Chocolate mole, also known as mole poblano, is a rich, savory sauce that is widely popular in Mexican cuisine. It is a complex blend of spices, chiles, and chocolate that creates a unique flavor profile that is both sweet and savory. While mole can be used as a sauce for many dishes, it is most commonly used to accompany chicken or pork.
In this article, we will explore the history of mole, its key ingredients, and provide a step-by-step guide on how to make the best chocolate mole sauce at home. We will also share some tips on how to pair chocolate mole with different dishes, and how to store and reheat it for later use.
History of Chocolate Mole:
The history of mole is deeply rooted in Mexican culture and cuisine. It is believed that the first mole was created by nuns in the Convent of Santa Rosa in Puebla, Mexico, in the 17th century. Legend has it that the nuns were inspired by the combination of local ingredients, including chiles, spices, and chocolate, to create a sauce that would impress the Archbishop who was visiting the convent.
The original mole sauce contained more than 20 ingredients, including chiles, chocolate, sesame seeds, almonds, and spices such as cinnamon and cloves. The nuns ground the ingredients together using a stone mortar and pestle, creating a thick paste that was then cooked with chicken or pork.
Over time, different regions in Mexico developed their own variations of mole, with some using different chiles or additional ingredients like plantains or tomatoes. Today, mole remains a popular sauce in Mexican cuisine, and has even gained international popularity.
Ingredients for Chocolate Mole:
The key ingredients for chocolate mole are chiles, spices, and chocolate. There are many different types of chiles that can be used, but the most common are ancho, pasilla, and chipotle. Other spices commonly used in mole include cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, and oregano.
The chocolate used in mole is usually Mexican chocolate, which is a blend of cocoa, sugar, and cinnamon. Mexican chocolate is known for its unique flavor profile and texture, which is grainy due to the use of unrefined sugar.
- 2 ounces dried ancho chilies
- 2 ounces dried pasilla chilies
- 2 ounces dried guajillo chilies
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 2 slices white bread, toasted and torn into pieces
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup masa harina
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Salt, to taste
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the dried chilies on a baking sheet and roast for 10-15 minutes, or until fragrant. Remove from the oven and let cool. Remove the stems and seeds from the chilies and discard.
In a large saucepan, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the spices and stir to combine.
Add the raisins, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and torn bread to the pan. Stir to combine and cook for another 5 minutes.
Add the roasted chilies to the pan, along with the chicken or vegetable broth. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
In a small bowl, whisk together the masa harina and a cup of the mole sauce until smooth. Add the mixture back to the pan and stir to combine.
Add the chopped chocolate and honey to the pan and stir until the chocolate is melted and the sauce is smooth. Season with salt to taste.
Serve the mole over grilled chicken, roasted pork, or as a sauce for enchiladas or tamales.
Pairing Chocolate Mole with Different Dishes:
Chocolate mole is a versatile sauce that can be used to accompany many different dishes. Here are some ideas on how to pair chocolate mole with different foods:
Chicken: Chocolate mole is most commonly served with chicken. The rich, savory sauce pairs well with the mild flavor of the chicken.
Pork: Pork is another popular meat to serve with mole. The sweetness of the mole complements the salty flavor of the pork.
Vegetables: Chocolate mole can also be used as a sauce for vegetables, such as roasted cauliflower or sautéed greens.
In conclusion, chocolate mole is a complex and delicious sauce that can add depth and flavor to a variety of dishes. Whether you're making it from scratch or using a pre-made mix, be sure to use high-quality chocolate for the best results. With a little bit of practice and experimentation, you can create your own unique twist on this classic Mexican dish.