Recipe a day
The Heartiest and Most Soulful Sauce To Ever Come Out of Mexico
When you hear Mole, what comes to your mind? Chocolate? Chilies? Rice? Hhhm yum. I’m drooling already as I’m writing this. Well, all of those are right and a whole lot more. But did Mole really originate in Mexico? Or was it just popular in Mexico? Well, let’s find out.
There are many theories about what Mole is exactly. Some say the spice of life. Some say it is simply a Mexican soup. But all will admit that Mole is a delicious and very unique type of sauce. It is a cooking sauce that has been described as "the essence of Mexican cooking." The word mole comes from the Nahuatl name for the dish, "Molli". There are many types of mole sauces, but what they have in common is chiles and spices used to create a thick sauce often served over meats or poultry.
Mole is a spicy sauce that comes from Mexico, was the creation of early Mesoamerican people. It is also known as Mole de Guajolote and Mole Poblano and is one of the eight Mexican dishes listed in the "Guinness Book of World Records" as the world's most expensive cuisines. It is said that the complexity of these moles hints at a sophisticated culinary sensibility to ancient Mexicans.
Mole poblano is one of the most well-known types of Mexican moles because it contains chocolate among its other ingredients. Mole negro, which translates to the blackened sauce, also contains chocolate but no cinnamon-like other types do. Other varieties include mole Colorado, mole Rojo, and mole Verde.
Mole is thought to be one of the first cooking sauces to originate in Mexico. It dates back to the pre-Hispanic era, where it was known as "chilmulli" (a word that means chili sauce), which eventually evolved into "mulli" and then became "molle." For example, Aztecs used chilies with chocolate or maize to create their cooking sauces. The use of chili peppers originated at least 5000 years ago in South America; this suggests that moles have been around for a long time. There are many different theories about how mole was discovered, but there is evidence that it evolved from cooking techniques used by the indigenous people of Mexico. For example, experts have proposed that cooking chocolate with chilies may have been started because cocoa beans were often discarded after being removed from their shells, but cooking can make them more palatable.
Mole's history has not always been easy; the production of mole poblano almost ended completely during the Mexican Revolution because cooking ingredients were scarce. Luckily for this dish and its fans, people who could afford to eat it before the war would give portions to those who couldn't in order to prevent mole from becoming extinct.
Mole is a rich, complex sauce that can be traced back to the Aztecs in Mexico. It is said that when the Spanish conquistadors arrived in Mexico, they were served a mole and did not like it at all. They thought it was very spicy and did not like the flavor. This caused them to brand the sauce and its main ingredient chilies as evil and devilish; this also led to classifying the sauce as alcoholic and therefore only fit for drunken people.
In present-day Mexico, moles are consumed on a daily basis despite economic factors such as higher prices and scarcity of cooking ingredients. Mole is consumed on a daily basis in Mexico for many reasons. The cooking sauce goes well with any type of meat or poultry and offers an intense flavor profile. A good mole may incorporate not only dozens, but sometimes over 100 distinct ingredients, and it can be enjoyed as a side dish with rice and beans, as a savory entree with chicken or turkey, with pork chops or fish, or even alongside tamales or other steamed corn-based dishes.
As you can see, no two moles are alike, just as no two kitchens have the same recipe for this Mexican staple. This month we’re lucky because Chef Alejandro will be walking us through the bits and pieces of making an authentic mole. Yes!!!! First, he’ll show you how to make traditional Mexican-style rice. Then, he’ll walk you through each step to make his famous mole, a family heirloom adapted from his Abuelita Maria’s recipe! What’s more, he’ll show you the simple technique for pan-searing and baking chicken for a crispy browned exterior and tender center. Learn a ton of culinary skills and a truly spectacular dish in this live cooking experience! So don’t miss out and book the experience now. You’ll learn mole from scratch and we’re throwing in Sarah's signature Tamarind Margarita to make the cooking experience more exciting.
Chef Alejandro’s Homemade Mole with Seared Chicken & Mexican Rice
- ❄ Please keep refrigerated before class ❄
- 6 cloves garlic
- ¾ cup canola oil
- 1 cup jasmine rice
- 2 14 ounce cans diced tomatoes
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs ❄
- 2½ tablespoons sesame seeds
- 6 tablespoons sunflower seeds
- 5½ tablespoons pepitas
- 1 cup currants
- 1 dried chipotle
- 2 dried chiles de árbol
- 1 dried chile negro
- 2 dried chiles puya
- 1 dried chile California
- 1 dried chile pasilla
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon fennel seed
- ½ teaspoon clove
- 5 corn tortillas
- 1 white onion
- 3 cups chicken stock ❄
- 1 lime
- Cilantro, for garnish ❄
- ⅓ cup cane vinegar
- ⅓ cup semi-sweet chocolate
- Cutting board
- Wooden spoon
- 2 large pots
- 2 small pots
- Large pan
- 1 small bowl
- 2 sheet trays
- Foil or parchment paper
- Large metal spoon
- 1 large plate
- Paper towels
- Can opener
- ¼ cup measure
- 1 cup measure
- Kosher salt
Mise En Place
One Hour Before Prep
1. Preheat your oven to 400F.
2. Peel and thinly slice 1 garlic clove.
3. In a large pot on medium-low heat, stir together the sliced garlic with 3 tablespoons of the canola oil until the garlic has softened.
4. Add the rice and toast, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and lightly browned, about 3 minutes.
5. Stir in one can of tomatoes, along with ¾ cup water. Turn the heat to low, cover, and allow to gently simmer for 20 minutes.
- 6. Taste your rice. If it’s still a bit crunchy, add a splash more water and continue to cook until tender. When it’s cooked to your desired tenderness, remove from heat and fluff with a fork.
1. Remove the chicken from its packaging and pat dry with paper towels. Set aside on a paper towel-lined plate at room temperature to temper.
2. Spread the sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and pepitas onto a sheet tray and toast in your oven for 8 minutes.
3.Meanwhile, in a small pot over high heat, bring the currants and 1 cup of water to a simmer. Allow to simmer for one minute, then remove from heat and set aside.
4. Stem and seed the chipotle, chile de árbol, chile negro, chile puya, chile California, and chile pasilla.
5. Transfer to a large pan over medium heat, toast the chilis until they begin to brown, about 2 minutes. Meanwhile, in another small pot over high heat, bring 1 cup of water to a boil.
6. Transfer the chilis to a small bowl. Pour the boiling water over the chilis to reconstitute them.
7. Return the pan to low heat, add the ground cinnamon, fennel, and clove and stir until toasted, about one minute.
8. Slice the tortillas into ¼ inch-wide strips and spread onto a sheet tray. Transfer to the oven to toast until brown and crunchy, about 8 minutes.
9. Peel and thinly slice the remaining garlic.
- 10. Peel and slice the onion.
How to Cook
1. In a large pot over medium heat, stir together half of the remaining oil, the onions, and the garlic until browned. Season with a pinch of salt.
2. Drain the chilis and add them to the pot, along with the currants and their liquid, the toasted seeds and spices, tortillas, chicken stock, remaining can of tomatoes, and 1 cup water. Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cover and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
3. Season the chicken on all sides with salt.
4. Pour the remaining canola oil into a large pan and set to medium-high heat. When the oil begins to smoke, add the chicken and sear until golden brown, about 8 minutes.
5. Transfer to a foil-lined sheet tray and bake until cooked through, about 8 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, pick the cilantro leaves, slice the stems, and set aside for garnish. Slice the lime into wedges.
7. Transfer the mole to a blender and blend, along with the vinegar and chocolate until creamy.
8. Transfer the cooked chicken to a large pan, and pour the mole over top. Turn the heat to medium-low and simmer for 2 minutes.
- 9. Plate the chicken alongside your rice. Garnish with the cilantro and lime wedges.