Holy Molé – Mexico’s Tasty Molé Sauce

By Harry {doc} Babad, © Copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved.

Background

The old adage, waste not, want not unfortunately doesn’t hold for one of my favorite Mexican sauced dishes – Molé, hot and spicy chocolate tasting meats. Alas, to create a proper molé, you take a pot full of ingredients, each specifically prepared and pre-cooked just right (ground-chopped-deseeded, roasted, sautéed, or even streamed and then add them to a vary large stock pot in chicken or other broth and cook them down to a rich colorful sauce. Strain away all the solids and you end up with a cup or three of pure flavor.

No you don’t want to use a commercial sauce… there may be a few great ones out there, but you could not prove it by me. If any of you readers have found a great commercial sauce please on pass the details, I’ll try it out and do a ‘tear and compare’, against the closest made from scratch recipe I own; posting the results.

According to Wikipedia — Molé (Spanish pronunciation: [‘molé]) (Mexican Spanish, from Nahuatl mulli or molli, “sauce” or “concoction”) is the generic name for a number of sauces used in Mexican cuisine, as well as for dishes based on these sauces. Outside of Mexico, it often refers to a specific sauce, which is known in Spanish by the more specific name molé poblano. In contemporary Mexico, the term is used for a number of sauces, some quite dissimilar to one another, including black, red, yellow, Colorado, green, Almendrado, and Pipián. The sauce is most popular in the central and southern regions of the country with those from Puebla and Oaxaca the best known, but 60% of the molé eaten in the country comes from San Pedro Atocpan near Mexico City. The popularity of the sauce, especially at major celebrations, is such that 99% of all Mexicans have tried at least one version of it.

But alas — with the growth of the Mexican middle class, especially in the major urban areas of Mexico City and Guadalajara, molé is considered déclassé; peasant food. So it’s up to us Yankee’s to keep tradition alive!

Folks

Just a bit of a rant — I do get upset my the Yanqui habit of dropping accent marks — It’s Molé nota  mole, a yard critter that eats my bulbs.

 

Katie Jocannon’s Molé Poblano ingredients

Chillies on Sale in Houston/Scoville-Scale Posted

Black Molé Asada Sauce

Oaxacan Black Sauce (Molé Negro)

Okay, why this blog entry? Well my co-blogger and cooking site host Mike Hubbartt up loaded two fine example recipes for molé sauce and I had the one we’ve been using on occasions, duplicating the gift from our Denver based, 45 years ago, Hispanic ironing lady.

About

The recipes discussed in this article will discuss are those that contain, in all but one recipe used for ingredients comparisons that magic ‘mojo’ — chocolate.

Okay, so later in this article I compare ingredients for five of the most flavorful molé recipes I’ve found.  But as you can the list you can see; the ingredient types fall into several defined groupings, beyond the use of a dark chocolate.  Also, as an aside — molé sauces work on many kinds of enchiladas, tacos… or slathered over your favorite grill recipe. Remember, that fruity or tomato-y salsa and mole don’t mix and buffalo spiced or soy spiced clashes with chillies. Just used the simplest of grilling spices as a setting for your mole sauces.

  • Chocolate
  • Vegetables and an occasional fruit (Not chilies)
  • Chiles and Peppers
  • Herbs and Spices
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Breads, Stock and all the Rest.

 

A Few Molé Recipes Ingredients Compared by Category

Chocolate

Closet Cooking FoodNetwork – Molé Negro Vannie Ryanes Chicken Molé Molé, Puebla Style Mark Miller’s Green Molé
Chocolate Mexican (chopped) Chocolate Mexican Baking chocolate, unsweetened Chocolate Mexican No Chocolate, it’s green after all!

 

Vegetables and an Occasional Fruit (Not chilies)

Closet Cooking FoodNetwork – Molé Negro Vannie Ryanes Chicken Molé Molé, Puebla Style Mark Miller’s Green Molé
Banana (sliced) Plantains (chopped)      

 

Dried apricots (pitted)        
Dried prunes (pitted)        
Garlic Cloves (finely chopped) Garlic Cloves (roasted) Garlic cloves, finely minced Garlic cloves, roasted  
Onion (finely chopped) Onion (Roasted) Onions, chopped   Onions, white
Raisins Golden Raisins Small   Raisins  
Tomatillo (chopped) or Mexican green tomatoes   Tomatillos  
Tomatoes (finely chopped) Tomatoes (finely chopped) Canned diced tomatoes    

 

Chilies and Peppers

Closet Cooking FoodNetwork – Molé Negro Vannie Ryanes Chicken Molé Molé, Puebla Style Mark Miller’s Green Molé  
Ancho chilies Ancho chilies   Ancho chilies    
Black pepper (ground)     Pepper Corns    
Cascabel or Rattle chiles        
  Canned green chilies, chopped – Type unnamed Seeds form the chiles, toasted    
Guajillo chiles Guajillo or Mirasol chilies        
Jalapeno peppers
    Mulato chiles    
    Pasilla chiles    
      Poblano peppers  
      Serrano pepper  

 

Herbs and Spices <Also see seeds>

Closet Cooking FoodNetwork – Molé Negro Vannie Ryanes Chicken Molé Molé, Puebla Style Mark Miller’s Green Molé
  Chili powder <Pick the heat>    
Cinnamon (ground) Cinnamon (Stick)   Cinnamon (Stick) Mexican  
Cloves Cloves Cloves, Roasted  
  Cumin (Ground)      

 

      Greens:

Romaine lettuce,

Cilantro, Hojo santa (or 1 medium bunch of Tarragon)

 

Oregano Dry Leaves (crushed)        
P Peppercorns Pepper to taste Peppercorns  
S   Sugar Sugar  
Salt to taste Salt to taste Salt to taste Salt  
Ta   Tabasco sauce    
Th Thyme      

 

Nuts and Seeds

Closet Cooking FoodNetwork – Molé Negro Vannie Ryanes Chicken Molé Molé, Puebla Style Mark Miller’s Green Molé
Almonds blanched   Almonds Whole blanched  
  Anise seeds, toasted  
    Coriander seeds, toasted  
      Pepita seeds, dry roasted (like Sunflower Seeds but from Squash)
Peanuts (Dry-roasted) Peanuts (Shelled)      
  Pumpkin seeds  
Sesame seeds Sesame seeds   Sesame seeds, toasted  
Walnuts      

 

Breads, Stock and all the Rest.

Closet Cooking FoodNetwork – Molé Negro Vannie Ryanes Chicken Molé Molé, Puebla Style Mark Miller’s Green Molé
Telera roll or 4 slices White bread   Stale French rolls  
Chicken stock Chicken stock Chicken broth (salt free) Chicken broth (salt free Chicken stock
Corn or Vegetable Oil Corn Oil and Crisco   Vegetable Oil  
  Flour, Unsifted    
Tortillas, corn   Tortillas, corn  

Check out the added referenced recipes – there’s lot’s more ingredient alternatives to play with.

A Summary

Mole sauce is a part of traditional Mexican cuisine and used to make stews with chicken, turkey, pork, or beef. Anglos have added shrimp to the mix of proteins. Dark chocolate blends well with savory Mexican spices to bring out a rich flavor.

 

Chicken Red Molé — I use both dark meat & breasts {Grilled Turkey Drumsticks too!}

Molé over Grilled Shrimp

Green Mole Sauce – No chocolate!

Precooked Ingredients – Add stock and cook to create the sauce, adding the chocolate when needed.

 

The word mole comes from molli, the Aztec word for sauce. Moles often feature a variety of chili peppers (for the heat) and other ingredients that often, but not always, includes chocolate.

In Mexico, mole sauce is most commonly served with poultry and prepared in hundreds of ways. Ingredients can include cloves, coconut, peppercorns, peanut butter, raisins, tomatillos, bananas, and tortillas.

Mole sauce ingredients were traditionally prepare on a metate, a stone with a flat or concave surface on which grain, nuts, seeds, etc. could be ground. Modern cooks combine the ingredients in a blender or a food mill.

Check out Mike Hubbartt’s Molé recipes at the Sleeping Cat Blog — Mike more closely follows the KISS rule than I do and is more concerned about a healthy and flavorful dish – I’m on enough meds for cholesterol, and diabetes, that I’m less picky – after all Mike still a young man  – I’m 74 and a bit long of tooth. Uno Problemo — Mike, who is Todd Lockwood? The only Tom Lockwood I could Google is a Sci-Fi Fantasy artist named Todd Lockwood, who is deemed of high repute. ANSWER: Yes, Todd is a well-known and respected fantasy artist I have the pleasure of knowing for many years. I also own 2 of Todd’s paintings, which are impressive.

APPENDICES

Recipe List Comparisons References

 

Other Great Molé Recipes

 

General References:

Capsicum and Chilli Peppers, Wikipedia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capsicum

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chili_pepper

 

Nuestro Gourmet (in Spanish)
http://www.nuestrogourmet.com/2007/07/18/receta-mole-negro/

 

Easy Mole Sauce (and what to do with it) <Je Mange la Villé Blog
http://www.jemangelaville.com/2010/04/05/easy-mole-sauce-and-things-to-do-with-it/

Shepard’s Pie

By Mike Hubbartt, © Copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved.

I love hearty rich meals in the winter and one of my personal favorites is Shepard’s Pie, which is a meal into itself. This dish has meat, potatoes, corn, green beans, tomatoes, gravy – it is a little work to prepare, but the flavor is good and it tastes as good as left overs. The only thing I like to use as a side with this dish is bread or dinner rolls.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb Russet Potatoes (330 cal)
  • 3 Beef Bullion Cubes
  • 1 tbsp butter (102 cal)
  • 1/4 cup skim milk (22 cal)
  • 1 lb 93% ground beef (680 cal)
  • 1 cup diced onions (67 cal)
  • 1 can Green Giant Green Beans (70 cal)
  • 1 can Green Giant Niblets Corn (350 cal)
  • 14.5 oz Diced Tomatoes (175 cal)
  • 1-12oz jar Beef Gravy (180 cal)
  • 1 Tbsp Thyme
  • Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste

Total calories: 330 + 102 + 22 + 680 + 67 + 70 + 350 + 175 + 180 = 1976/4 = 494 cal/serving

DIRECTIONS (Serves 4)

  1. Fill a pan with 3 cups of water, add 3 beef bullion cubes, and put the pan on the stove with a burner set to medium high (6).
  2. Peel and cut up the potatoes, then add them to the pan and cook for 20 minutes.
    NOTE: The potatoes will finish after the ground beef, so jump to step 6 for the rest of the process for the potatoes.
  3. Use another skillet to brown the ground beef to a skillet. Sprinkle the beef with kosher salt and pepper while it is cooking.
  4. Put a 5 qt dutch oven to a burner set to medium (5) on the stove, remove the meat from the skillet and put it in the dutch oven.
  5. Add the onions, green beans, corn, diced tomatoes, gravy, and thyme to the dutch oven. Stir to mix and cook for 10 minutes.
  6. While the mix cooks, finish the potatoes. Drain the water from the potatoes, add 1 tbsp butter and 1/4 cup skim milk and mash the potatoes.
  7. When the meat mix and mashed potatoes are ready, it’s time to assemble the dish.
  8. Set the oven to broil.
  9. Spray a 9″ x 16″ square oven-safe pan with non-stick spray, and pour in the meat mix.
  10. Put the mashed potatoes on the top of the meat mix – I use a spoon to spread it as evenly as possible.
  11. Put the pan in the oven and broil for 10 minutes. Remove and serve 1/4 of the dish for each person.

Tips: A little smoked paprika on the top of the mashed potatoes adds color and a nice smoky taste. This tastes fine without additional seasoning, although A1 sauce or Tabasco sauce adds a nice kick.

Buffalo Turkey Wraps

By Mike Hubbartt, © Copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved.

I love hot spicy food, and I like to find more uses for left over turkey than for sandwiches or salads. This is my take on a spicy, tasty, calorie-conscious turkey wrap that brings the heat. This is a spicy recipe, so experiment with the ingredients to set the heat level to you own preference.  My Garlic Mashed Potatoes pairs well with this dish.

INGREDIENTS

  • 12 oz diced turkey (352 cal)
  • 2 wraps (200 cal)
  • Franks Red Hot Buffalo Wings Sauce to taste (0 cal)
  • Crushed red peppers to taste (0 cal)
  • Cayenne pepper to taste (0 cal)
  • Lettuce (optional)
  • Diced Onions (optional)

Total calories: 352 + 200 = 552/2 = 276 cal/serving

DIRECTIONS (Serves 2)

  1. Dice the turkey into small, bite size chunks.
  2. Put the turkey on a microwave-safe plate and cook in a microwave for 30 seconds.
  3. Drizzle the turkey with the Franks hot sauce, sprinkle the cayenne pepper and crushed red peppers, and then return the plate to the microwave and cook another 30 seconds.
  4. Put 1/2 of the turkey in each wrap. Top with some shredded lettuce or diced onions for more texture in the wrap.
  5. Fold the wrap and enjoy.

Buffalo Chicken Wraps

By Mike Hubbartt, © Copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved.

I love hot spicy food, and one of my favorite wraps from a local restaurant is a Buffalo Chicken Wrap, but it is not cheap. I decided to try to make something comperable that was spicy, tasty, calorie-conscious, and didn’t leave a deep hole in my wallet each time I have it. I will be honest – this is a spicy recipe – not as hot as many places make it, but I usually have a bit if sweat on my forehead after I have one, so experiment with the ingredients to set the heat level to you own preference.  My Garlic Mashed Potatoes pairs well with this dish.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb chicken breasts (440 cal)
  • 2 wraps (200 cal)
  • Franks Red Hot Buffalo Wings Sauce to taste (0 cal)
  • Crushed red peppers to taste (0 cal)
  • Cayenne pepper to taste (0 cal)
  • Lettuce (optional)
  • Diced Onions (optional)

Total calories: 440 + 200 = 640/2 = 320 cal/serving

DIRECTIONS (Serves 2)

  1. Preheat a burner on the stove to medium (~5), then place a skillet with 1 tbsp olive oil in the pan.
  2. Slice the chicken breasts into slices, then add them to the skillet and cook until done. I like to add some cayenne powder to the meat while it is cooking.
  3. Put the cooked chicken into a medium-size mixing bowl, then drizzle with the Franks hot sauce. Sprinkle the cayenne pepper and crushed red peppers over the chicken, then toss (or use a spoon) to mix up the ingredients.
  4. Put 1/2 of the chicken in each wrap. Top with some shredded lettuce or diced onions for more texture in the wrap.
  5. Fold the wrap and enjoy.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

By Mike Hubbartt, © Copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved.

I tried Chicken Cordon Bleu and Chicken Kiev from a local restaurant many years ago – I loved both of them, but had stayed away from both the past 5 yrs because of the huge number of calories in both dishes. I decided I wanted to have a go at making a more calorie-conscious version of cordon bleu and this low calorie take on this tasty yet simple main course. My Basil-Pesto Mashed Potatoes pairs well with this dish.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb chicken breasts (440 cal)
  • 3 oz sliced ham (160 cal)
  • 2 slices low fat Swiss cheese (100 cal)
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs (50 cal)
  • 1 tsp egg substitute
  • 6 toothpicks
  • kosher salt to taste

