Puebla-style turkey in mole: Mole poblano de guajolote

articles Food & Cuisine Recipes

Karen Hursh Graber

There are probably as many recipes for turkey in mole as there are cooks in Puebla, where it is indispensable at wedding fiestas. During Puebla’s Festival de Mole Poblano, which is held for three consecutive Sundays in July, mole poblano recipes and traditional poblano table settings are judged.


For the turkey:

  • 1 8-pound turkey or 2 large chickens, cut in serving pieces
  • 2 large cloves garlic, peeled
  • ½ onion, stuck with 2 cloves
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • water to cover (about 8 cups)
  • salt to taste

For the sauce:

  • 4 tablespoons lard or corn oil
  • 4 ancho chiles, seeded and deveined
  • 6 mulato chiles, seeded and deveined
  • 4 pasilla chiles, seeded and deveined
  • 2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 2 corn tortillas, torn into pieces
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 ounces raisins
  • 3 ounces almonds
  • 1 ½ ounces shelled peanuts
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 4 whole coriander seeds
  • 1″ cinnamon stick
  • ¼ teaspoon anis seeds
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds
  • 1 ½ ounces Mexican chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • salt to taste

Place the turkey or chicken pieces in a stockpot with the garlic, onion, bay leaf, water to cover and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, lower flame, cover and simmer until tender. Remove from heat, let the turkey or chicken cool in the broth, strain broth and set aside.

In a large, heavy saucepan or cazuela, heat 1 tablespoon of the lard or oil and briefly sauté the ancho, mulatto and pasilla chiles for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Take care not to burn them; they should be sautéed only to the point of fragrance. Put them in a bowl with enough of the broth to cover and soak them for ½ hour. Puree them in a blender. Along with their sauce and the chipotles, remove and set aside.

Heat another tablespoon of lard or oil in the same saucepan and fry the tortilla pieces, onion and garlic until the onion is soft. Place them in a blender with just enough broth to turn the blades, puree and set aside.

Heat another tablespoon of lard or oil, add the raisins, almonds, peanuts, spices and sesame seeds and sauté until the almonds turn light golden brown. Transfer to the blender with enough broth to turn blades and puree.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of lard or oil, add the blended chile mixture and cook for 5 minutes. Put all remaining pureed ingredients through a food mill and add to the chile mixture, stirring to blend thoroughly.

Stir in the chocolate and sugar, gradually adding 3-4 cups of the reserved broth. Taste for salt. Bring sauce to a slow boil lower heat and simmer for ½ hour, stirring frequently. The sauce should have the consistency of heavy cream. Add the turkey or chicken pieces and continue cooking for 10 minutes.

Serve the mole in bowls, with the sauce generously ladled over turkey or chicken pieces. For a traditional garnish, sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Accompany with warm tortillas.

Serves 8-10.


Link to source article
May in Mexico: A month of holiday food
Demystifying mole, Mexico’s national dish

Published or Updated on: May 1, 2008 by Karen Hursh Graber © 2008
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