Mole is one of the most representative dishes of Mexico, especially for major celebrations. The dish enjoys its greatest popularity in central and southern Mexico, but simpler versions of mole poblano did make their way north. However, northern versions are far less complex and generally used to make enchiladas. Mole has a strong flavor, especially the dark ones and is considered to be an acquired taste for most but this flavorful dish is fun to make and very tasty.
1 chicken (3 to 4 pounds), cut into 6 piece
5 The Bean & The Leaf whole black peppercorns
The Bean & The Leaf Kosher salt
1/2 cup sesame seeds
2 teaspoons The Bean & The Leaf Chinese 5 Spice
w/Cinnamon, Cloves, Anise, Fennel and Peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon The Bean & The Leaf ground coriander
6 dried The Bean & The Leaf guajillo chile peppers
4 dried The Bean & The Leaf ancho chile peppers
6 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup whole blanched almonds
1/4 cup hulled pumpkin seeds
2 6-inch corn tortillas, torn into pieces
2.7-ounces The Bean & The Leaf Organic UFO chocolate
disks broken into pieces
Pinch of sugar
Put the chicken and peppercorns in a large pot, cover with water and season with salt. Bring to a gentle simmer over low heat and cook until tender, about 40 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a large plate and set the cooking liquid aside.
Toast the sesame seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat, tossing, until golden, about 5 minutes. Set aside 2 tablespoons for garnish and transfer the rest to a blender. Add the Chinese 5 spice to the blender. Remove the stems and seeds from the dried chile peppers. Heat 4 tablespoons canola oil in the same skillet over medium heat. Add the chiles and fry until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover with about 4 cups hot water and set aside to soak until pliable, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, add the raisins, almonds, pumpkin seeds and tortilla pieces to the oil in the skillet and cook, stirring, until the seeds and tortillas are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add to the blender along with the oil from the skillet. Add the softened chiles and puree, Mix in 2 to 3 cups of the soaking liquid to make a thick, smooth sauce. Add it a little bit at a time until you get the right consistency. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the chile sauce and fry, stirring, until thickened, 5 to 6 minutes. Add 4 cups of the reserved chicken cooking liquid and simmer until the sauce starts to thicken, about 20 minutes. Add the chocolate and simmer, stirring frequently, until the chocolate melts and the sauce reduces, about 20 more minutes. Add the sugar and season with salt. Add the chicken pieces to the sauce and warm through over low heat. Garnish with the reserved sesame seeds.
Prepared mole sauce will keep for about three days in the refrigerator and it freezes well. The paste will keep six months in the refrigerator and about a year in the freezer. Leftover sauce is often used for the making of tamales and enchiladas or over eggs at brunch.