Black Mole Sauce

  • Serves

    makes 3 CUPS

(Mole Negro)

Nuts, chocolate, herbs, and spices all impart color to this mole, but it's the charring of the stems and seeds of the chiles that really gives it the dark hue. One of the seven classic moles of Oaxaca, Mexico, this sauce is typically served over chicken.


  • 10 dried guajillo chiles, washed
  • 7 dried mulato negro chiles, washed
  • 7 dried pasilla chiles, washed
  • 4 tbsp. corn oil
  • 1 6" square dry bread
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 small white onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 tsp. ground canela (Mexican cinnamon)
  • 1 tsp. anise
  • 3 black peppercorns
  • 4 whole allspice
  • 1 large plantain
  • 2 prunes, pitted
  • 1 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • 1 oz. almonds
  • 1 oz. sesame seeds, toasted until golden
  • 2 oz. raisins
  • 1 yerba santa leaf


Step 1

Stem, seed, and devein chiles, reserving everything. Sear stems, seeds, and ribs in a cast-iron skillet over high heat until charred black. (Don't worry, this is a secret of real mole, but avoid breathing smoke or getting it in your eyes.) Cool, then rinse in a fine strainer to wash out bitterness and white ashes. Set aside.

Step 2

In the same pan, heat 2 tbsp, of the oil and brown bread on both sides. Remove from pan. Add 1 tbsp. of the remaining oil, add garlic and onions, and cook until tender and golden.

Step 3

Soak chiles in 3 cups very hot water until soft. Meanwhile, mix cloves, canela, anise, peppercorns, and allspice. Using a spice mill or mortar and pestle, grind spices very fine. Combine charred stems, seeds, ribs, chiles (reserve soaking water), garlic, onions, ground spices, plantain, prunes, chocolate, almonds, sesame seeds, raisins, bread, and yerba santa. Using the food grinder attachment to an electric mixer or a blender, grind in small batches until very smooth. Use soaking water as needed to process the mole into a thick paste.

Step 4

Put paste in nonstick pan brushed with remaining 1 tbsp. oil. Fry paste until thick, fragrant, slightly golden on all surfaces, about 20 minutes. It should be a dense, dry, toasty-looking smooth paste. Cool, then refrigerate or freeze until needed. Thin with diluted chicken stock to a sauce consistency. Serve with poached chicken or turkey.

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