I don’t even remember how I first learnt about Mexican mole now, it was so long ago, probably from watching something on television. Whatever it was, I’m extremely thankful for it, because this amazing sauce is truly the stuff of dreams, for those who can be bothered to go through the effort that is. This version, mole chipotle, uses the spicy and sour chipotles in adobo sauce which can be found in little tins in the supermarket. In fact, it’s very similar to mole poblano, but I couldn’t get any of those, so here we are.
Why is mole chipotle such an effort to make then? It doesn’t take a few days of waiting around like some of my other favourite recipes, but it does require a lot of ingredients (24 in this case), and that’s just for the sauce. Once you decide what to serve it with, my favourites and cauliflower rice, grilled chicken and avocado, you’ll be looking at around 30 components in total, which can leave your kitchen looking a bit busy if you’re not careful.
Because of the time taken to get the various ingredients together for your mole chipotle, this is 100% a weekend recipe for when you’ve got some time on your hands and want to try something new in the kitchen. Once you’ve got your bits together, you need to cook them in three separate batches before combining and cooking down with plenty of liquid to create the final sauce.
The vegetables need charring all over, preferably with an open flame before de-seeding. The nuts and spices both need toasting thoroughly, but the nuts take more than twice as long, to these need to be done separately. Once this is all done everything can get broken down and blended before cooking.
Once you’ve gone through all the steps, you’ll be pleased to see you actually have quite a lot of mole chipotle. You could halve the quantity, but if you’re going through all of this effort you might as well make a lot. Freeze down any excess in portions for a quick base for a weeknight dinner.
Notes on Cooking
If you can’t get blanched and peeled almonds, just buy the normal baked kind and cover with boiling water for exactly 1 minute, before removing and plunging into cold water. The skins will just come straight off with a little rub.
You can char the vegetables either in a dry frying pan or over an open flame if you have a gas stovetop. The latter definitely produces a better result but can get a little messy.
I specify to cook the mole chipotle out for at least an hour, the longer you can leave it the better. I generally aim for 2 hours over a low heat. It will also be better if left overnight in the fridge, like pretty much any sauce-based dish.
If you want to be super professional, you can pass the sauce through a sieve twice instead of once, but it really isn’t necessary.
Mole chipotle is a delicious Mexican sauce with a deep and complex flavour which goes well with all manner of proteins and vegetables. It's a complicated recipe, so make loads and freeze down for an easy antidote to weeknight meal boredom.
- 3 tbsp lard or oil
- 2 large onions halved
- 4 large tomatoes
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1 red bell pepper
- 10 cloves garlic
- 50 g peanuts
- 50 g blanched almonds
- 60 g raisins
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 2 cloves
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 60 g sesame seeds
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 500 mL chicken stock
- 400 g tinned chopped tomatoes
- 3 large chipotles in adobo sauce
- 400 mL beer
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 120 g dark chocolate
Take the onions, tomatoes, bell peppers and garlic and turn over an open flame until all well charred. Do this in batches so you can keep an eye on everything and avoid any unintended fires.
Finely peel the onion and garlic cloves, and de-seed the peppers. Finely chop all of the vegetables and set aside.
Take the peanuts, almonds and raisins. Fry in 2 tbsp of lard for about 2 minutes over medium-high heat until browned and toasted all over. Set aside.
Take the herbs and spices and combine in a frying pan over a medium heat. Toast for around 1 minute, until the spices begin to release their oils, stirring constantly.
Combine the toasted spices with a little of the stock in a food processor and puree until smooth. Do the same for the nuts and raisins.
In a large saucepan melt another tbsp of lard and add the vegetables. Cook over medium heat for around 5 minutes. Introduce the nut and spice purees and continue to cook for an addition 10 minutes.
Add the rest of the ingredients, except the chocolate and bring to the boil. Simmer on as low a heat as possible for at least 1 hour.
Blend the sauce until smooth, and pass through a sieve to remove any unincorporated chunks of spice etc.
Return to a low simmer in a clean pan, and stir in the chocolate. Leave until the sauce has thickened, stirring regularly to stop it burning on the bottom.