Growing up with parents who adored Mexican cuisine, a good deep and flavorful mole sauce has always been one of my kitchen goals. I’ve tried the jared stuff, it’s disgusting and uneven. So – in Bob’s Kitchen fashion – I started researching recipes.
Mole (pronounced Moh-Lay) 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 mole 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. I should have known to head back to Oaxaca for my answers.
Traditional mole is all chemistry, with a couple of modern tricks to get things right. There are three tricks to this: dark chocolate, minute tapioca and a slow cooker. With all the spices involved in mole – you don’t need designer cocoa powder – I used Hershey’s Special Dark Unsweetened Cocoa Powder. Minute Tapioca is a miracle ingredient – it gives sauces an even rich texture that you’ll never achieve with cornstarch or flour rues. It works even better – when used in a slow cooker.
For this recipe – I provide two routes, Chicken and Vegetarian. Both were abundantly flavorful – and a huge success. The best part? you put it together in the morning – and leave it for 6-8 hours and it comes out perfectly.
Slow Cooker Mole – Two Ways
- 2 onions, minced fine
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 cups low sodium chicken stock OR 2 cups vegetable stock for the vegetarian version
- 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (fire roasted okay? but do not get the garlic kind, it’ll add too much garlic to the chemistry of the dish)
- 3/4 cup jumbo raisins
- 1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
- 3 tablespoons minute tapioca
- 2 teaspoons minced chipolte pepper in adobo sauce
- 2 pounds frozen chicken tenders OR 1 1/2 cup dry northern beans plus 1/2 pound diced scottish butter potatoes
- 2 scallions, sliced thin
1. I usually don’t tout using the microwave much – but this technique is simply and is wonderful. Put the the onions in a bowl and stir together with the oil, chili powder, cocoa powder, garlic, cinnamon and cloves. Microwave for 2:30, take out, stir. and Microwave for another 2:30. The result is semitranslucent onions and a rue of sorts with all the dry spices, the moisture comes out of the onions and mixes with the oil. This is a very cool quick step. spread the mixture across the bottom of your slow cooker.
2. Stir broth, tomatoes with juice, raisins, peanut butter, tapioca and chipoltes into the slow cooker next. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and nestle into the slow cooker. OR rinse the beans under cold water – and then add to the slow cooker. Dice your potatoes, season with salt and pepper and add to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low till tender (6 hours for the chicken, 8 hours for the beans and potatoes)
3. Right before serving – stir in scallions, season with salt and pepper and serve over rice. For extra nuttiness – you might sprinkle your bowls with sesame seeds.