Raven Higheagle


The Oaxacan black mole takes days to make from scratch and includes 27 ingredients. This recipe comes from Rick Bayless. Rick learned how to make from his favorite chile seller in the Oaxacan street market, Panchita. I got my hands on this incredibly complex recipe, and though it is not for the faint at heart, it's actually relatively easy to follow—once you get past the daunting list of 27 ingredients!


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Serves 8 with10 cups of sauce
24 Hr
3 Hr
Stove Top


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11 medium
(about 5 1/2 ounces) dried mulato chiles
6 medium
about 2 ounces) dried chihualces chiles (see note in variations and improvisations below)
6 medium
(about 2 ounces) dried pasilla chiles
dried chipotle chile (preferably the tan-brown chipotle meco)
corn tortilla, torn into small pieces
1/4-inch-thick slices of white onion
4 clove
garlic, unpeeled
2 c
rich-tasting lard (for frying the chiles)
1/2 c
sesame seeds, plus a few extra for garnish
1/4 c
pecan halves
1/4 c
unskinned or spanish peanuts
1/4 c
unskinned almonds
10 c
chicken stock (canned or homemade)
1 lb
2 medium-large or 6 to 8 plum) green tomatoes, roughly chopped
4 oz
(2 to 3 medium) tomatillos, husked, rinsed and roughly chopped
2 slice
stale bread, toasted until very dark
1/4 tsp
cloves, preferably freshly ground
1/2 tsp
black pepper, preferably freshly ground
1/2 tsp
cinnamon, preferably freshly ground mexican canela
1/8 tsp
oregano, preferably mexican
1/2 tsp
dried thyme
ripe banana
1/2 c
(about 3 ounces) finely chopped mexican chocolate
avocado leaves (if you have them)
salt, about 1 tablespoon depending on the saltiness of the broth
1/4 c
sugar, (or a little more)
2 large
(3 1/2- to 4-pound) chickens, cut into quarters



  • 1Getting started. Pull out the stems (and attached seed pods) from the chiles, tear them open and shake or scrape out the seeds, collecting them as you go.
  • 2scoop the seeds into an ungreased medium-size (8- to 9-inch) skillet along with the torn-up tortilla, set over medium heat, turn on an exhaust fan, open a window and toast your seeds and tortilla, shaking the pan regularly, until thoroughly burned to charcoal black, about 15 minutes.
  • 3(This is very important to the flavor and color of the mole.) Now, scrape them into a fine-mesh strainer and rinse for 30 seconds or so, then transfer to a blender.
  • 4Set an ungreased skillet or griddle over medium heat, lay on a piece of aluminum foil, and lay the onion slices and garlic cloves on that.
  • 5Roast until soft and very dark (about 5 minutes on each side of the onion slices – peel it off the foil to turn it; about 15 minutes for the garlic – turn it frequently as it roasts).
  • 6Cool the garlic a bit, peel it and combine with the onion in a large bowl.
  • 7While the onion and garlic are roasting, turn on the oven to 350 degrees (for toasting nuts), return the skillet to medium heat, measure in a scant 2 cups of the lard or oil (you'll need about 1/2-inch depth), and, when hot, begin frying the chiles a couple at a time:
  • 8They'll unfurl quickly, then release their aroma and piquancy (keep that exhaust on and window open) and, after about 30 seconds, have lightened in color and be well toasted (they should be crisp when cool, but not burnt smelling).
  • 9Drain them well, gather them into a large bowl, cover with hot tap water, and let rehydrate for 30 minutes, stirring regularly to ensure even soaking. Drain, reserving the soaking liquid.
  • 10While the chiles are soaking, toast the seeds and nuts.

    Spread the sesame seeds onto a baking sheet or ovenproof skillet.

    Spread the pecans, peanuts and almonds onto another baking sheet or skillet, then set both into the oven. In about 12 minutes the sesame seeds will have toasted to a dark brown; the nuts will take slightly longer.
  • 11Add all of them to the blender (reserving a few sesame seeds for garnish), along with 1 1/2 cups of the chicken broth and blend to as smooth a puree as you can. Transfer to a small bowl.
  • 12Without rinsing the blender, combine the green tomatoes and tomatillos with another 1/2 cup of the broth and puree. Pour into another bowl.
  • 13Again, without rinsing the blender, combine the roasted onion and garlic with the toasted bread, cloves, black pepper, cinnamon, oregano, thyme, banana and 3/4 cup broth. Blend to a smooth puree and pour into a small bowl.
  • 14Finally, without rinsing the blender, scoop in half of the chiles, measure in 1/2 cup of the soaking liquid, blend to a smooth puree, then pour into another bowl. Repeat with the remaining chiles and another 1/2 cup of the soaking liquid.
  • 15From four purees to mole. In a very large (8- to 9-quart) pot (preferably a Dutch oven or Mexican cazuela), heat 3 tablespoons of the lard or oil (some of what you used for the chiles is fine) and set over medium-high heat.
  • 16When very hot, add the tomato puree and stir and scrape (a flat-sided wooden spatula works well here) for 15 to 20 minutes until reduced, thick as tomato paste, and very dark (it'll be the color of cinnamon stick and may be sticking to the pot in places)
  • 17Add the nut puree and continue the stirring and scraping until reduced, thick and dark again (this time it'll be the color of black olive paste), about 8 minutes.
  • 18Then, as you guessed it, add the banana-spice puree and stir and scrape for another 7 or 8 minutes as the whole thing simmers back down to a thick mass about the same color it was before you added this one.
  • 19Add the chile puree, stir well and let reduce over medium-low heat until very thick and almost black, about 30 minutes, stirring regularly (but, thankfully, not constantly).
  • 20Stir in the remaining 7 cups of broth, the chocolate and avocado leaves (if you have them), partially cover and simmer gently for about an hour, for all the flavors to come together.
  • 21Season with salt and sugar (remembering that this is quite a sweet mole and that sugar helps balance the dark, toasty flavors). Remove the avocado leaves.
  • 22In batches in a loosely covered blender, puree the sauce until as smooth as possible, then pass through a medium-mesh strainer into a large bowl.
  • 23The mole should be completed several days ahead (it gets better, in fact); cover and refrigerate.
  • 24Finishing the dish. Return the mole to the same pot and heat it to a simmer. Nestle the leg-and-thigh quarters of the chicken into the bubbling black liquid, partially cover and time 15 minutes.
  • 25Then nestle in the breast quarters, partially cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until all the chicken is done.
  • 26With a slotted spoon, fish out the chicken pieces and transfer them to a large warm platter.
  • 27Spoon a generous amount of the mole over and around them, sprinkle with the reserved sesame seeds and set triumphantly before your lucky guests.
  • 28VARIATIONS AND IMPROVISATIONS: Chilhuacle chiles are very difficult to find unless you're in Oaxaca (even then they're sometimes hard to obtain).
  • 29Without them you can make a very respectable black mole with 6 ounces (12 total) dried mulato chiles, 2 1/2 ounces (8 total) dried pasilla chiles and 1 ounce (4 total) dried guajillo chiles.
  • 30The leftover mole can be frozen. Use to make enchiladas or more chicken.

Printable Recipe Card


Course/Dish: Other Sauces
Main Ingredient: Vegetable
Regional Style: Mexican
Other Tags: For Kids, Healthy, Heirloom

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