Adapted from Rick Bayless’ Classic Red Mole

Classic Mole Sauce

Classic Mole Sauce


5 medium tomatillos, husked and rinsed
1 1/3 cup sesame seeds
¾ cup vegetable oil
6 dried mulato chiles, stemmed, seeded and torn into large flat pieces
12 dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded and torn into large flat pieces
6 dried pasilla chiles, stemmed, seeded and torn into large flat pieces
8 garlic cloves, peeled
1 cup whole, unskinned almonds
1 cup raisins
1 teaspoon cinnamon, preferably freshly ground Mexican canela
½ teaspoon black pepper, preferably freshly ground
½ teaspoon anise, preferably freshly ground
¼ teaspoon cloves, preferably freshly ground
2 slices firm white bread, darkly toasted and broken into several pieces
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, roughly chopped
3 quarts chicken broth
1/3 cup sugar


  1. On a rimmed baking sheet, roast the tomatillos 4 inches below a very hot broiler until splotchy black and thoroughly soft, about 5 minutes per side. Scrape into a large bowl. In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the sesame seeds, stirringly nearly constantly, until golden, about 5 minutes. Scrape half of them in with the tomatillos. Reserve the remainder for sprinkling on the chicken.
  2. Turn on an exhaust fan or open a kitchen door or window. In a large dutch oven, heat the oil over medium. When quite hot, fry the chiles, three or four pieces at a time, flipping them nearly constantly with tongs until their interior side has changed to a lighter color, 10 seconds total frying time. Don’t toast them so darkly that they begin to smoke. As they’re done, remove to a large bowl, being careful to drain as much fat as possible back into the pot. Cover the toasted chiles with hot tap water and let rehydrate 30 minutes, stirring frequently so they soak evenly.
  3. Remove any stray seeds left in the oil. With the pot still over medium heat, fry the garlic and almonds, stirring regularly, until browned (the garlic should be soft), about 3 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove them to the tomatillo bowl, draining as much fat as possible back into the pot. Add the raisins to the hot pot. Stir for 20 or 30 seconds, until they’ve puffed and browned slightly. Scoop them out, draining as much fat as possible back into the pot, and add to the tomatillo bowl. Remove dutch oven from heat and set aside.
  4. To the tomatillo mixture, add the cinnamon, black pepper, anise, cloves, bread and chocolate. Add 2 cups water and stir to combine.
  5. Drain the soaking liquid from the chiles into a large measuring cup. Taste the liquid: if it’s not bitter, discard all abut 6 cups of the liquid. (if you’re short, add water to make up the shortfall). If bitter, pour it out and measure 6 cups water. Scoop half of the chiles into a blender jar, pour in half of the soaking liquid (or water) and blend to a smooth puree. Press through a medium-mesh strainer into a large bowl; discard the bits of skin and seeds that don’t pass through the strainer. Repeat with the remaining chiles.
  6. Return the dutch oven with reserved oil to medium heat. When quite hot, pour in the chile puree—it should sizzle sharply and, if the pan is sufficiently hot, the mixture should never stop boiling. Stir every couple of minutes until the chile puree has darkened and reduced to the consistency of tomato paste, about a half hour. (cover the pot with an inexpensive spatter screen to catch any spattering chile.)
  7. In two batches, blend the tomatillo mixture as smoothly as possible (you may need an extra 1/2 cup water to keep everything moving through the blades), then strain it in to the large bowl that contained the chiles. When the chile paste has reduced, add the tomatillo mixture to the pot and cook, stirring every few minutes until considerably darker and thicker, 15 to 20 minutes. (Again, a spatter screen saves a lot of cleanup.)
  8. Add the broth to the pot and briskly simmer the mixture over medium to medium-low heat for about 2-3 hours for all the flavors to come together and mellow. If the mole has thickened beyond the consistency of a cream soup, stir in a little water. Taste and season with salt (usually about 4 teaspoons) and the sugar.
  9. Serve sauce with your desired protein.


Read More:


Leave a Comment: