The traditional Mole Poblano

There is an interesting story that most Mexicans already know very well: how this Mole was first created; if it is just a legend or is it an historical fact, we cannot be certain, but it is interesting...

One true classic of the Mexican cuisine, the mole poblano goes all the way back to the colonial period, in the XVIth century, at the convent of Santa Rosa located in the state of Puebla (a state found west of Veracruz).
The nuns from that convent were well-known for their cooking talent.  They learnt with very short notice one day that the archbishop had decided to visit and to have dinner with them. Thrown into a state of panic, after a short session of begging the heavens above for a bit of inspiration on this challenging task at hand: to satisfy a guest with such a sophisticated taste, they brought to the cutting board all that they had in stock. In a big bowl, they blended traditional chillies then added almonds, tomatoes, garlic, onions, bread, some sesame, some sugar, raisins, plantains, lard, avocado leaves, aromatic herbs and many spices. They crushed and puréed this mixture, later added some bitter chocolate to add even more depth in a way similar to what they had seen in the local native population. While the 'mole' (or this newly invented sauce) stewed, they prepared a turkey which they simply put to roast. Once the turkey cooked, they presented the cleric this turkey topped with this thick and savory sauce. The nuns were not disappointed: he was indeed very impressed and so the story goes... this dish became an institution!

mole poblano

A simple method for Mole Poblano


- 11 dried ancho chiles
- 5 dried pasilla chiles
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups hot water, which you will use to soak the dry chiles
- 2 chopped garlic cloves
- 2 onions thinly sliced
- 5 tablespoons of almonds
- 2 tablespoons of pumkin seeds
- 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds
- 3 peeled red tomatoes, seeds removed and chopped to small bits
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1 corn tortilla fried in oil and cut in pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1 pinch of salt
- 5 tablespoons of lard
- 1/2 cup of 70% pure black cocoa chocolate, cut in small pieces
- 6 chicken breasts or boneless thighs


1) Slice the chiles coarsely in quarters and let them soak and marinate in hot water for 1 hour; keep separately water, chiles and seeds, (in this recipe we actually use the seeds, but discard the stems).

2) Prepare a saucepan, into which you will begin by frying the chilies, the tomatoes, the onions and the spices over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Add all the seeds and let everything simmer for 5 more minutes: we just want the flavors to blend together, no charring or roasting.

3) Pour this chile preparation in the food processor with all ingredients mentioned above, except for: water, broth, lard and chocolate.
Add a little water that was used to soak the chiles and blend to a smooth paste while pulsing at medium speed. Top up with more water  if necessary.

4) In that saucepan we used earlier, heat up and melt the lard. Mix in the previously blended paste and warm up during 2 min.
Add in progressively 1 and 1/2 cups [500 ml] of the water used to soak the chilies and the chicken broth, while continuously mixing, and when everything is smooth add the chocolate.

5) When the chocolate has melted, the sauce is ready. It has to have the consistency of a thick cream. If it is too dense, simply add more colored chilli soaking water; if it is too liquid add another chopped up tortilla.

6) Preheat the oven to 350° F or [175 °C], cook your chicken parts with a small amount of the sauce in the oven, using a pan for the oven, roast the chicken for 30 minutes or until it is cooked.

Prepare each plate by pouring the rest of the mole over the chicken for each serving, then garnish the mole with some toasted sesame seeds. Serve with something to accompany your mole, such as 'arroz con frijoles', mexican-style rice or anything you like.

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