Total calories: 440 + 160 + 100 + 55 = 750/2 = 375 cal/serving

DIRECTIONS (Serves 2)

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, then spray a oven-safe pan with non-stick spray and set it aside.
  2. Butterfly cut 2 – 8 oz chicken breasts and open both of them – you are going to stuff them with goodies.
  3. Place 1/2 of the ham on 1/2 of each breast. You can dice, slice, or use whole pieces of ham as you prefer.
  4. Tear the slices of cheese into bite sized pieces and cover the ham.
  5. Dab the egg substitute along the edges of both breasts, then close the breasts.
  6. Dab any remaining egg substitute over the top of both chicken breasts, then sprinkle them with kosher salt.
  7. Sprinkle 3/4 of the Panko bread crumbs on the top of both breasts.
  8. Insert 3 toothpicks into the top of each breast – this pins them shut.
  9. Sprinkle the remaining Panko crumbs on the both of the baking pan in an area of approximately the size of each breast. This helps prevent loose bread crumbs from falling off the top of the chicken.
  10. Put both breasts in the pan and put in the oven and bake for ~30 minutes. Smaller breasts take less time to cook than larger breasts, so use a meat thermometer to verify the meat is cooked to the proper temperature.
  11. Remove the toothpicks, then serve and enjoy.

Julie’s Fave Green Beans

By Mike Hubbartt, © Copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved.

We both love green beans, however my wife really enjoys a green bean casserole, so this is my fast and simple low calorie pseudo version for her.

INGREDIENTS (Serves 3)

  • 1 can Green Giant Green Beans (60 calories)
  • 2 tbsp French’s French Fries Onions (45 cal)
  • Kosher salt to taste

Total calories: 60 + 45 = 105/3 = 35 calories/serving

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Open and drain a can of green beans.
  2. Add 1/2 of the green beans to a microwave-safe container, add a pinch of the salt and 1 tablespoon of the fried onions to the beans.
  3. Add the rest of the green beans to the container, add another pinch of salt to the beans, cover, then cook in a microwave 2 1/2 minutes.
  4. Remove and uncover the beans, add the remaining fried onions and cover again and let sit 2 minutes. Serve and enjoy.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

By Mike Hubbartt, © Copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved.

Potatoes rock, but sometimes you need more choices than baked or fried potatoes. I love garlic mashed potatoes , and these are as good as my Basil-Pesto Mashed Potatoes.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lbs potatoes (880 cal)
  • 4 chicken bullion cubes or 4 teaspoons chicken base (added to water to make chicken stock – 40 cal)
  • Enough water to cover the potatoes in the pan
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon butter (102 cal)
  • 1/2 cup skim milk (43 cal)

Total calories: 880 + 40 + 102 + 43 = 1065/6 = 178 cal/serving

DIRECTIONS (Serves 6)

  1. Set a burner to high, then fill a large pan with water, add 1 teaspoon salt and the bullion cubes or chicken base, then put on a burner.
  2. Peel the potatoes, then cut them into quarters if they are small to medium-sized, or more pieces if the potatoes are large.
  3. Peel and dice the garlic cloves, then add to the pan.
  4. Wait for the water to boil, then CAREFULLY add the potato chunks to the water. Hot water can cause serious burns, so ask for help if you need it.
  5. Let the potatoes boil for 35 minutes, then remove them from the hot burner. Turn down the burner to it’s lowest setting.
  6. CAREFULLY drain the water, then set down.
  7. Add the butter and 1/2 cup skim milk to the potatoes, then mash the potatoes. Now enjoy.

Fairly reasonable on calories and easy to make and use as a leftover side dish that works well with pork, chicken or beef main courses. And it is very, very tasty.

Disclaimer: Don’t try this or any other recipe on this site if you do not cook. Working with a hot stove and hot water can be dangerous and you try this and any recipe at your own risk. Be sure to store any leftovers in a place where food spoilage is not an issue.