Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Chicken Mole

I received the Soups, Stews & Chilis From the Editor’s of Cook’s Illustrated cookbook for Christmas and there are so many recipes I’m excited to try, but number one was Chicken Mole. I love mole but have never made it before. After recently realizing I rarely follow recipes exactly as they’re written I decided to do exactly what I was supposed to for this one! It is Cook’s Illustrated / America’s Test Kitchen after all… they work and work to perfect their recipes, so I gave them the benefit of the doubt and I even read through all their notes and the entire recipe before I started (what a concept – right?). The only roadblock I ran into was I couldn’t find ancho chilies so I substituted a Serrano and Anaheim chile.

The verdict? The mole was amazing! I could take or leave the chicken, but this sauce recipe is a keeper! I’ll make it again for enchiladas, other meats, shredded Costco rotisserie chicken or maybe even as a unique pizza sauce.

Cook’s Illustrated Soups Stews & Chilis

Serves 6 to 8

¼ cup raisins
¼ cup almond butter
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, broken into pieces
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon minced chipotle chile in adobo sauce
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
4 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 11 thighs), trimmed
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 ancho chilies (about ½ ounce), stemmed, seeded, and broken into small pieces
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, plus extra for serving
1 medium onion, minced
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dark brown sugar, plus extra to taste
2 scallions, sliced thin

1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Combine the raisins, almond butter, chocolate, garlic, chipotles, cinnamon, and cloves in a small bowl and set aside. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown half of the chicken well on both sides, 10 to 15 minutes; transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and remaining chicken; transfer to the plate. Remove and discard the chicken skin.
3. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat left in the pot, add the ancho chilies, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until they are dark red and tasted, about 5 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the sesame seeds and cook until golden, about 1 minute. Stir in the onion and cook until just softened, about 2 minutes.
4. Stir in the raisin-chocolate mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until the chocolate is melted and bubbly, 1 to 2 minutes (do not let the chocolate burn). Stir in the broth, scraping up any browned bits.
5. Stir in the diced tomatoes with their juice and 1 teaspoon of the sugar and bring to a simmer. Puree the sauce until smooth (my Vita-Mix came in very handy for this step!), then return to the pot and season with salt, pepper, and additional sugar to taste.
6. Nestle the browned chicken with any accumulated juice into the pot, spoon the sauce over the chicken, and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot, transfer to the oven, and cook until chicken is very tender, about 1 hour.
7. Remove the chicken from the pot, let cool slightly, and then shred the meat into bite-size pieces, discarding the bones. Whisk the sauce to re-emulsify, then stir in the shredded chicken and reheat gently over low heat, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve, sprinkling individual portions with scallions and additional sesame seeds.

Serve with rice or warm corn tortillas


  1. Wow! This sounds pretty good. I don't think I have ever tried mole before... might have to branch out!

  2. You crack me up! Only recently you realized that you rarely follow recipes as written? That is your trademark! But it's usually for the best, since everything you make turns out awesome! :)

  3. I would love to make my own mole. Agreed that it is delicious. Unfortunately, these days if a recipe takes longer than 20 minutes, I don't have time to make it. I'll save this one for a time when Liam is older and I have more time to cook again.

  4. Team Rhema Grace Orphanage was me :)

  5. Mole is so delicious! I definitely need a warming and comforting dish like this tonight. Thank you for sharing.

  6. I know what you mean about cooks illustrated. I'm also an improviser but usually feel compelled to follow the directions with their recipes!

  7. Great idea to test your new cookbook! The mole looks great.

  8. Mole is a dish I grew up on. Yours looks divine, well done.