For 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.The 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.
WHAT I WOULD CHANGE IF I MADE IT AGAIN
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.
FOR THE NERDS
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?
ALRIGHT LAMOS, BACK TO THE CHICKEN MOLE!
You 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.
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. : )
- 6 dried ancho chiles
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1 onion, cut into large chunks
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 peeled garlic cloves
- 1 chipotle in adobo
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1 slice sourdough bread
- 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 oz. Mexican chocolate
- 1 lb cooked chicken
- 1 onion, sliced pole to pole
- 1 bell pepper, sliced into strips
- corn tortillas
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- On a microwave safe plate, toast the anchos in the microwave for 30 seconds, let cool, and remove stems and seeds.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Bake for 30 minutes, stirring well at the 10 and 20 minute marks.
- Put the skillet back on the stovetop over low heat and whisk in the remaining stock and the soaking liquid. Bring to a simmer.
- In another pan, saute the onion and peppers until tender and slightly browned. Add the chicken and saute until just heated through.
- Add the sauce, mix to combine, and serve in corn tortillas.