This much-loved móle (Mexican chilli-peanut sauce) is somewhat simpler than the more famous móle Poblano, yet still has a wonderful complexity that comes from the balance of chillies, spices, raisins, peanuts and chocolate. It can be served over poached or grilled meats, such as chicken or pork, ladled over steamed vegetables or used to stuff tamales.
- 300 g roma tomato
- 1 onion, halved
- 4 garlic cloves
- 150 g tomatillos (see Note)
- 125 ml (½ cup) vegetable oil
- 2 ancho chillies (see Note), seeds and membrane removed
- 3 guajillo chillies (see Note), seeds and membrane removed
- 2 pasilla chillies (see Note), seeds and membrane removed
- ¼ cup raw peanuts
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- 20 g raisins
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 3 cloves
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 30 g dark Mexican drinking chocolate (see Note), chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 warm poached chicken breasts
- steamed rice
- warm corn tortillas
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
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 oven to 250°C. Place onion, tomato, tomatillo and garlic on a tray and roast for 10 minutes or until softened and slightly blackened. Allow to cool then peel the onion and garlic. Set aside.
Strip the stems and seeds from the dried chillies. Heat the oil in a small frypan over medium heat. Fry the chilies in batches for a few seconds on each side until crisp. Remove and drain on paper towel. Add the peanuts to the same pan and cook for 2-3 minutes until lightly golden. Drain and reserve the oil. Set both aside.
Heat a medium-size frying pan over medium heat. Add the sesame seeds and toast gently, shaking the pan regularly, until beginning to change colour. Add the remaining spices and continue to toast for a further 2 minutes until fragrant.
Place the blackened vegetables, peanuts and spices in a blender with 2 tablespoons of chicken stock. Blend until smooth, adding a little more stock if necessary to get the mixture to move. Pass through a fine sieve and discard the solids.
Heat 60 ml (¼ cup) of the reserved oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add the chilli paste (be careful as mixture may spit) reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring, for 8-10 minutes until very fragrant and the paste looks rich and deeply coloured. Add half the remaining chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Add the chocolate and salt and stir until combined. Continue to add the remaining chicken stock in small amounts until the sauce has the consistency of pouring cream.
Serve the chicken breast and rice on a plate, generously ladle móle over the chicken and garnish with toasted sesame seeds.
• If fresh tomatillos are unavailable, use tinned instead. When using tinned, simply drain the tomatillos well and add to the blender, the roasting stage is not required. Tinned tomatillos are available from Latin food stores.
• Ancho, guajillo and pasilla chillies are dried Mexican chillies that impart not only heat but different flavours to dishes. They are available from Latin food stores and quality spice merchants.
Photographs by Benito Martin. Styling by Jerrie-Joy Redman-Lloyd. Table by Ici et La; blue dish by The Fortynine Studio.