By Hand: Mole Poblano

Mole Poblano Serves 4

It’s the 150th Anniversary of Cinco de Mayo, which means it’s time to make mole poblano. Why? Cinco de Mayo celebrates the Battle of Puebla, when on May 5, 1862, Mexican forces defeated the invading French.

The city of Puebla is the home to mole poblano, which found its origins in the convents of this historic city located about an hour and a half southeast of Mexico City. The nuns of Puebla utilized large kitchens and healthy pantries to celebrate the victory and pride of the people.

Today, the best mole in the region can be found in the restaurant of a charming boutique hotel named Hotel Mesón Sacristía de la Compañia. Made in the traditional method, this thick and fragrant mole poblano, while time consuming, is relatively simple in technique and thoroughly sensual to eat. Recipe by Amiee White Beazley, adapted from the hotel’s version.


3 mulato chiles 3 ancho (dried poblano) chiles3 pasilla chiles6 tomatoes, whole1 onion, julienned2 garlic cloves½ cup vegetable oil, divided1 plantain, cut lengthwise into 2 pieces1 corn tortilla1 piece Ibarra chocolate (3 ounces), chopped coarsely1 cup sugarSalt to taste


Heat oven to 350. Roast the tomatoes, onion and garlic, until brown and soft, about 45 minutes. Remove stems and seeds from chiles.Fry chiles in ¼ cup of hot vegetable oil until crispy.

Boil the roasted vegetables and sauteed chiles in 4 cups water in a large pot until soft, about 15 minutes.

In a blender, puree the vegetable/chile mixture in batches until smooth. Push through a sieve to remove any chunks.

In a separate pan, fry plantain pieces until golden brown. Put the tortilla over an open flame and burn it until well blackened.

Combine the plantain and tortilla in blender with a cup of water and blend. Remove and set aside.

Return the vegetable-chile sauce to the pot and let cook for a few minutes until reheated. Add the tortilla and plantain mixture (it will look quite gray and unappetizing; don’t be alarmed). Add chocolate and sugar; stir until smooth. Salt to taste and let the sauce simmer for 25 minutes. (Some home cooks in Puebla add nuts, raisins, or crushed vanilla-flavored cookies at this point to sweeten the sauce).

To serve, pour mole generously over cooked chicken and top with sesame seeds.

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