Thereâ€™s a saying in Mexico that there are as many mole recipes as there are cooks. What every cook can agree on is that a mole is a long-simmered, richly flavored sauce thatâ€™s well worth the effort to make. Our versionâ€™s made ultrarich with Mexican chocolate and a whole bottle of roasty stout. Serve it over rice or quinoa, or with warm corn tortillas to sop up the delectable sauce.
- 4 ounces dried ancho chiles
- 4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1⁄2 cup almonds
- 1⁄4 cup sesame seeds
- 8 ounces plum tomatoes
- 1 12-ounce bottle stout
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1⁄8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 4 bone-in chicken breasts, trimmed of skin and fat
- coarse salt
- 1 ounce Mexican chocolate
• Remove the stems and seeds from the chilies, and tear each into large, flat pieces. Turn on an exhaust fan or open a window, and heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Toast the chilies in batches, turning once, until they start to smoke and blister. Transfer the toasted chilies to a bowl and cover with hot water; let stand.
• Using the same pan, roast the garlic cloves until browned, 5 to 7 minutes; remove from the pan and set aside. Toast the cinnamon stick until fragrant, about 1 minute; remove and set aside. Toast the almonds and sesame seeds until fragrant and browned, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes; transfer to a bowl. Roast the tomatoes until blistered, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes total. Transfer to a clean cutting board; let cool slightly, then core. Peel the garlic cloves.
• Drain the chilies. Put half of the chilies, garlic, almonds, sesame seeds, tomatoes, beer and broth in a blender. Add all of the oregano, allspice and cloves. Purée until very smooth (achieving a smooth consistency may take a full minute of blending). Pour the purée through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl, pressing on the solids to remove as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids. Repeat the process with the remaining chilies, garlic, almonds, sesame seeds, tomatoes, beer and broth.
• Sprinkle the chicken with salt. Heat the oil in the cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken until browned, about 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a large plate.
• Add the sauce to the pan along with the cinnamon stick. Bring to a lively simmer, partially cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until very thick and dark in color, about 30 minutes.
• Return the chicken and any juices from the plate to the sauce. Cook, turning the chicken occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken without touching the bone reads 165 F, about 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter, remove the pan from the heat and stir the chocolate into the sauce until melted. Season the sauce with salt and serve over the chicken.
MAKE AHEAD: Refrigerate the mole sauce up to one week, or freeze up to three months.