Mole (pronounced: mo-lay) might just be the most perfect concoction in the world. It contains two of my favorite things: chocolate and spices. Whoever decided to marry chocolate with spice was a genius.
A few weeks ago, a colleague from Mexico came to stay with me for a conference we were putting on here at our university. She was very kind and thoughtful, had seen this blog, realized I liked to cook and brought me a bag of artisanal mole from a place called Naolinco in Veracruz. Mole is a Mexican spice paste, often mixed with chocolate and cooked into a sauce that can be brushed over chicken or poured over enchiladas. I love Mexican food. And I know I say I love a lot of things, but Mexican food just may be my favorite cuisine in the world. And I don’t cook it often, because I never feel like I can get it right.
I used these bite-sized potatoes of all different colors. Some of them were purple inside and so pretty. I left on the skins — it’s more healthy that way, right?
So I doubt this soup is traditional, but it is delicious. I know not everyone has the luxury of getting mole directly flown in for them, but you can definitely find it in the super market and experiment. I would also recommend going to your local hispanic foods store and see what they have to offer. You can also try making your own, which is most likely what I will do when I run out of this bag. Someday I might even try and go to Mexico to learn. There’s no set recipe for mole, there are many variations. But if I do learn, I might try and track down this Naolinco place and beg them to teach me. Fortunately I’m fluent enough to know how to beg.
Chicken Mole Soup with Poblano Peppers
- 2 tablespoons safflower oil
- 1 lb. chicken breast, partially frozen, cut into small cubes
- 1 medium red onion, diced
- 1 large poblano pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 pound small potatoes, halved
- 15-ounce can diced fire roasted tomatoes
- 48 ounces chicken broth
- 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed
- 1/2 cup black mole
- shredded cheese for garnish
- chopped cilantro for garnish
- sour cream for garnish
- In a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, heat oil over medium heat.
- Add chicken pieces and cook until golden but still pink on the inside.
- Add red onions, sauté for 5 minutes.
- Add diced poblano and red bell peppers.
- Pour-in fire roasted tomatoes and their liquid.
- Add potatoes, stir and allow to simmer for five minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning.
- Pour in chicken stock. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, until potatoes are tender.
- Slowly mix-in mole until completely melted and incorporated.
- Remove from heat. Allow to rest for 10-15 minutes before serving so that mole flavors can incorporate.
- Garnish with cheese, cilantro and sour cream if desired.