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Chicken molé

Recipe by:Laura Kenny and Joanne Neft
Co-authors, Placer County Real Food From Farmers Markets


  • Molé sauce
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, large diced, plus an additional 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 cups almonds, blanched
  • 1 cup roasted, unsalted peanuts
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 12 whole peppercorns
  • 1 stick cinnamon, 4 inches long
  • 1 cup bread, pulled in pieces
  • 4 cups small diced tomatoes
  • 7 large dried ancho chiles, stems and seeds removed, rehydrated in 1 cup boiling water
  • 3 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • Chicken
  • 5 lb. chicken (1 large or 2 small chickens)
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut in 3-inch lengths
  • 4 celery stalks, cut in 3-inch lengths
  • 1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Garnish
  • 1/4 cup diced almonds
  • 2 tbsp. chopped cilantro


For molé sauce: Heat 2/3 cup oil in a large pan. Add large onion, garlic, nuts, cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon and bread. Cook slowly for 1 hour. Turn off heat. Add tomatoes and chiles and stir well. Pour mixture in a food processor and blend until liquefied. Set aside. Add 3 tbsp. oil and 1/2 cup onions to pan. Cook until onions are slightly browned. Add nut and tomato mixture to pan. Cook at medium heat until sauce thickens, about 25 to 30 minutes. Sauce can be held overnight in the refrigerator or frozen.

For chicken: Cut up chicken and place entire back, neck and wing tips in a large pot. Add vegetables and seasonings. Cover with water. Bring to a boil, lower heat and slow simmer for 2 hours. After 2 hours, add legs and thighs to simmering pot and cook 10 minutes. Then add breasts and wings and simmer another 25 minutes. Remove chicken and set aside in a large bowl. Empty contents of pot into a strainer and drain broth into pan. Discard vegetables and bones. Set broth aside. Both chicken meat and molé sauce can be made the day before serving and refrigerated.

To serve: An hour before serving, add 2 cups or more of the reserved chicken broth to the molé sauce. The mixture should be the consistency of gravy. For a hotter sauce, add a slight pinch of chili powder. Add more salt if necessary. Bring thinned sauce to a boil and add chicken pieces. Simmer until heated through, about 20 minutes. Serve in a large bowl, garnished with almonds and cilantro.

Peg Tomlinson-Poswall shared this recipe with the authors of Placer County Real Food.

Serves 8

Califonia Bountiful