Mole Coloradito for Mexico’s Día de Muertos

Susana Trilling’s kitchen at the Rancho Aurora, Oaxaca, Mexico

Lovely to be reminded of Susana Trilling’s mole coloradito in a recent mailing from her Seasons of My Heart cooking school in Oaxaca – how I wish I could be down there for Mexico’s major three-day festival, celebrated over All Saints and All Souls! Never mind, I’m consoling myself with this gorgeous recipe, adapted and a little simplified from the one Susana taught us when we spent a memorable day at the school.

Buen provecho!

Chicken in a spicy-sweet chile, tomato and chocolate sauce

This wonderful mole recipe (adapted from one by Susana Trilling, cook, teacher and expert on Oaxacan food) is quite a production, but my o my is it good!! Best of all, it can – in fact should – be prepared at least a day before serving.

Serves 8
8 chicken pieces + 1 onion, 2 garlic, sprig of thyme, 1 bay leaf, salt & pepper
1 ripe banana
4 chiles anchos + 5 chiles guajillos
1 onion, peeled and quartered + 3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 tsp peppercorns + 2 cloves + a 2-cm piece of cinnamon stick
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp raisins
2 tbsp blanched (skinned) almonds
1 thick slice slightly stale French-type bread, cut in cubes
30g sesame seeds
1 x 400g can peeled tomatoes or tomato pulp (not purée)
1 tsp salt
75g dark (semisweet) chocolate, broken in pieces

  • Put chicken pieces in a large pan, cover generously with water, add onion, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper and simmer about 25 minutes
  • Let cool in stock and when cool, lift out chicken pieces and refrigerate. Reserve stock for sauce
  • Wrap the unpeeled banana in foil and bake in the oven at 180 C for about 20 minutes or until soft. Peel and reserve
  • Cut stalks off chiles, slit them open, shake out seeds and discard them
  • Heat a griddle or ungreased heavy frying pan and toast chiles, quartered onion and unpeeled garlic till garlic is soft, onion lightly toasted and the chiles supple and fragrant – be careful they don’t burn!
  • Soak chiles in a bowl of warm water
  • Put toasted onion pieces and skinned garlic in blender
  • On/in the same griddle/pan, toast peppercorns, cloves and cinnamon gently till fragrant; add spices to blender with 1 cup reserved stock and blend till smooth – tip into a bowl
  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a small frying pan and fry raisins till puffed up
  • Transfer raisins to blender and in same pan, fry almonds, bread cubes and sesame seeds till golden, stirring often – scrape them into the blender too
  • Drain chiles, add to blender with tomatoes and banana and blend everything together till smooth
  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large heavy pan till shimmering, tip in the chile/tomato puree (keep a lid handy, it makes a fearful mess!) and add the pureed spices
  • Fry sauce till thick and well reduced, stirring often (about 10 minutes)
  • Dilute sauce to a coating consistency with 2 cups chicken stock and season to taste with salt and pepper – simmer for 10 minutes
  • Push the sauce through a strainer, pressing down hard
  • Return strained sauce to the pan and stir in the chocolate pieces to melt
  • Add the chicken pieces (remove skin if you wish) and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes to combine flavours
  • Serve with rice, black beans and fresh tortillas

2 thoughts on “Mole Coloradito for Mexico’s Día de Muertos

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