Mexican molé sauce is a heady mixture of chilies, spices, fruit and unsweetened chocolate, often served with chicken or pork. It is considered a festive sauce and can take all day to prepare. Molés include unsweetened chocolate, but the sauce does not taste chocolaty. The chocolate adds richness and a silky texture to the sauce. This recipe is a simplified version that manages to capture much of the flavour of the more involved preparation. Chili lovers can use a mixture of dried ancho and pasilla chilies. The more timid can try New Mexican chilis for the mildest taste, or ancho chilis for a slightly hotter taste. Chicken breasts on the bone or pork tenderloin can be substituted for the legs. Serve with with warm flour tortillas and a zucchini, avocado and green-onion salad.
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 skinless chicken legs
separated into leg and thigh
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
For the molé sauce
6 dried ancho chilies
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 Spanish onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, peeled
3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 large tomato, halved and seeded
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup raisins
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons chopped coriander
Preheat oven to 400 F. Heat one tablespoon oil on medium-high heat. Add chicken legs and thighs in batches, cooking about three minutes a side or until golden. Add more oil as needed. Season with salt and pepper. Place in baking dish and bake for 20 minutes or until juices are clear.
Soak chilies in boiling water for 30 minutes. Drain, stem and seed them. Place in food processor or blender.
Heat two tablespoons oil in skillet on high heat. Add onions and fry about two minutes or until onions are slightly browned. Add garlic, pumpkin seeds and cumin and cook one minute longer. Combine with chilies in processor. Stir tomatoes into skillet and cook until slightly browned at edges, about three minutes. Scrape into food processor along with oregano, cinnamon, raisins, chocolate and stock. Process until smooth.
Add remaining one tablespoon oil to skillet on medium-high heat. Place contents of processor in skillet, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Reserve.
Add chicken into skillet and heat together until chicken is hot. Place chicken on serving dish. Coat with sauce and sprinkle with coriander.