A simplified version of the famed mole of Oaxaca, Mexico, this sauce is typically served with turkey as a celebration dish or on a fiesta like Day of the Dead. Mexicans believe in life after death and celebrate this holy day with wonderful dishes. I enjoy eating this dish with nutty grains like farro. The figs work well with the spices, but blood plums or cherries can be substituted also. The bright green pistachio nuts look amazing with the dark sauce and taste great too!






Skill level

Average: 5 (2 votes)


  • sesame seeds for sprinkling

Duck in black mole

  • rice bran oil for shallow-frying
  • 6 duck legs
  • large pinch of ground allspice
  • large pinch of sea salt
  • black mole
  • 250 ml (8½ fl oz/1 cup) chicken stock

Farrow and pistachio pilaf 

  • 400 g (14 oz/2 cups) farro, soaked in cold water for 1 hour, drained and rinsed (see Note)
  • 1 litre (34 fl oz/4 cups) chicken stock, plus additional stock to moisten
  • 60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) olive oil
  • 25 g (1 oz) butter
  • 2 red onions, finely sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 2 large handfuls of oregano leaves, roughly chopped
  • 175 g (6 oz) Manzanilla olives, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 110 g (4 oz/¾ cup) pistachio nuts, toasted and roughly chopped
  • sea salt to taste

Glazed figs 

  • 6 ripe figs, halved lengthways
  • 100 ml (3½ fl oz) sherry vinegar
  • 50 ml (1¾ fl oz) honey
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • icing (confectioners’) sugar for dusting

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F).

To cook the duck, pour enough rice bran oil into a large frying pan to shallow-fry and heat over medium heat. Season the legs with allspice and salt and shallow-fry, skin side down, until crisp and golden brown. Transfer to a casserole dish and pour over the mole and chicken stock.

Place a piece of baking paper over the duck and cover with a lid. Cook in the oven for 1 hour or until tender and the meat pulls away from the bone easily. Remove from the oven and allow the duck to cool in the sauce.

To prepare the farro and pistachio pilaf, place the soaked farro grains in a large saucepan, cover with the chicken stock and bring to the boil. Boil for 15–20 minutes until tender.

Heat the olive oil and butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Cook the onion, garlic and oregano until softened. Add the olives, pistachio nuts and cooked farro, moisten with additional stock if required, and stir to combine. Season well with salt.

Remove from the heat, cover and keep warm. Either leave the duck legs whole and reheat in the sauce or shred the meat.

For the glazed figs, heat a medium frying pan over low heat. Arrange the fig halves in the pan, cut side down. Add the vinegar, honey and cinnamon stick and gently simmer until the liquid has reduced to a syrup. Dust with icing sugar and transfer to the oven to cook, basting occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until the figs are caramelised.

To serve, place the black mole duck on serving plates and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve with the caramelised figs and farro and pistachio pilaf.



• Farro is a type of grain that is composed from the grains of members of the wheat family. It has a nutty flavour and chewy texture and is available from health food stores and gourmet delis. 


Recipe and image from Cantina by Paul Wilson (Hardie Grant Books, $49.95, hbk, available here)