I look forward to coming home after work on Monday nights. That’s usually when Ben cooks something special for us both.
Today he cooked pollo en mole, or Chicken Mole. The beauty of mole is that there are a ton of ingredients, and they don’t always need to be there, or can easily be substituted with other ingredients.
He usually doesn’t add too many unusual ingredients. Today his mole closely followed this recipe, with a few minor substitutions.
pollo en mole (adapted from Saveur recipe)
2 oz. dried mulato chiles
1 oz. dried ancho chiles
1 oz. dried pasilla chiles
5 cups boiling water
3–4-lb.chicken parts, mainly drumsticks and thighs
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 small roma tomatoes, cored
1 small white onion, peeled
2 Tablespoons olive oil
5 whole cloves
¼ tsp. coriander seeds
¼ tsp. whole black peppercorns
1 stick cinnamon
½ teaspoon thyme
1 plantain, peeled and finely chopped
2 corn tortillas, roughly chopped
1/4 cup almonds
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds, plus more for garnish
2 tbsp. raisins
1 slice whole wheat sandwich bread, toasted and crumbled
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 ounces Mexican chocolate, (Ibarra brand), roughly chopped
1 Tbsp. packed light brown sugar (piloncillo, if you have it)
2 tsp. kosher salt
1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add mulato, ancho, and pasilla chiles, and cook, turning once, until toasted, about 2 minutes. Transfer all chiles to a large bowl; boil 5 cups boiling water and pour over chiles and let sit until chiles are soft, about 30 minutes. Drain, reserving soaking liquid, and remove stems and seeds from chiles, reserving 1 tsp. seeds from chiles. Set seeds aside, and transfer chiles to a food processor; add 1 cup soaking liquid, and process until smooth. Set chile purée and remaining soaking liquid aside. Bring chicken and 8 cups water to a boil in a 4-qt. saucepan over high heat, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until tender, about 45 minutes. Drain; set aside.
2. Meanwhile, arrange an oven rack 4″ from broiler element, and heat broiler to high. Place garlic, tomatoes, and onion on a foil-lined baking sheet, and broil, turning as needed, until all vegetables are charred all over, about 15 minutes. Transfer vegetables to food processor, and process until smooth; set vegetable purée aside.
3. Heat olive oil in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add reserved chile seeds, cloves, coriander, peppercorns, cinnamon, and thyme, and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly toasted and fragrant, about 6 minutes. Add plantain, and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Add tortillas, and cook, stirring, until lightly toasted, about 6 minutes. Add almonds and sesame seeds, and cook, stirring, until lightly toasted, about 8 minutes. Add reserved chile purée and vegetable purée, along with raisins and bread, and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until all ingredients are softened, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, and transfer mole to blender along with remaining soaking liquid; purée until very smooth, at least 4 minutes.
4. Return saucepan to medium-high heat, and add 2 tablespoons olive oil. When hot, add mole and fry, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Add chocolate, brown sugar, and salt, and cook until chocolate and sugar dissolve and sauce is smooth, about 10 minutes. Arrange chicken on a platter, liberally cover with the sauce, and sprinkle with sesame seeds; serve with red rice and/or corn tortillas.