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Hole Mole this was good! REC: Diana Kennedy's Mole Poblano. I have wanted to try this recipe

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Joined: Dec 14, 2005


Posted to Thread #22446 at 5:55 pm on Jul 9, 2012

for years, but as you can see it is a little daunting. I made it yesterday for a family dinner, and it was really among the best I have tasted. It starts with a huge pile of dark dried chile pods that are seeded and fried before being soaked and pureed. I managed to find everything at a nearby Mexican market, including home-rendered lard. It involved so many pans, bowls, plates etc. but if I did it again it would be easier, now that I have the process in my head. I used two roasting chickens instead of the turkey, and cheated a little: I cut them up and poached them in a pot of chicken stock I was making, then browned them briefly in the oven before adding them to the sauce. I increased the ingredients by 1/2 for the extra meat but it wasn't necessary--there was so much sauce that I will be cooking more chicken to add to the leftovers.

The notes here are from Melinda Lee, who has the recipe posted on her site. My own note--names of chiles vary from the Californias to the rest of Mexico. A chile pasilla, a long dark dried pod, is called chile negro here. (They use the word "pasilla" here to refer to fresh green poblanos.)


Step One: To Prepare the Chiles:
8 chiles, mulattos
5 chiles, anchos
6 chiles, pasilla
A large frying pan
1/4 pound (1/2 cup), lard
A large bowl
Warm water to cover

Slit the chiles open with a knife and remove the seeds and veins, reserving at least 1 tablespoon of the seeds [Cook’s note: these seeds will be toasted and used in the mole sauce, as described below]. Heat the lard in the frying pan, and quickly fry the chilies on both sides. Take care that they do not burn. [The plan is to toast them to develop flavor, burning will make the chiles bitter.] Place the chilies into the bowl, cover them with warm water, and leave them to stand no longer than 2 hours. Do not, on any account, peel them!

Step Two: To Prepare the Turkey and Broth:
one, 7-to-8 pound turkey
a Dutch oven
6 to 8 tablespoons, lard
a saucepan
the turkey giblets
1 small, carrot (sliced)
1 medium onion (sliced)
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon, salt
6 peppercorns
Water to cover
The pan juices from the turkey

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Cut the turkey into serving-size pieces. Set the giblets aside.

Melt the lard in the Dutch oven, and brown the turkey pieces well.
Drain off the excess fat. Cover the pan, place it in the preheated
oven, and braise the turkey by allowing it to steam in it’s own juices in
the oven, covered, but without liquid, until it is tender – about 40 to 60
minutes, depending on the toughness of the bird.

While the turkey is cooking: Place the giblets into the saucepan with the rest of the ingredients (carrot, onion, garlic, salt and peppercorns). Cover all the ingredients with water and bring to a boil. When boiling begins, lower the flame and simmer for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. Strain the broth and set it aside (discarding the solids).

When the turkey is cooked, pour off the juices in the pan and set them aside to cool. Then skim off the fat and add the juices to the prepared broth. Set it aside.

Step Three: To Prepare the Mole Sauce – The Chile Puree
a blender
the soaked chilies (first step, above)
1 cup, water
a very large fireproof dish
1/4 pound (1/2 cup), lard

In the blender, puree the chilies with the water until smooth – you may have to do them in two or three batches but try not to add more water. Melt the lard, and when it is hot but not smoking, cook the pureed chiles over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Keep a lid handy, as it the mixture will splatter. Remove the cooked puree from the blender, and set aside.

Step Four: To Prepare the Mole Sauce - The Tomatillos and Spices
a blender
1/2 cup, tomatillos* (drained)
[*Cook’s Note: these are Mexican green tomatoes, which may be purchased canned, or fresh; if fresh, remove papery husks and gently simmer them until tender; drain as directed]
a spice grinder or coffee grinder or mini food processor
4 cloves
10 peppercorns
1/2 -inch stick, cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon, coriander seeds – toasted with
1/8 teaspoon, anise seed
1 tablespoon, reserved chili seeds (from first section of this recipe -see above) -toasted separately
7 tablespoons, sesame seeds (toasted separately)—page 28
3 cloves garlic – toasted with the peel on, then peeled

Place the drained tomatillos in the blender jar. Put the cloves, peppercorns and cinnamon stick (broken up) into the grinder, and coarsely grind. Toast the coriander and anise seeds together, set aside to cool; then toast the chili seeds and set aside, then the sesame seeds, then the garlic. When each toasted ingredient has cooled, add the toasted seeds to the grinder, reserving 4 tablespoons of the sesame seeds for later use (to sprinkle over at serving time). Grind all of the spices and seeds finely and transfer them to the blender jar with the tomatillos. Add the toasted garlic to the blender jar. Leave ingredients in the jar, and set aside.

