I love a good mole, but they are hard to find because they are so labor intensive to make. Mole Negro takes many hours to made from scratch and the list of ingredients is daunting. There are four types of chilis as well as various nuts and seeds. There is also an art to toasting and grinding each of the ingredients for exactly the right amount of time. Rick Bayless’s version of the recipe is four pages long. One day I might attempt this labor of love, but in the meantime there is a respectable short cut: Panaderia Oaxaquena / Mi Pueblo Market make their own mole pastes (rojo and negro) which you can, much more easily turn into a sauce. We were tipped off about this gem by G.A. Benton when we took him taco touring and you can read about our other finds at Panaderia Oaxaquena on alteatscolumbus.
Here’s how to turn your bag of mole paste into a delicious dinner. Cook 750g of tomatoes and then puree them. Strain off any water. You could probably get away with using a canned passata (tomato puree). Fry the tomato puree with some oil and then once it has reduced a little, add the mole and stir until it dissolves into the tomato mixture. Add half a liter of chicken or pork stock.
I decided to make chicken mole and after some consultation with Dan from Kitchen Little Oh at the North Market, I chose boneless thighs and bought about 2 lbs of them from North Market Poultry and Game. The more authentic Mexican way to cook the meat is to poach it in water with an onion first, but in the interests of time (and because I was a little wary of the poaching), I browned the thighs and then cooked them in the sauce. After a couple of hours the chicken was falling apart into tender threads and the sauce had thickened. As suggested on the label, I added some extra grated chocolate to make it a little less fiery.
We served our mole negro with rice and beans, guacamole, salad and warmed corn tortillas, which you can find at any of the Mexican grocery stores in town. Koki’s tortillas are the local choice for as they are made on Sullivant Avenue and they are used by a lot of the taco trucks. If you haven’t been to any of the Mexican grocery stores, they are worth exploring. They are great places to buy limes, avocados, chilis, cilantro and such and you can find a lot of interesting ingredients that are hard to acquire elsewhere. I like La Plaza Tapatia on Georgesville Road (near Broad), which also has a restaurant, but the Michoacana stores are also good and some of the smaller stores are interesting too.
As with many such dishes, the mole negro was even better the second day and it freezes well so it is definitely worth making a large batch.