Mole Rojo Oaxaqueño—Red Oaxacan Mole

Yields 8 portions


  • 23 ancho chiles (about 8 oz/227 g), wiped clean, seeds and veins removed
  • 4 mulato chiles, wiped clean, seeds and veins removed
  • 29 guajillo chiles (about 4 oz/113 g), wiped clean, seeds and veins removed
  • 3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 8 oz/227 g Roma tomatoes
  • 1 small white onion, quartered
  • 5 tbsp/75 mL canola oil
  • 1 oz/28 g skinless, raw peanuts
  • 1 oz/28 pecans
  • 2 tbsp/30 mL sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp/30 mL raisins
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 2 whole cloves
  • One 2-in/5-cm piece canela (Mexican cinnamon)
  • ½ tsp/2.5 mL dried oregano
  • 2 1/2 quarts/2.4 L water
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 2 cups/473 mL chicken broth, or as needed
  • 1 tsp/5 mL Kosher salt
  • 3 oz/85 g Mexican chocolate, roughly chopped
  • Cooked white rice, as needed
  • Corn tortillas, as needed


  1. Toast the chiles on a comal set over medium heat until the skin begins to blister and turn a tobacco color, about 45 seconds. Transfer to a bowl, cover with hot water, and soak for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Add the garlic to the comal and toast, removing from the heat when the papery skin begins to brown. Discard the skin and return the garlic to the comal. Roast until the garlic is blackened, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and onion to the comal and dry roast over medium heat. Turn until the items are blistered and soft, about 15 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. Heat 2 tbsp/30 mL oil in a medium frying pan and sauté the peanuts, pecans, sesame seeds, and raisins until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the pepper¬orns, cloves, canela, and oregano. Stir until fragrant and remove from heat.
  4. In a large rondeau, bring the water to a boil over high heat and season with salt. Add the chicken and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Remove the chicken and set aside.
  5. Meanwhile, purée the chiles in a blender, adding water as needed to form a smooth paste. Press the paste through a fine mesh strainer and set aside.
  6. In the same blender, purée the dry-roasted vegetables and spices with water, as needed, to form a smooth purée. Pass the mixture through a small mesh sieve and set aside.
  7. Heat the remaining oil in a Dutch oven or rondeau over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and fry the chile purée until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.
  8. Add the puréed tomato mixture. Simmer the mole until it coats the back of a wooden spoon and you can see the bottom of the pan when scraped, about 40 minutes.
  9. Add the chicken broth to the mole to thin the sauce (you may not use all of the broth) and season with salt, to taste. Add the chocolate to the sauce, stirring to dissolve.
  10. Add the cooked chicken to the simmering mole and cook over medium heat until warmed through.
  11. Serve the mole with white rice and warm corn tortillas.

Chef’s Note

Mole Rojo will keep for up to two weeks, refrigerated, but must be re-heated and diluted with water (to prevent saltiness) every three days. It will keep for up to two months frozen.
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