When you approach a recipe, you generally understand the rough steps you’ll be taking in order to produce the finished dish, whether you’ve read the instructions or not. You know that if you’re making a stew, for example, you’ll likely be browning meat or sauteeing veg, sweating onions, carrots and celery before adding stock or other liquid. With most things, I can quite easily predict what the recipe will entail – mostly, it’s just common sense.
Well, there was NOTHING that seemed sensible to me when I read this recipe. I had to re-read it over and over, not quite believing that these random ingredients and bizarre process would actually result in something that I’d read about online, with comments such as “this is the best food I’ve ever made!”. I was sceptical. But then I’d never made a mole.
After burning and toasting all sorts of odd-seeming things, from blanched almonds, to bread, to sesame seeds and an array of herbs, I ended up with a big old mess of strange things. Surely these won’t make any kind of sauce, let alone one with any sensible flavour?!
How wrong I was. I’ve learned a new way of cooking with this mole. It’s random and makes no sense to me but if you trust it, you’ll thank yourself! This recipe is adapted slightly from Thomasina Miers’ Mexican Food Made Simple. It’s pretty saucy so you may prefer to serve with rice that with tortillas as I did.
So here we go. Brace yourself!
– Oh, a note on the recipe. I used a hand blender which actually did a good job at transforming the ingredients into a sauce. If you have a more robust mixer then don’t worry about the extra breaking/chopping up of some of the ingredient post frying/toasting.
– One more thing: this improves with age! Tasty leftovers :-)
You will need:
For the chicken:
1 medium free range chicken
1 onion, peeled and halved
1 carrot, roughly chopped
Fresh herbs (I used thyme, tarragon and rosemary)
A few fresh bay leaves
For the mole:
5 plum tomatoes
4 garlic cloves
3 red chillis, deseeded
1/2 onion, cut into big chunks
70g sesame seeds
70g blanched almonds
50g stale white bread (no crusts), cut into large dice
Bunch of thyme, woody/large stalks removed
Bunch of parsley, large stalks removed
Bunch of oregano, large stalks removed
1 tspn cinnamon
2 tbspn tomato paste
1 tbspn chipotle paste
At least 500ml chicken stock (use the reserved liquid from poaching the chicken)
12 baby chorizo cooking sausages, halved lengthways
20g salted capers, finely chopped
Oil, to fry
1 – Start with the chicken; place it in an empty, very large saucepan that will easily hold it, along with all the other ingredients specified
2 – Cover with water completely, place a lid on the pan and turn on the heat; bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer for 10-15 minutes
3 – Turn off the heat after this time and leave the chicken to cool completely (still with the lid on), about 4-5 hours
4 – Move into the sauce while the chicken cools; start by grabbing a frying pan and dry roasting the tomatoes, chillis, onion and garlic until blackened (the tomatoes will take longer)
5 – Now chop these blackened veg up roughly, place into a large mixing bowl and add the sesame seeds to the pan; toast then tip these into the mixing bowl too
6 – Heat a little oil in the pan and add the raisins; once puffed up, tip these into the mixing bowl
7 – Now add the almonds into the frying pan and toast; grind roughly before tipping into the mixing bowl
8 – Next add a little more oil and fry the bread with the fresh bunches of herbs; pound or chop roughly before adding to the bowl
9 – Now grind the cloves and peppercorns and add these to the mixing bowl along with the cinnamon, tomato paste, chipotle paste and half the chicken stock (use the cooled liquor in which you poached the chicken! This is the good stuff!)
10 – Blend all of the ingredients in the mixing together until a thick, smooth sauce is formed; make sure there are no lumps or missed bits and add seasoning to taste
11 – Grab a deep saucepan or casserole pan and add a little oil; fry the chorizo sausages for a few minutes on a high heat then tip in the mole and leave to infuse and simmer gently with the remaining chicken stock (add extra if needed)
12 – Meanwhile, shred the cooled poached chicken, discarding the skin and carcass
13 – Stir the chicken into the mole, add the capers and serve in a couple of minutes or so, once the chicken has completely heated through