Mole is a traditional Mexican sauce made with a mix of chiles and chocolate. The sauce made in most restaurants can take days to prepare and normally contains gluten as a thickener. This version maintains traditional flavors. But it’s gluten free, and I speed up the process using ingredients that are easy to find. Nut flour thickens the mole and an easy, homemade gluten-free broth provides flavor.
Having chocolate for dinner is a fun way to mark the day, and children are especially tickled that you can use chocolate and peanut butter as ingredients in the entrée. Plate the mole with a mound of rice shaped like a heart, and it is sure to be a meal to remember.
- 4 dried chilies—2 Ancho and 2 Guajillo (stems and seed removed)
- 5 cups warm water
- 1 pound chicken thighs (skinless and boneless)
- 1 pound chicken breasts (skinless, boneless and cut into strips)
- 3 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons pepper
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- Gluten-free cooking spray
- 5 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons almond flour
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes (optional, or to taste for spiciness)
You will need three large pots for this recipe.
Heat one pot on medium and toast peppers very quickly. As soon as the peppers start to change color (about 3 minutes), add 2 cups water and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, remove from flame and allow peppers to soak for 30 minutes.
While peppers soak, season chicken with 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Lightly brown chicken on both sides in second pot on medium heat, about one minute per side. Pour the remaining 3 cups of water in with chicken and bring water to a low simmer. Allow the chicken to cook in the liquid for about 15-20 minutes. This will also make a light chicken broth to use in the sauce.
While the peppers are soaking and the chicken is cooking, begin working on the mole sauce. Place one chopped onion, pumpkin spice, remaining salt, remaining pepper, oregano and chili powder in food processor and purée.
Spray the third pot with gluten-free cooking spray. Pour in the onion and spice mixture. Sauté until onion is starting to brown. Add brown sugar, peanut butter and almond flour to the mixture.
Allow the sauce to cook on a low heat while stirring continuously.
Remove peppers from the liquid and purée them in a food processer until they form a smooth paste. Place the puréed peppers into the pot with onions and other spices and mix. Add the cocoa powder and stir to form a thick, clumpy mixture.
Add 2 cups of the cooking liquid from the chicken (or plain water if you would prefer) and the can of tomato sauce to the mole. Mix and bring to a simmer.
After a few minutes the mixture should reach a consistency of marinara sauce. It’s important to taste at this point to make sure you have it as salty, sweet and spicy as you want. For more heat you can add the optional hot pepper flakes.
Finally, add the chicken and gently mix, coating every piece. Lower heat and cook for 15 minutes, stirring gently every few minutes.
Cook’s Tip: I like to serve chicken mole with a side of rice. As a Valentine’s treat, I add a bit of lavender to my rice while it cooks for extra flavor. Then I use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to mold the rice. This is a very easy step that really makes the dish festive. Simple place the cookie cutter on the plate and gently fill with rice. Press the rice down lightly and remove the cutter.
Calories: 400 (with 1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes), Carbohydrates: 35 g (with 1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes), Protein: 43 g (with 1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes), Fat: 12 g (with 1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes), Cholesterol: 145 mg (with 1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes), Sodium: 2090 mg (with 1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes), Fiber: 7 g (with 1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes)