If you’ve ever attempted to make a traditional Mexican red mole, you know that it can be a process that takes several days and a very long list of ingredients. A family mole recipe is to be cherished and I know one local chef whose mother still won’t give him hers.
If you’re having a craving for the sensuous dark sauce but don’t have the wherewithal to make it from scratch, it’s worth paying a visit to Northgate Gonzalez. Head over to the butcher counter and look for clear plastic containers of Teloloapan Red Mole stacked on the top. This deeply dark paste is made by a company in Teloloapan, a town in the state of Guerrero, southwest of Mexico City, and renown for its moles. The ingredients include chiles, almonds, sesame seeds, peanuts, toasted bread, cocoa, salt, cinnamon, shortening, pumpkin seeks, and garlic.
How do you use the mole paste? The most straightforward way is to place some (the whole container for a large dish or a few tablespoons for a couple of pieces of chicken or turkey) in a saucepan, turn the heat on low to medium. Add enough chicken stock to loosen it up until with steady, gentle stirring it reaches the loose (but not too runny) consistency of just thickening pudding.
Many households also add a crushed tablet of Mexican chocolate (which is laced with cinnamon; my favorite brand is Ibarra) and additional sesame seeds. Chef Norma Martinez of El Vitral buys it for meals at home. She doctors it with cocoa powder, peanut butter, chicken stock, cloves, and star anise.
Once you have the flavor and consistency you want, use the mole to braise browned chicken, turkey, or pork. Pour it over enchiladas or even poached eggs for brunch. If you have a favorite way to use mole, please share it below.