Mole (pronounced moh-lay, is a rich, fragrant sauce that is usually associated with Puebla or Oaxaca, Mexico.
There are so many varieties of mole available today – and historically, mole is very labor intensive and requires a huge list of ingredients. It’s not uncommon to find mole with 30+ ingredients,.
Having been married to my husband for 16 years, his mom has maybe made traditional mole once or twice. My husband’s aunt is Azteca and she makes the traditional mole and her memory (while memorized) is too complicated to even attempt.
Mole can include everything from lard to sugar, cinnamon, cloves, plantains, peanuts, chiles, tomatoes, cocoa, bittersweet chocolate, and even chipotles. Each Mexican woman has her own mole recipe, usually passed down from her family, and it’s usually always made in large batches since it is so time consuming.
If you love reading about the history of Mexican foods, you can read more about mole and its history in Mexico here – how it came to be, and how different regions have variations of the Mexican favorite.
I have made mole a variety of ways in the past – and while it’s not something I make all too often, when I do, we use it for several dishes over the course of the week because we usually have so much on hand. Or, I will freeze it in canning jars and pull out a jar when needed.
This mole recipe started as the urge to make tamales with potatoes (which is quite an uncommon filling for tamales), as we didn’t have any meat in the freezer.
I stepped into my pantry to pull out spices to make this mole and realized I was completely out of chicken broth, and didn’t have any canning jars of broth in the freezer either. Ugh – why does this always happen at the worst time?!
When you talk yourself into wanting to make mole, and then you realize you don’t’ have any chicken broth, you challenge yourself to try and use what you do have. So I pulled out the vegetable broth and carried on with the recipe.
- If you are looking for a vegan option to this mole, use vegetable broth
- If you are a raw milk loving family like we are, then feel free to use either chicken or vegetable broth
If anything, you hope you will do well enough that it becomes a permanent part of the meal rotation and in this case, I think I was successful! 😉
About this Mole
Mole is actually quite rich – while it might seem odd to you to combine all these items, the sauce results in a rich, fragrant addition to enchiladas, and can be used in tamales, and smothered over chicken, too.
This sauce is SO easy to make from scratch – it requires a dutch oven, and a blender, and a few minutes of fussing.. but most of the time is spent waiting for it to simmer.
This sauce makes around 4 wide mouth pint canning jars for us – we were able to make two huge trays of enchiladas, and a dozen tamales and still have 1 1/2 jars left. The jars freeze well, as long as you leave some head room before placing the cap on the jar tightly and freezing.
We used chipotles in this sauce – of course, we do make our own chipotle sauce, but feel free to buy the sauce in the can in the hispanic aisle in your grocer.
The can may seem small but it lasts for such a long time. You’ll only need 2 whole chiles, so use the rest of the can for other recipes (see some ideas here). I find the can to be spicer (has more kick) – if you can’t tolerate the spice then go easy on the chiles.
If you are using your own or want to make your own, read our step by step here and freeze when done. We used 3 cubes.
(If you are curious to know if this mole is spicy, it’s really not at all – the tomatoes and cocoa take away the edge on the New Mexico and chipotle chiles.)Love this mole recipe? It really is amazing – I agree!
Feel free to up the chipotles for something with more heat. If you like this recipe, you may want to try any of these: