A scintillating blend of dark chocolate, red chilli and aromatic spices weave their magic in this Mexican Chicken Mole recipe that’s deliciously tender AND easy enough to prepare for a mid-week dinner. Let’s get started!
Today we’re sharing a mouthwatering discovery known as Mexican Chicken Mole, which we first came across when a friend cooked it for us on New Year’s Eve.
We were camping out together, in tents and swags, sleeping under the stars, and it made us feel like we were travelling again.
Before the clock struck midnight and the fireworks crackled their way through the sky, we shared a Mexican-themed feast with everyone bringing a different dish to contribute.
The platters were piled high with nachos, tacos and refried beans aplenty, but it was this humble Mexican Chicken Mole that truly stole the show.
From that first bite of tender shredded chicken in rich, dark and spicy chocolate-infused sauce, we were totally hooked.
Please note: This is a sponsored blog post celebrating Alter Eco Dark Blackout Chocolate from Fairtrade Australia & New Zealand but all opinions are our own. There may also be a couple of affiliate links in this post, which means we may get a few cents if you purchase something through the link. We want to make sure some of our hard-to-find ingredients are reachable at the click of a button. If you have any questions feel free to contact us.
Our wandering adventures haven’t quite led us to Mexico (yet!), but that doesn’t mean we can’t do a little kitchen adventuring at home in the meantime.
And since that magical food-filled New Years Eve, we knew we had to recreate our own Mexican Chicken Mole Recipe at home.
When we sat down to plan this recipe, however, we never realised traditional mole sauces get a bit of a bad rap for seeming to involve lots of ingredients and a lot of time.
So with a little experimentation, we created a simplified version which is easy (and quick) to make for a mid-week dinner.
The hardest part is chopping the onion – the rest is left to the blender and saucepan!
Mexican Chicken Mole Recipe with Dark Chocolate
The recipe below may seem to have a long ingredients list, but look closer and you’ll realise that a good chunk of them are dried spices. Other than those, there are a few key ingredients you’ll need to create your very own rich and decadent Mexican Chicken Mole sauce:
Savoury + chocolate don’t go hand-in-hand as often as they should! It’s a decadent and delicious combination, especially when using dark chocolate. Traditional Mexican Chicken Mole recipes call for spiced Mexican chocolate, but if you’re like us and can’t easily source it at home, you can substitute with a dark, bittersweet cocoa chocolate. Aim for at least 85% cocoa if you can.
We used Alter Eco’s Dark Blackout Chocolate for this recipe, which not only has a gorgeous balance of bitter yet oh-so-subtle sweetness, but is also organic and vegan. It’s a Fairtrade product, which means every purchase helps make cocoa farming more sustainable and enables farmers to provide a better future for themselves and their families.
As I sit here and write, I realise this chocolate has travelled from being raw cacao in Ecuador, through the hands of Swiss Chocolatiers and melted straight into our Mexican Chicken Mole here in Australia.
That’s quite an adventure for one special little bar of chocolate. 🙂
Traditional mole recipes call for a range of different types of chillis including pasilla/negro, puya, ancho and mulato, but to keep things simple we’ve modified this recipe to instead make use of regular dried red chillis. However, if you can get your hands on these we encourage you to get down and dirty with your own chilli mole experiments.
We used wings and legs as an economic and flavourful way to prepare this dish, but you could also use breast or thigh fillets and shred them if you prefer.
With a little time, a little simmering, and a little dancing around the kitchen, you’ll be ready to tuck into your freshly-made Mexican Chicken Mole in no time.
You could also make it up to three days in advance and let all those gorgeous flavours blend together even more… but it’ll sure be hard to resist!
- 1 – 1.5 kg chicken pieces (we used 4 wings and 4 legs)
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- salt and pepper
- 3 cups chicken stock
- ½ cup orange juice or 2 tbsp orange rind OR ½ cup water
- 6 dried long red chillis
- 1 brown onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp oregano
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp allspice
- ½ tsp anise seeds
- ¼ coriander seeds
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- 1-2 tbsp peanuts, crushed
- 1 tbsp pepitas
- 400 g tomato puree
- 2-3 tbsp dried prunes or raisins
- 1 slice day old bread, torn into chunks
- 60 g dark chocolate (minimum 80% cocoa)
- flour or corn tortillas
- fresh coriander
- red onion, finely sliced
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds (garnish)
- Let’s get started! First up, the chillis. Heat half a cup of vegetable oil in a medium frypan and add your dried chillis. Heat them through gently until they just start to blacken, but don’t allow to burn. Carefully remove them from the oil and pop into a small bowl, then cover with boiling water and allow to soak for around 30 mins.
- Now for the chicken! Pour the chilli oil into a large saucepan or casserole dish over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken pieces with salt and pepper and cook in batches, three minutes or so per side. (Watch out for spitting oil! We recommend using a lid here to shield yourself). Once cooked, return all the chicken to the frying pan you used to cook the chilli and add the orange juice and half the stock. Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and allow to bubble away for around 20 mins, rotating the chicken every 5 minutes or so to coat.
- Meanwhile, back in the large saucepan/casserole dish, add your chopped onion, garlic and gently fry until translucent in the chilli oil. Next add the oregano, cumin, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, anise seeds, coriander seeds and cinnamon stick and cook for a couple of minutes until the spices are mouthwateringly fragrant. Add in the peanuts, pepitas, torn chunks of bread, tomato puree and raisins or prunes along with the softened chillis. Pour in the remaining chicken stock and simmer for 10-15 minutes to allow all those gorgeous flavours to blend.
- Now, remove from the heat and take out your cinnamon stick to blend the sauce. You can do this with a stab blender or by transferring the sauce in batches into a food processor or blender.
- Now add in your dark chocolate and allow to melt gently into the sauce. Give it a good stir and a taste test.
- Finally, you can place your chicken pieces (whole or shredded) along with its juices and stock back into the pot with your blended mole sauce and cover. Return to the heat and warm through before serving.
- Layer your fresh tortillas with chicken mole, red onion and fresh coriander.
- Optionally, serve with fluffy white rice.