Step Five: To Prepare the Mole Sauce – And The Final Composition of the Dish
a frying pan
6 tablespoons, lard
2 tablespoons, raisins
20 almonds (unskinned)
a molcajete or mortar and pestle (or side of a rolling pin) for crushing the almonds
2 ounces, pumpkin seeds (just over 1/3 cup) - hulled and unsalted
1 small, stale tortilla
3 small rounds, stale French bread
turkey broth, if needed
the chili puree from Part One: The Chile Puree (above)
one, 1 1/2-ounce tablet, Mexican chocolate (such as Ibarra brand; or substitute unsweetened chocolate)
4 to 5 cups, turkey broth (prepared as directed above)
Salt as necessary

In the frying pan, melt the lard and fry the raisins briefly, just until they puff up, then transfer them with a slotted soon to the blender jar. In the same pan, fry the almonds - stirring them all the time, until they are well browned. Remove the almonds with a slotted spoon and crush them a little (using the molcajete, mortar and pestle, or the side of a rolling pin) before adding them to the blender jar. [The blender jar which was set aside with ingredients at the end of Step Four, above.]

In the same pan, fry the pumpkin seeds lightly, but have a lid handy, as they pop about explosively. Remove them with a slotted spoon and add them to the blender.

In the same pan, fry the tortilla until very crisp. Remove it with a slotted spoon and crush it a little before adding it to the blender.

In the same pan, fry the bread until crisp, then remove it with a slotted spoon and crush it into pieces. Add it to the blender jar.

Blend together all the ingredients in the blender jar until they form a smooth paste. If it is absolutely necessary to add some liquid to blend it effectively, then add a little turkey broth. In the frying pan (use a larger one, if necessary, to hold all the ingredients, including the turkey pieces), add the blended mixture to the chile puree [from Step Three] and cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring the mixture constantly. Break the chocolate into small pieces and add it to the mixture. Continue cooking the mole for about 10 minutes longer, stirring it constantly so that it does not stick.

Add the broth and continue cooking the mole for a minimum of 40 minutes. Add salt as necessary, then add the turkey pieces and heat them long enough to absorb the flavor of the sauce – about 20 minutes. [See the third paragraph in the Cook’s Notes, below.]


*The dish may be served with unfilled tamales, allowing 2 per serving.

*Each serving of mole should be sprinkled with some of the reserved toasted sesame seeds.

*A sign that the mole is cooked is that some of the oil from the sauce will float up to the surface and around the edges of the sauce. If the mixture appears to be too thick, add a little more broth. If it is too thin, continue cooking the mole until it reduces a little more, which will thicken it.

*You may easily prepare the mole several days ahead – in fact it improves in flavor – up to the point of adding the turkey broth.

Most cooks in Mexico today boil the turkey (simmering it in water – not really boiling, which would toughen it) and then they brown the turkey pieces in lard before adding the turkey to the sauce. But it has a far better flavor and texture if cooked in the way I (DK) have given here – this is very much as the old cookbooks indicate that it should be cooked. Freeze any leftover sauce and use it to make delicious enchiladas at some later date.

*The traditional way of grinding the ingredients on a stone metate is a long and laborious job, but it is very efficient. All the chilies and particles of seeds and spices get crushed and ground to a paste. The blender cannot do this without the addition of too much liquid. After cooking Mexican food for so many years, I feel strongly that one of the secrets of the unique flavor of a well-prepared sauce is frying the basic ingredients first over a high flame without very much liquid. And since most of these ingredients are briefly cooked alone before being combined, the instructions may seem rather laborious and repetitive. But because this technique best brings out all the flavors, it would be better not to take shortcuts.
Recipe adapted from The Cuisines of Mexico by Diana Kennedy (Harper & Row)


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