When Hubby and I first got together, he took me to a dive of a Mexican restaurant – a real hole in the wall joint with linoleum floors that slopped toward the kitchen and rickety tables. Hubby insisted they made his all-time-favorite Mexican dish – Chicken Mole. He was right, it was very good. Because I love Hubby with all my heart, I wanted to make his favorite Mexican dish at home. Have you seen the ingredients in authentic Mole sauce?! Oh me, oh my . . . raisins, nuts, chocolate, chilies and on and on . . . hours of simmering. Oh no!
One day, I picked up a jar of concentrated Mole Sauce in the Latin aisle at our local market. What the heck – it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try. The most difficult thing to do was to get the thick (and I mean thick) concentrated base out of that little jar. (Using the handle of a wooden spoon works well to break it up and pry it out). And then you need to add the liquid back into the concentrate to make it a sauce. This stuff doesn’t dissolve easily.
The first time I made it, I spent a good twenty minutes stirring the chicken broth in a large bowl with the nearly solid concentrate, and still there were clumpy lumps in the bottom of bowl. This stuff is stubborn!! But it was good, so I wasn’t willing to give up the ghost.
Round two – I had Hubby mash the heck out of the concentrate with a potato masher. Stir, mash, stir, mash – again, it took a long time to get the stuff smooth.
Along came my wonderful Kitchen-Aid stand up mixer. While it still took a while to get the concentrate to dissolve into the broth, at least with the stand up mixer, I could do other things – like soak the jar and wash off the label. (What can I say – these little jars are perfect orange juice glasses! I’ve got a cupboard full of these little jars, and I’ve given twice that many away over the years). At last, the light came on – warm the broth. This cut the mixing time in half. (See recipe for detail).
The directions on the jar tell you to use 3 parts chicken broth for 1 part concentrate. That’s a little on the mild side. Two parts broth to one part concentrate give you a nice, spicy mole that isn’t too hot. (If you really want to sweat while you’re eating, use equal parts – did that once, not again!)
Gosh, I made this sound like a lot of work . . . but oh so worth it! And before you say anything, I know you can buy the sauce in ready-to-use containers. Been there, done that – not nearly as tasty. So it might be a fight to get the stuff out of the jar, and another fight to get the stuff to dissolve, but it is so worth it. And when you think about it – I guess you could claim you “made” the sauce. Lord knows you sure worked at it just to get the sauce out of the jar!
Note: The recipe below has been updated to include heating the chicken broth before using it to dissolve the concentrated mole sauce. This speeds up the dissolve process time, nearly cutting it in half.
Cheater’s Chicken Mole
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 jar Dona Maria Mole sauce (concentrated)
2 cans chicken broth
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Empty mole sauce into a large mixing bowl. Add 1 can of broth to the bowl. Whisk on low-speed. Pour remaining can of broth into a micro-wave safe measuring cup. Heat on high 2 minutes. Slowly pour hot broth into bowl. In about 5 minutes, the sauce will be nice and thick and ready to use. (Soak mole jar in warm; soapy water to remove the label. They make great orange juice glasses!)
While mole sauce is mixing, cut chicken breasts into large chunks, about 2-inch squares. Place chicken breasts in a large casserole dish. Pour sauce over breasts. Cover with foil and bake 1 ½ – 2 hours.
Serve with warm flour tortillas.
Serving suggestions: Authentic Spicy Spanish Rice