chicken mole tacos

Chicken Mole Tacos Make America Better

Posted on Posted in Chicken, Sandwiches

chicken mole tacosFor chicken mole tacos, the secret’s in the sauce.

No, seriously, the sauce is the only thing that is anything like complicated.  For the rest, all you do is sauté some peppers and onions and add the cooked chicken.  Then dump in the sauce and slap it on some tortillas.chicken mole tacosThe mole sauce takes some effort.  But not a lot.  And if you make a big batch, you can freeze portions of it to use for enchiladas, chili base, ketchup replacement… Chicken mole sauce tastes wildly complex and exotic, and would pair well with just about anything.


Not much, honestly.  I loved this stuff.

Using water instead of chicken stock would make things a bit easier, and the taste of the mole sauce is so rich that the flavor probably wouldn’t suffer.  That might could streamline things a bit.

A food processor is pretty much a necessity for this.  I can’t think of an easier way to make a thick paste from the sauce ingredients.  If the paste didn’t need frying or browning you could probably skip the paste, add all the liquid, and use a blender.  But the paste really needs that browning step to bring out the righteous flavor.  It might seem like a fiddly step, but you really need it.


If you’re trying to eat less meat, chicken mole sauce is the balls.  It transforms boring vegetables into rich, decadent main courses.  It wraps lesser foods in its warm, spicy embrace and elevates them to rib-sticking fare.

Because of its heritage, chicken mole is a great candidate for America-centric cuisine.  Chiles and chocolate were both native to and domesticated in the Americas.  Chiles can definitely be grown locally.  Chocolate can’t, at least not in the American Midwest, but it’s a stable and easily transportable commodity; it doesn’t need to be frozen or canned or preserved in strange ways.

I’m thinking molé could be used to enrich other American standards.  Say… Sloppy Joes Molé?


chicken mole tacosYou won’t believe this stuff.  Chicken moleé is the wild love child of chili and a magical Mexican unicorn.  Make it and that imagery will make sense.

Some video notes:  Thanks to Ben Randall, from the In The Weeds podcast, for having me on his show, and sending me an incredible knife set!  I owe you, dude.  Also, thanks to Cook’s Illustrated for the bones of this recipe, and to Serious Eats for showing me how to save time by toasting chiles in the microwave.

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With your help, we can make American food something that supports awesome bodies and an awesome planet.  Try the chicken mole tacos yourself and see.  : )chicken mole tacos


Chicken Mole Tacos
Rich, velvety mole sauce over chicken, peppers, and onions, wrapped in a corn tortilla.
For the sauce
  1. 6 dried ancho chiles
  2. 2 cups chicken stock
  3. 1/4 cup raisins
  4. 1 onion, cut into large chunks
  5. 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  6. 2 peeled garlic cloves
  7. 1 chipotle in adobo
  8. 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  9. 1 slice sourdough bread
  10. 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
  11. 1 teaspoon salt
  12. 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  13. 1/4 tsp cumin
  14. 1/4 tsp pepper
  15. 1 oz. Mexican chocolate
For the tacos
  1. 1 lb cooked chicken
  2. 1 onion, sliced pole to pole
  3. 1 bell pepper, sliced into strips
  4. corn tortillas
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. On a microwave safe plate, toast the anchos in the microwave for 30 seconds, let cool, and remove stems and seeds.
  3. In a bowl, combine the anchos and raisins, then pour in 1 cup of the chicken stock. Microwave until steaming, about 2 minutes, then remove the anchos and raisins with a slotted spoon or strainer, reserving the liquid.
  4. In a food processor, process the onions, a tablespoon of the oil, garlic, chipotle, and ancho-raisin mixture until smooth. Add the almonds, bread, sesame seeds, salt, cinnamon, pepper, and cumin, and continue to process until smooth.
  5. Heat the remaining oil in an oven-safe skillet. Fry the mole paste, stirring constantly to avoid burning, until the paste is steaming. Add the chocolate and stir until it is melted, then remove the skillet from the stovetop and transfer it into the oven.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring well at the 10 and 20 minute marks.
  7. Put the skillet back on the stovetop over low heat and whisk in the remaining stock and the soaking liquid. Bring to a simmer.
  8. In another pan, saute the onion and peppers until tender and slightly browned. Add the chicken and saute until just heated through.
  9. Add the sauce, mix to combine, and serve in corn tortillas.
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated
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chicken mole tacos

2 thoughts on “Chicken Mole Tacos Make America Better

  1. I made this! It was freakin’ awesome, but I made a few modifications out of necessity. And I have a few notes:

    – I didn’t have mexican chocolate (and I couldn’t find anything that seemed correct at the store), so I used an equal amount of bittersweet baker’s chocolate that I had in the freezer.
    – I didn’t have any bread, so I omitted bread.
    – After baking the sauce, I added a little bit of brown sugar; I wanted the sauce to have a little hint of sugar.
    – Once the sauce was done, I dumped it all over half of a pork shoulder and slow-cooked it overnight with no other seasonings except a bit of salt. This ended up being great, although I had to reduce the sauce again (because of the added juices) and skim off a bunch of excess fat.

    Everything turned out great, even without the bread – I assumed that the bread was just for texture, but correct me if I’m wrong.

    One final note: the pork/sauce combo ended up being much less spicy than the sauce originally was. The excess fat (which I saved because it smelled amazing) ended up being spicier than the rest of the food was. I think the fat absorbed a bunch of the spiciness from the chiles, which was an unexpected and welcome side effect, since I can be a wuss sometimes.

    Thanks again for the recipe!

    1. I really dig the versatility of this sauce! The pulled pork and mole combo sounds frikkin’ rad. I might leave out the bread myself next time, to see if there’s a noticeable difference in texture.

      Thanks for trying and sharing! : )

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