It’s all Jo-Bear’s and my mom’s fault.
It’s Jo-Bear’s fault because when I was pregnant with him I couldn’t get enough Mexican food and after he was born the craving never went away.
It’s my mom’s fault because chicken enchilada with dark Mexican mole sauce is her very favorite dish at our very favorite Mexican restaurant, Solea. She raved and raved and raved about it so much I finally had to try it.
I was hooked from the first bite.
For weeks all I could think of was dark Mexican mole sauce. Every time we went to Solea I ordered chicken enchiladas with mole. At night I fell asleep with great rivers of mole flowing through my dreams. In the grocery store I caressed the jars of mole sauce, but never brought any home because I was afraid they would only be a poor imitation of Solea’s chocolaty nectar.
Then Teacher discovered a dark Mexican mole sauce recipe in Authentic Mexican, one of our favorite Rick Bayless cookbooks. Rick’s books are our go-to source for authentic Mexican food and we’re eating our way through them one recipe at a time.
Teacher decided to make Rick’s dark Mexican mole sauce for a special treat when College Boy, Irish Girl and Love Bug came to visit. I don’t know if I was more excited about seeing them again or the mole sauce. OK, that’s not totally true; I was more excited about their visit – but not by much!
Making Mexican Mole Sauce – Photos with Commentary from the Peanut Gallery
Making Mexican mole sauce “from scratch” is a time-consuming and labor-intensive job, but well worth it! I snapped some photos while Teacher was cooking but figured it was more important to stay out of his way than to chronicle the whole process.
The beginning of the sauce: 3/4 of a 15 oz can tomatoes – squished, 2 oz chopped Mexican chocolate, scant 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1/8 tsp cloves, 1/2 tsp aniseed, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 C toasted sesame seeds, 1/2 tsp toasted coriander seeds, and 2 tsp chile seeds.
Terribly abused chiles (8 oz dried mulatos , 2 1/2 oz dried anchos , 6 dried pasillas, 1 canned chipotle): stemmed, seeded, scraped, torn, fried and soaked in boiling water for an hour. I’m so glad I’m not a chile pepper! Don’t feel too bad for them though; they retaliated by filling the house with clouds of capsaicin – the stuff that make them so bloody hot – during frying. Jo-Bear came up from the basement asking “Why is it so hard to breathe?” I strongly recommend LOTS of ventilation when you’re frying those puppies.
The raisins and almonds 2 oz each get fried to intensify their flavors and soften them up a bit. Rick says to fry the almonds first then remove them from the frying pan before frying the raisins but Teacher took a shortcut by frying the almonds most of the way then adding the raisins and finishing them together.
After removing the raisins and almonds from the pan fry 1/2 a medium onion, sliced, until nicely browned and sweet. The aroma of frying onions makes my mouth water and my tummy grumble. Shush, tummy, it’s not time to eat yet!
Next up for frying is a stale corn tortilla and 2 pieces of firm white bread – stale or dried out. Yeah, there’s a lot of frying in this recipe. If you’re worried about calories run around the house a couple of times, but under no circumstances should you eat less mole sauce – that would be criminal.
All the fried stuff gets tossed into the bowl with the tomato, seeds and spices.
Little by little the mixture of fried stuff gets pureed with 1/2 C chicken broth. It looks disgusting at first, but it’ll taste heavenly when it’s done – I swear.
See, it’s looking yummier as the chocolate gets pureed up and mixed in with everything else.
Teacher used his “boat motor” aka stick blender in a juice pitcher to puree the chiles with about 1/2 C broth. I’m a lucky lady to have such a handsome husband who cooks for me too.
They have a deeply rich and fruity aroma; kind of like raisins but with a strong smell of chiles.
You have to strain both purees separately. Since both mixtures are rather thick the easiest way we found was to scrape the mixture through the sieve with a spatula. It’s a little time-consuming but not difficult. Be very careful or wear an apron because the chiles stain.
