Many would agree with Eric Rojo, U.S. Puebla Representative, when he says that mole poblano is the culinary legacy of Puebla and embodies the soul of the Mexican people.
According to Wikipedia, all mole preparations begin with one or more types of chili pepper. The classic moles of central and southern Mexico and Oaxaca, such as mole poblano and mole negro, include two or more of the following types: ancho, pasilla, mulato and chipotle. It can also include black pepper, achiote, guaje, cumin, cloves, anise, tomatoes, tomatillos, garlic, sesame seeds, dried fruit, hoja santa and many other ingredients including chocolate, but if used this is added at the end of cooking.
According to Rick Bayless, one of the chefs participating at the first International Mole Festival, says the ingredients of mole can be grouped into five distinct classes:
- sour (tomatillos),
- sweet (dried fruits and sugar),
- and thickeners (nuts and tortillas).
Key: The ingredients are all roasted and ground into a fine powder or paste. If done by hand, this whole process can be quite long and laborious.
Mole Poblano recipe
Make sure you get all your ingredients ready to go before you start cooking.
Total cooking time: 2 1/2 hours
- 1/2 plantain, fried
- 8 pieces of chicken, any parts
- fresh parsley
- 4 ounce chile mulato
- 3 ounce chile pasilla
- 4 1/2-5 ounce unsalted almonds, toasted
- 2 ounce raisins
- 1 medium yellow or white onion, julienne and sauté
- 1 ounce dark semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1 ounce chile seeds, toasted
- 1 tortilla, sauté
- 1/2 bread roll, sauté or fried
- 1 teaspoon fresh black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves, ground
- 1 teaspoon cilantro seeds, toasted
- 1 teaspoon, anise seeds
- 3 cups chicken broth, use the cooking liquid from the bird
- 10 garlic cloves, sauté, braised or roasted
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or lard
- sea salt or kosher to taste (after adding broth)
- sugar, optional
- fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice, optional and to taste to balance flavors
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.
In a large pot, cook chicken in enough water to cover the bird. (Do not discard the cooking liquid, you will be using it later.) Add parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, either using a baking sheet or medium saute pan (ovenproof) toast the chiles in the oven for 10 minutes or until fragrant. (Don’t let them burn!).
Once done, remove from the oven, let cool and grind in a coffee mill or ground using a mortar and pestle.
Meanwhile, using in a blender, process the rest of the ingredients except for the butter, adjusting the consistency adding water or cooking liquid (broth).
Once ready, using a chinoise, strain the mixture and set aside.
Using an earthenware pot over low heat, add the butter or lard and let it melt. Add the chiles and let it cook for 5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the broth, season to taste, combine and stir allowing flavors to blend for another 5 minutes. Then add the broth, taste and season accordingly.
Add the chicken to the sauce and bring it to a boil. Stirring constantly, cook for about 3-5 minutes. Serve with rice.