Chicken with Puebla-Style Mole Sauce (Pollo en Mole Poblano)
Mexico’s most iconic mole, this preparation marries mulato, ancho, and pasilla chiles with warm spices to create a velvety smooth sauce ideal for spooning over chicken. This recipe first appeared in our August/September 2012 issue with Betsy Andrews’ article The Pride of Puebla.
- 2 oz. dried mulato chiles
- 1 oz. dried ancho chiles (available at marxfoods.com)
- 1 oz. dried pasilla chiles (available at marxfoods.com)
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 (3-4-lb.) whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
- 1⁄2 medium tomatillo, husks removed, rinsed
- 1⁄4 small white onion, peeled
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1⁄2 tsp. whole cloves
- 1⁄2 tsp. whole allspice berries
- 1⁄4 tsp. coriander seeds
- 1⁄4 tsp. whole black peppercorns
- 1⁄4 tsp. anise seeds
- 1⁄2 stick cinnamon, preferably canela (available at ranchogordo.com)
- 1⁄4 ripe plantain or banana, peeled and finely chopped
- 1⁄2 small corn tortilla, roughly chopped
- 3 tbsp. whole almonds
- 1 1⁄2 tsp. sesame seeds, plus more for garnish
- 2 tbsp. raisins
- 1⁄4 stale bolillo (see Mexico’s Daily Breads) or 1 slice white sandwich bread, toasted and crumbled
- 1 tbsp. lard or canola oil
- 2 oz. Mexican chocolate, such as Ibarra, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp. finely chopped piloncillo (available at mexgrocer.com) or packed light brown sugar
- 2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1⁄2 small plum tomato, cored
- Mexican-style red rice, for serving
- Heat a 12″ 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; pour over 5 cups boiling water 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.
- Meanwhile, arrange an oven rack 4″ from broiler element, and heat broiler to high. Place garlic, tomato, tomatillo, 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.
- Heat butter in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add reserved chile seeds, cloves, allspice, coriander, peppercorns, anise seeds, and canela, and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly toasted and fragrant, about 6 minutes. Add plantain, and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Add tortilla, 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.
- Return saucepan to medium-high heat, and add lard. When hot, add mole and fry, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Add chocolate, piloncillo, 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, if you like.