We’re not done frying yet! Now you need to fry the strained chile puree for about 5 minutes to darken and thicken it, then stir in the other puree and cook it a little longer until it thickens again. Just imagine how much the flavors are intensifying with all this cooking down; I can’t wait for dinner!
Finally, add chicken broth, stir, and simmer for about 45 minutes. Add up to 2 tsp salt and 1/4 C sugar, and some chicken broth if the sauce is thicker than heavy cream.
While the sauce is simmering you may want to start on the dirty dishes.
Did I forget to mention that this recipe creates lots of dirty dishes?
I didn’t say anything the dirty dishes? Oops, my bad; do you want to wash or dry?
Mmmmm – dark, rich, spicy with a hint of sweetness and an amazing complexity. It’s the best dark Mexican mole sauce I’ve ever had! Shhhh, don’t tell the Solea guys; I don’t want to hurt their feelings. The flavors meld more overnight so leftovers are even better than the “firsts.”
It’s fantastic on baked turkey or chicken, or simple enchiladas of corn tortillas wrapped around lightly seasoned chicken. Sprinkle on a little queso anejo and you’ve got a restaurant-worthy enchilada!
For the complete dark Mexican mole sauce recipe “Dark and Spicy Mole with Turkey” on page 197 you’ll need to get your hands on a copy of Authentic Mexican by Rick Bayless. We found it at our local library and loved it so much I bought a copy for Teacher for Valentine’s Day. He says the gift was really for me, but if you’d seen the overdue fines you’d agree it was really for him. If you like Mexican food you NEED this book – it’s totally worth every penny!
You’ve just made me extremely hungry!
Thanks so much for sharing 🙂
You’re very welcome! I got hungry writing it, LOL. Actually, I’m hungry now just thinking about it. 😉
Thoughtful and interesting, thank you. I was brought up in mexico but moved to england at such a young age I barely remember anything apart from the delicious food and fiery people. I finally found some authentic mexican food if you want to have a look, I thought I’d share it with you!
Wow, those enchiladas look delicious! I’m definitely going to ask Teacher to make them for us sometime. I’ll let you know what everyone thinks when we try them.
Thanks for taking the time to post and for sharing the link!
Thanks for that. I moved to England when I was really young, and I really want to rediscover my heritage. I’ve been trying out a lot of random mexican recipes, and the best I’ve found yet is this taco recipe – it totally remind me of my childhood. I dont remember much of it except for the lovely smells and tasty food on every street.
You’re welcome! I wholeheartedly recommend Rick Bayless’s cookbooks – the food is fantastic! Thanks for the taco recipe; I’ll definitely ask Teacher to make it sometime.
Thanks for commenting!
Hi there, long time reader and lurker here with my first comment! My daughter is getting married to her lovely mexican boyfriend soon, and I’m tasked with doing the wedding arrangements! I thought enchiladas would be a nice snack, so trying to find a good enchilada recipe. What do you think? Any more suggestions?? Anyway, thanks for your hard work as ever… I’ll try to comment a little more on future posts.
Thanks for taking time to comment! To be honest, you can’t go wrong with any of Rick Bayless’ recipes. Check out your local library to see if it had any of his books. Some of the recipes require more preparation and time than others so you’ll probably want to try out a couple before picking one for the wedding.
I’d love to hear from you more often – don’t be a stranger!
I have made the jarred stuff with great results but after reading this, I too am going to make my sauce from scratch
thanks for the inspiration.
We’ve never tried the jarred mole, but I’ve heard that some brands are really good. Making it from scratch isn’t difficult, just time-consuming and dirty-dishes-creating. 😉
Thanks for commenting!
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This is a very authentic Mexican recipe. My mom used to make it from scratch and she used most of these ingredients except she added peanuts instead of the almonds. I used to make it using the jar stuff but I might just try this recipe.
We just made this tonight. It takes a little while to put together, but it’s absolutely sensational!