Rob and I have been nibbling around the edges (no pun intended, lol) of making a Mole sauce for a while. There is something very intimidating about very traditional recipes, like Mole, that has caused us to hold back for a while. I find that many Asian recipes are very similar. There is something in the techniques and proportions that is not always intuitive; you sometimes need a level of tradition and taste from growing up with it.
So anyways, we set out to try and tackle Mole. Turns out that, while very traditional, its pretty simple to get right. There are a few key elements that you need, but from there its up to your personal taste. I will say that we threw pretty much every Mexican spice in our cabinet at making this sauce. I highly recommend this blend of spices; however, you can make a basic Mole with a lot less and still get a lot of flavor.
The key to any Mole, boils down to two key elements: chocolatey and smoky. Traditional Moles will include a chocolate element and then some combination of smoky spices, usually ancho chili. Ancho chili (basically smoked poblano pepper) comes in a powdered form or in the whole form. For ease, I use the powdered stuff as the whole type typically need to be ground to be useful. Other smokey options include cumin, paprika, and chipotle.
As far as chocolate goes, there is one basic rule: don’t cook with milk chocolate. You want something in the bittersweet (~50-60%) up to the 70% dark range. This range gives a good balance of the bitterness of the cocoa without getting a lot of the cocoa butter element.
Once you have these major elements, the sauce is actually very easy to make. Start by sauteing some onion, add a little garlic, add broth, and then add the spices. What held me back was in getting the balance right; it takes a little bit of tasting and looking at the color. You want a sauce that is smoky and slightly spice, but still has a little of the sweetness of the chocolate to come through. The sauce color you want is a dark brown or almost black even and it may even have a bit of graininess to the texture.
As far as the enchiladas, they are pretty simple and follow the basic form of my Simple Enchilada recipe. Basically, mix the shredded, cooked chicken in the sauce, add any other filling options you want, and just use canned enchilada sauce. It’s simple, fairly quick, and super tasty.
Chicken Mole Enchiladas
- 2 Chicken Breasts shredded
- 1 Cup Frozen Corn
- 1 Can Enchilada Sauce
- Flour or Corn Tortillas
- Cotija Cheese
- Shredded Mexican Cheese Blend
- 1 Tbs Avocado oil or olive oil
- 1/2 Onion finely diced
- 3 Garlic Cloves minced
- 1/2 Cup Chicken Stock
- 1.5 Tbs Bittersweet Chocolate roughly chopped
- 2 Tsp Cumin
- 2 Tsp Ancho powder
- 2 Canned Chipotles finely diced
- 1/2 Tsp Ground Coriander
- 1/2 Tsp Paprika
- 1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Salt and pepper the chicken, coat lightly in oil and roast for 15-20 minutes and cooked through. Remove and shred.
- In a cast iron skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
- Add the onion and cook until soft, about 3 minutes
- Add the garlic, saute for another minute.
- Add 1/2 the stock, the spices, and the chocolate, stirring to combine.
- Increase heat and allow to come up to a simmer. Add the remaining stock in as needed and continue to reduce for about 5-10 minutes.
- Add the shredded chicken to the sauce along with the corn.
- Fill the tortillas with the mixture and cheese.
- In a roaster or casserole dish, place a thin layer of enchilada sauce.
- Layout the rolled enchiladas and cover with enchilada sauce and cheese.
- Bake for 10 minutes.