A dish I thoroughly enjoy at my favorite Mexican-style restaurant is Chicken Mole. Generally this is composed of pulled or shredded roasted chicken with rice and whole black beans, wrapped in a soft flour tortilla and smothered in “mole” (mow-lay) or sauce. If you’ve never tried this sauce you are in for a delightful surprise because it’s an ancient sauce with a primary ingredient of cacao. Or better known as chocolate. plus spices and other stuff that make mole a DEE-LISH-US! and elegant flavor combination with so many dishes. I don’t make mole at home. It’s time consuming and a bit too complicated for me to undertake when I’m just making a couple of plates of food. So I cheat.
I use a prepared version recommended by a friend who is chef of a local Mexican eatery. I like it. I’m sure if I took the trouble to make my own with fresh ingredients and invested all the time — it could not be better than this. Maybe yours is and more power to you. Mine isn’t. (PS. I also buy ketchup in bottles rather than make my own.)
If you take a look at the photo above it looks like something you might be served at a restaurant. (I hope.) And it looks like it could be complicated. Actually, it was so EZ that I am a bit shy about explaining it. The plate contains two different recipes: Smoke-Roasted Chicken & Grilled Avocados. All I did to bring it together on the plate was heat up the Dora Maria Mole Sauce and scape the plate somewhat artistically … and adding garnish for color along with some slivers of lemon peel. As my maitre’d used to say: “Voila!”
Clarification: If you are saying to yourself – “Hey, Chocolate Mole is redundant – because Mole means chocolate.” Actually “mole” (moe-lay) is a Spanish language term used for most sauces. Ever heard of Guacamole? Unfortunately the term has become synonymous with chocolate because of Mexican restaurant menus. It’s common for menus to use the word ‘mole’ associated with any dish using chocolate sauce on food. Because not everyone eats Mexican-style food I am being kinda correct and kinda redundant by using chocolate to describe the sauce. Whew! ~ CB
From Char-Broil All-Star Chef Cristo:
“You are correct CB. There is no definitive mole, but rather endless versions that differ from family to family, from region to region. “Every home cook seems to throw in his or her own secret ingredient. But make no mistake, when you encounter the real thing, the taste is beyond words,” said Sandoval, a Mexico native who mixes animal cookies into his mole just like his grandmother did. Mole, which comes from the Aztec word molli, meaning concoction or stew, is believed to have been created in the late 1600s by a nun in a convent in Puebla de los Angeles, outside Mexico City, to honor the archbishop for building a nearby convent. According to food historians, she spared no expense, using the best and most expensive ingredients to create the dark, savory sauce that grew to tantalize a nation.
Today, Oaxaca has the reputation as Mexico’s best state for mole, followed by Puebla and Veracruz. The famous “seven moles of Oaxaca” compose a rainbow of earthy colors such as black, brown, brick red, yellow and green. The region’s most famous variety, mole negro, uses six kinds of chile, almonds, raisins, pumpkin seeds, tomato, garlic, onions, plantains, chocolate, spices, chile seeds, lard and more.”