Main Dish

Mole – Estilo Madison

I love my Mom’s cooking. Who doesn’t love mom’s cooking?  My Mom cooked up a storm, even when there wasn’t much in the kitchen. Though I didn’t pay too much attention at the time, I learned a lot about what tasted great.

Back in 2003, David (my partner) and I were living in Atlanta. While at the Chapter 11 bookstore in Ansley Mall, I noticed the Bon Appétit The Soul of Mexico issue (May 2003).  I already loved to cook, but this issue reminded me of the culinary history I grew up with.

I’ve made the Mole Poblano recipe in the Bon Appétit issue a few times, and it was good.  I’ve talked to my Mom, researched online and have adapted the recipe a few times.  I also took notes as my Mom made Mole Michoacano this past summer.  I’ve recently made my version of mole and I think it tastes pretty good.

MOLE –  Estilo Madison

I have made some key changes from the traditional:  no lard or peanuts.  Instead, I have used grape seed oil and hazelnuts.


1 1/2 cup grape seed oil
10+ chicken broth (or vegetable broth)

8 dried mulato chiles
5 dried pasilla chiles
7 dried ancho chiles

1/2 cup almonds,roasted and unsalted
1/4 cup pecans, roasted
1 tablespoon hazelnuts, roasted
1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds), roasted
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, roasted (+1 tablespoon for garnish)

1/2 cup ripe plantain, peeled and sliced thick
1 lb tomatillos
1 lb tomatoes, plum
2/3 cup raisins

1 onion, large
12 garlic cloves, peeled
5 cloves
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
5 allspice berries
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
6 coriander seeds
1 teaspoon anise seed
1 inch piece of canela (cinnamon)
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt

4 -5 thin slices of French bread or bolillos
3 corn tortillas, chopped
6 ounces chocolate, unsweetened
1/2 cup piloncillo (or dark brown sugar)



Heat 1/2 cup of oil over medium heat.  Fry the chiles until they begin to change color.  Put the chiles in another pot along with 4 cups of broth.  Bring to a slow boil.  Remove from the heat and let them sit for 45 minutes.

1b Chiles in the blender

Transfer the chiles and broth to a blender and purée until smooth.  Add a tablespoon of oil to a large skillet over medium heat.  Strain the purée into a bowl and add to the skillet.  Stir and reduce to low heat.

1c Chile Sauce sauteed

Heat up another 1/4 cup of oil (medium heat).  Add strained purée and stir until it thickens.  Remove off of the heat once it has thickened.

2a Nuts and Seeds

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil.  Add the almonds and stir for a minute.  Add the pecans and hazelnuts.  Stir for another minute.  Add the pepitas for about another minute.  Add the nuts and seeds to the blender with some broth.  Blend to form a purée, adding broth if needed.

2b Nuts and Seeds on the pan

Add the mixture to the chile purée.  Keep the chile and nut purée on very low heat.  Stir often.

3b Plantains

Heat 1/4 cup of oil (medium heat).  Add the plantain and sauté until golden on each side.  Remove to a plate with paper towel.  Add the tomatillos and tomatoes to the skillet and roast.


Add the raisins and plantains.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Stir.  Let cool and purée the mixture with some broth.  Strain and add to the chile and nut sauce.

3d Fruit Mixture into the sauce

Keep the sauce simmering over low heat.

4c Onion and Garlic sautee

Add the onion and garlic cloves to the skillet over medium heat.  Stir until just turning brown (about 10 minutes).  Let them cool and add to the blender.

4a Spices

Add the cloves, peppercorns, allspice berries, cumin seed, coriander seeds, anise seed, canela, oregano and thyme to a non-stick skillet and toast until fragrant.  Add to a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder.

Add to a blender along with 1 cup of broth and blend until smooth.

Stir into the sauce and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring often.

5b Bread sautee

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil.  Add the bread to the skillet and toast until golden brown on both sides.  Add to the blender.

5a Final ingredients

Add another tablespoon of oil and sauté the tortillas until golden and add to the blender along with 2 cups of broth.  Blend until very smooth and add to the mole sauce.  Simmer for 10 minutes.

5c Chocolate and piloncillo

Add the chocolate (I used 90% cocoa) and piloncillo and simmer for 20 minutes.  Add more broth if the mole gets too thick.

Add salt to taste and simmer on low for 15 minutes or more.

6 Final

This is the final sauce. It does not look like much, but it is amazingly deep in flavor.

We served this sauce over roasted turkey with a rice pilaf for our friends along with a salad.  I liked how it tasted and I think our guests did as well.

This sauce is also great over scrambled eggs when served with beans and tortillas.  It is also good as an enchilada sauce (thinned with some broth).  Mole enchiladas are good eats.


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