I've written a lot about Mexican Mole before. While in Mexico a few years back, I spent a whole day with my aunt Irma, who makes a mean mole paste from scratch, and learned a lot about it. I've blogged my recipe for Mole Pie, my recipe for turkey enmoladas, also the mole flavoured chicken Enchiladas, and even mole flavour tamales! The one thing I have not blogged about at all is how to eat mole the straight way. This is the way we eat mole at home, with chicken and Mexian red rice.
Mole sauce is considered by many Mexico's national dish. A veil of mystery surrounds the origins of the dish, but the widely accepted theory places it in the Colonia kitchens of a convent in the state of Puebla, in Central Mexico. Legend has it that the Archbishop dropped unexpectedly for dinner to the convent and the nuns, having had no notice of the visit, had nothing good to serve him. They prayed to God and suddenly, an Angel came from the sky and gave them Mole. Most likely, spiritual bits aside, the nuns had very little and got inventive. This fragant, complex and smooth concoction was then traditionally served with turkey or pork, but nowadays we eat it a lot more with chicken.
If you use the commercially available mole paste as I did, you need to enhance it. Mole paste from a jar on its own does not taste good enough, so here's my method to pimp it up a bit. You can of course use the ready made sauce variety, but I genuinly think the paste is much better here as the mole is the star of the plate!
Put the chicken, garlic clove, bay leaf and salt in a pot and cover everything with water. You will need the liquid in which this chicken is cooked, so be generous with the water, I say about a litre and a half. Turn the heat on and bring it to the boil before lowering the heat and let it simmer partially covered until the chicken is cooked, about 20 minutes. When the chicken is cooked, take it out of the pot and let it rest in a plate. Reserve all liquid for later.
Put the mole paste in a blender or food processor. Add the chocolate, stale bread broken into chunks, tomato puree, chicken stock powder, peanuts, onion and 1.5 cups of the reserved liquid in which the chicken cooked. Blend everything together to form a runny sauce. Set aside.
Melt the lard (or heat the oil) in a non-stick pan or pot deep enough to hold all the mole sauce at medium to low heat. Pour the mole sauce into the lard/oil and use another half cup of the reserved liquid to rinse the blender of all its mole goodness. Stir constantly to avoid the sauce sticking to the pan. You will notice that as the sauce heats up, it starts thickening. Add another 1 cup of the reserved chicken liquid and keep stirring. Let the sauce cook for further 3-5 minutes. The thickness of the sauce is a matter of taste, I like mine thick as sour cream.
If you sauce thickens too much or very quickly, don't worry, just add a half a cup of the reserved chicken liquid or water if you run out of it and stir gently to thin the sauce.
Put one of the cooked chicken breasts on a plate and cover it with the hot mole sauce and sprinkle the toasted sesame seeds on top. Add a side of Mexican Red Rice and served with warm, corn tortillas. Dinner is ready!
This is such a beautifully satisfying dish. The mole sauce is complex and delicious, with tones of spiciness and depth of flavour. Served with Mexican Red Rice, which you can top with fresh banana slices (don't mock me until you try it) is just a spoonful of heaven! If you prefer, you can cheat your way out of making the mole sauce and get a ready made mole sauce, which you can heat through in a pan and the whole thing will be ready in no time, but I prefer taking the time to pimp the mole paste and enjoy it!