Mole (pronounced ‘MOH-leh’) is a rich, complex sauce from Mexico. It’s a blend of chilies, spices, chocolate, and other ingredients that can take hours to make from scratch. Thankfully, mole paste is a convenient alternative for those looking to create an authentic Mexican meal without the extensive time commitment. This article aims to guide you through using mole paste to create a delicious chicken dish that will have your taste buds singing praises.
What is Mole Paste?
Before diving into the cooking process, let’s understand mole paste. Mole paste is a concentrated form of the traditional mole sauce, made by simmering various ingredients like chilies, spices, and sometimes chocolate until they become thick. It’s essentially a ‘shortcut’ that lets you make a complex mole dish much quicker.
Types of Mole Paste
- Mole Poblano: Rich and dark, it incorporates chocolate and is often used with poultry.
- Mole Verde: Made from green chilies and herbs, it’s lighter and often used with fish or vegetables.
- Mole Amarillo: A yellow mole usually includes masa, saffron, and yellow chilies.
- Mole Negro: A deep, dark mole made with dark chilies and chocolate.
- Mole Coloradito: A red mole that incorporates tomatoes and red chilies.
For the Chicken:
4 Chicken breasts or thighs (bone-in or boneless)
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
2 tbsp Olive oil
For the Mole:
1 jar (about 16 oz.) of mole paste
4 cups Chicken broth
Optional: Fresh herbs for garnish, like cilantro or parsley
Large skillet or frying pan
Measuring cups and spoons
Tongs or a spatula
Steps to Prepare Mole Chicken
Step 1: Season and Sear the Chicken
- Start by seasoning your chicken pieces with salt and pepper.
- Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil.
- Once the oil is hot, add the chicken pieces, searing them until they are golden brown on all sides.
Step 2: Prepare the Mole Sauce
- In a saucepan, mix the mole paste with chicken broth.
- Put the saucepan over medium heat and stir until the paste has dissolved into the broth.
- Keep stirring occasionally to prevent lumps from forming.
- Let the sauce simmer for about 20-30 minutes, allowing it to thicken slightly.
Step 3: Combine Chicken and Mole
- Add the seared chicken pieces to the saucepan once the mole sauce is ready.
- Cover the saucepan and let the chicken simmer in the mole sauce for about 30-45 minutes, depending on the thickness of your chicken pieces.
Step 4: Serve
- Once the chicken is cooked, take it out of the sauce and place it on a serving platter.
- Pour the mole sauce over the chicken.
- Optionally, garnish the dish with fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley.
Tips for Success
- Quality of Paste: Always opt for a high-quality mole paste. The better the paste, the more flavorful your dish will be.
- Adjust Thickness: If the mole sauce is too thick, add more chicken broth to reach your desired consistency.
- Spice Level: Some mole pastes can be quite spicy. Taste the sauce before adding the chicken to see if it’s to your liking.
- Side Dishes: Mole chicken pairs well with rice, tortillas, or steamed vegetables.
- Vegetable Add-ins: Feel free to add vegetables like bell peppers or zucchini halfway through simmering.
- Protein Swap: You can also use mole with other proteins like turkey or pork.
Mole paste is a versatile ingredient that can help you create a sumptuous, authentic Mexican meal in less time than making mole from scratch. By following the steps and tips outlined in this article, you can treat yourself and your loved ones to a delicious mole chicken dish that is sure to impress. Whether you are a novice in the kitchen or a seasoned chef, mole paste is a convenient way to bring complex flavors to your table with minimal effort.
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