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Oaxacan black mole: Mole negro oaxaqueño by Karen Hursh Graber © 2006

The most famous of Oaxaca's many moles, this sauce can be served with turkey, chicken, or pork; however, turkey is the meat of choice for festive occasions. In Mexico, the ingredients for large batches of mole are usually taken to a molino - mill - to eliminate the laborious process of grinding on the metate. The following recipe is quite manageable using a blender or food processor. Making the mole sauce at least a day ahead is recommended, to give the flavors time to meld.

For the mole:

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 lb. chilhuacle or mulato chiles, seeded and deveined (see Note)
  • 1/4 lb. pasilla chiles, seeded and deveined
  • 2-3 cups hot water or broth
  • 1 whole head garlic, unpeeled
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 2 dried avocado leaves
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 bolillo or French roll
  • 2 tortillas
  • 3 ounces each almonds and shelled walnuts or peanuts
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 4" stick cinnamon
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 6 whole allspice
  • 1 sprig each marjoram, thyme and oregano or 1/4 teaspoon of each dried
  • 2 medium white onions, chopped
  • lard or corn oil necessary for frying
  • 1/4 lb. tomatillos, husked 1/2 lb. tomatoes
  • 2 tablets Mexican chocolate (4 ounces)
  • salt and sugar to taste

Toast the chiles until they are fragrant but not burned.

Soak them in the hot water or broth for 20 minutes, place chiles with the soaking liquid in a blender or food processor and purée.

Reserve the puréed chile mixture.

On a dry comal or griddle, toast the sesame seeds, avocado leaves, garlic, bolillo, and tortillas until browned.

Set aside.

Fry the almonds, nuts, raisins, cinnamon, allspice, herbs and onions in lard or corn oil until the onions begin to soften.

Set aside.

Roast the tomatillos and tomatoes on the comal.

Place them in the blender or food processor with the toasted ingredients and the fried ingredients and purée until smooth, adding enough water or broth to allow the blades to move.

This may require blending or processing in two batches.

Heat 3/4 cups lard or corn oil in a large, heavy-bottomed stockpot or cazuela.

Add all the blended ingredients and cook over low heat for 45 minutes.

Add the chile purée and continue cooking for another hour.

Add the chocolate, cooking and stirring until it has melted.

Add salt and sugar to taste.

At this point, the mole may be refrigerated or frozen for later use, or used in the turkey recipe below.

Note: If a more picante flavor is desired, the seeds from the chiles may be reserved and toasted along with the sesame seeds, then blended with the other ingredients.

For the turkey:

Ingredients:

  • 1 7-8 lb. turkey, cut in pieces
  • 1 whole head garlic, cut across the middle
  • 1 large white onion, peeled and quartered
  • 3-4 sprigs hierba buena or other aromatic herb
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • salt to taste
  • water to cover
  • 1 recipe mole negro (above)

Place all ingredients in a large stockpot and bring to a boil.

Cover and cook over medium heat until the turkey is tender, about 45 minutes.

Remove turkey from broth and set aside; strain broth.

Heat a little lard or corn oil in a large pot or cazuela and add the mole, stirring constantly, until it begins to soften.

Add the turkey broth a little at a time, stirring constantly, until the desired thickness is reached.

All of the turkey broth may not be required, since this is traditionally a thick mole.

Strain the mole to insure smoothness, add the turkey, either in pieces, sliced or shredded, and serve in bowls, accompanied by hot tortillas and white rice.

By thinning the sauce a little, it may also be used for enchiladas de mole.

Serves 12.

Published or Updated on: January 1, 2006 by Karen Hursh Graber © 2008
Contact Karen Hursh Graber

Follow Karen as she travels through the Central Mexican state of Puebla, meeting local cooks, tasting the food, and collecting recipes. With over 75 recipes, plus sections on ingredients and cooking techniques, the book takes the reader on a journey through one of Mexico's oldest and most renowned culinary regions. It can be ordered online.

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