, Mole Rojo / Poblano, Friday Night Snacks and More...

Mole Rojo / Poblano

, Mole Rojo / Poblano, Friday Night Snacks and More...

Mole Rojo / Poblano

Mike Nadelman
Red mole, also known as mole poblano, is similar to black mole, using many of the same spices and base ingredients and also contains chocolate, but less. Instead, this sweeter, spicier and more versatile version is amped up with several kinds of dried red chile like pasilla, guajillo and ancho as well as pulverized raisins and almonds or peanuts. When the sauce is done, browned chicken, pork or beef is typically added and stewed until tender, although I did seriously enjoy thick slices of queso oaxaca, a stretchy, soft mozzarella-like cheese, floating in mole rojo with fresh tortillas for breakfast.
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Total Time 3 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine Chicken, Mexican, Turkey
Servings 10 Cups


Chile mixture:

  • 16 mulato chiles
  • 20 pasilla negro chiles
  • 10 ancho chiles
  • 14 dried chipotle chiles
  • 4 puya chiles optional
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar

Mole sauce:

  • 2 large plum tomatoes
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled
  • 1/2 cup cacao beans
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon anise seeds
  • 2 tablespoons pepitas pumpkin seeds
  • 3/4 teaspoon reserved chile seeds
  • 3/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons
  • sesame seeds toasted
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 cup oil divided
  • 1 corn tortilla let air dry while assembling ingredients
  • 1/4 bolillo roll sliced crosswise (4 slices)
  • 1/4 ripe plantain sliced
  • 1/4 cup shelled raw peanuts
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon
  • blanched almonds
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • Leaves from 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 sprig Italian parsley
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablets Mexican chocolate chopped
  • 1/2 to 1 cup sugar according to taste

Chicken / Turkey:

  • 1 8-pound turkey or 2 whole chickens, cut into serving pieces
  • 1 medium onion peeled and cut into quarters
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 4 whole pealed garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon salt



Chile Mixture:

  • The day before making the mole, remove the stems and seeds from the chiles; rinse the chiles and pat dry. Reserve three-fourths teaspoon of the seeds for the mole sauce. Heat the oil in a large skillet, add the chiles (in batches if necessary) and fry until glossy, about 4 minutes. Drain and place in a Dutch oven. Cover with 10 cups hot water, add the vinegar and let stand overnight, covered.
  • The next day, drain the chiles and reserve the soaking liquid. Working in batches, place the drained chiles in a blender jar. Add enough soaking liquid to blend them smoothly. Repeat with the remaining chiles and set the mixture aside. This makes about 8 cups.

Mole Sauce:

  • Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise. Do not peel them before or after roasting. Slice the onion crosswise into 1-inch-thick pieces. Roast the tomatoes, onion and garlic cloves in an ungreased skillet until spotted with brown. Remove from the pan and place in a large bowl. Set aside.
  • Add the cacao beans to the skillet and roast until fragrant, about 2 minutes, then remove from pan, wrap in a towel and set aside to cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, remove outer shell and skin. Next add the coriander seeds, anise seeds, pepitas, reserved chile seeds, peppercorns, cloves, sesame seeds and cinnamon stick to the skillet and roast just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to the bowl.
  • Add one-half cup oil to the skillet. When the oil is hot, fry the tortilla, then the bolillo slices until the tortilla is crisp and the bolillo slices are golden. Remove and drain on a paper towel. Fry the plantain slices until golden and softened. Remove and drain. Set aside.
  • Fry the peanuts, almonds and raisins for about 1 minute until well browned. Drain on a paper towel. Fry the cacao beans until they turn a slightly darker color, about 30 seconds, and remove to a paper towel. Drain, then crush the beans.
  • Fry all of the seeds and spices for 30 seconds, remove with a slotted spoon and return to the bowl. Discard the oil from the skillet.
  • Heat the remaining one-half cup oil in a Dutch oven. Add the puréed chile mixture and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring often.
  • In a blender, combine the cacao beans, seeds, spices, nuts and raisins. Grind with enough chile soaking liquid to purée. Add to the chile mixture.
  • Grind the reserved roasted tomatoes, onions and garlic cloves, the thyme leaves and the parsley sprig in the blender with enough chile soaking liquid to purée, then add to the Dutch oven.
  • Crumble the fried tortilla into small pieces. Place the bolillo slices, tortilla pieces and plantain slices in the blender with 1 tablespoon salt. Add enough soaking liquid to blend. Add this to the Dutch oven. Add the chopped chocolate and stir until dissolved. Add sugar to taste.
  • Stir constantly over medium heat until the sauce thickens to the desired consistency and becomes very dark. Strain the sauce and return to a clean pot. Place over low heat. Discard remaining chile soaking liquid. Makes 10 cups of sauce.


  • Wash the turkey or chicken and place in a Dutch oven or large stockpot. Add water to cover. Add the onion, bay leaves, garlic cloves and salt. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the poultry from the pot. Strain the stock and set aside.
  • Return the poultry to the pot and pour in the mole sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer and continue to cook until cooked through, an additional 15 to 20 minutes for chicken, 30 to 40 minutes for turkey, adding stock as needed to thin the sauce. Reserve remaining stock for another use.


  • Place a serving of poultry on each plate and cover generously with mole sauce. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Drizzle crema on the poultry and around the plate. Serve with Mexican or white rice. Freeze leftover mole in an airtight container.


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