Mole Rojo


For the Chicken and Stock

  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 large white onion, peeled
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 8 assorted chicken pieces, with bones and skin

For the Mole

  • 1/2 lb dried ancho chilies
  • 1/4 lb dried guajillo chilies
  • 1 lb Roma tomatoes
  • 1 large white onion, peeled and halved
  • 8 medium cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil, divided
  • 2/3 c pecans, chopped
  • 2/3 c unsalted peanuts
  • 4 Tbsp brown unhulled sesame seeds
  • 1 small stick Mexican canela (cinnamon)*
  • 8 whole black peppercorns
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 Tbsp dried Oaxacan oregano or dried marjoram
  • 1 1/2 c low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 oz Mexican chocolate or less, to taste
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Pinch of sugar as needed


Start with the Chicken and Stock:

  1. In a large stockpot, bring 2K quarts salted water to a boil.
  2. Add onion half and garlic. When water is vigorously boiling, add chicken pieces and immediately reduce heat to a bare simmer. Skim any impurities and excess fat that rise to surface from time to time.
  3. Cook chicken until fork-tender, 45 minutes to an hour.
  4. Remove meat from stockpot. When cool enough to handle, shred meat, discarding bones and skin. Cover and refrigerate until needed for another recipe.
  5. Strain broth, cover, and refrigerate until needed.

Prepare the Mole:

  1. Remove stems, seeds, and veins from chilies. Dry roast chilies until inside flesh turns medium brown in color.
  2. Transfer to a bowl of hot water and soak until softened, 15 minutes at most.
  3. While chilies are soaking, dry roast tomatoes, onion halves, and unpeeled garlic cloves on an unoiled iron griddle or heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Roast until softened and evenly colored. (They will be blistered and blackened in spots.) There is no need to peel the tomatoes after dry roasting. Peel garlic.
  4. Place 1K tablespoons oil in a skillet over medium heat and sauté pecans and peanuts until golden.
  5. Add sesame seeds, canela, peppercorns, and cloves, and stir until fragrant. Add oregano and stir briefly. Immediately remove nuts, seeds, spices, and herbs from skillet to prevent overbrowning, and set aside.
  6. Transfer softened chilies to a blender. Add enough fresh water to process to a smooth purée. Pass through a medium-mesh strainer.
  7. Heat remaining 1K tablespoons oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-low heat. When oil is hot, carefully pour chili purée over oil. Fry 5 to 10 minutes (a splatter screen helps with cleanup) until slightly reduced.
  8. Blend sautéed nut/seed/spice mixture with roasted tomatoes, onion, peeled garlic, and enough water to process to a smooth purée.
  9. Pass through medium-mesh strainer, stir into chili purée, and cook until mole reduces by one-fourth.
  10. Remove any accumulated fat from surface of stock and add 1 1/2 cups stock to mole.
  11. When mole is warmed through, taste and season with salt.
  12. Add chocolate, a little at a time, until it tastes in balance with mole. (Amount will depend on flavor intensity of other ingredients. Also, depending on bitterness of chocolate, a pinch of sugar may be needed.)
  13. Let mole simmer, stirring occasionally, until it coats back of a spoon. Taste and adjust seasoning before using.