Molé For Today

Molé For Today
By: Lisa Henning

In 1993, after college, I lived in NY. It was a hub of deliciousness, and I spent plenty of time dining out, tasting new, exciting flavors from all over the world.  The moment I met my favorite flavor EVER, remains prominent in my memory.

My friend, Karen, and I visited a Mexican restaurant called Don Juan’s, where they made guacamole table-side (so exciting!) and fried the tortilla chips on site (unheard of!) The menu included many dishes, quesadillas, burritos, enchiladas. That day, however, my attention was drawn to the Molé Poblano. I had no clue as to what it was or what to expect. When Esteban (we learned his name when he asked VERY pregnant Karen to marry him) returned to the table to take our orders, we both ordered Chicken Molé Poblano. Our platters arrived, and we experienced a nutty, chicken-y, chocolatey aroma unlike any other. The sauce was a deep brown, generously coating juicy chunks of chicken breasts, surrounded by rice and refried beans. The flavor was deep and rich, nutty, spicy, slightly sweet, perfect. It became our instant favorite.


Research on this recipe was hard to find back then, and cookbooks with authentic Mexican recipes had me learning on my Abuela’s knee. Not having an abuela, Karen and I settled for a weekly trip to Don Juan’s. Esteban was thrilled. Eventually, I did venture to try the recipe myself, having located several specialty items and weeding through many variations of molé. It was good, but time consuming. There had to be a better way, an easier way, to bring this flavor to the table on a regular basis.

Enter the crock pot. After several attempts, I trimmed the recipe’s steps, and ended up with a very good molé sauce- tasty with beef, pork or chicken. Hopefully, any Abuela would approve.

Chicken Molé Poblano

  • 2 Dried Poblano Peppers
  • 1 Dried Chipotle Pepper
  • 1 Dried Ancho Chile
  • 2 TBS Ground Cumin
  • 1/4 cup tortilla crumbs or 3 torn corn tortillas
  • 4 oz. Semi-sweet Chocolate, chopped
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 large shallot, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 1 teaspoon mexican oregano
  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • Salt to taste



  1. Place all ingredients, except chicken, in a crock pot.
  2. Set crock pot on low, 2 hours.
  3. After 2 hours, remove cinnamon and chilies, reserve.
  4. Use an immersion blender to puree the sauce completely.
  5. Return the cinnamon and chilies to the pot. (At this point, the sauce can be fully cooled and reserved for all-day cooking, just add in the chicken at that point.)
  6. Add the chicken, set crock pot to low for 8 hours.
  7. When cooking is complete, remove cinnamon sticks and discard.
  8. Remove chilies, and a cup of sauce, place in a blender. Blend until smooth, return mixture to the pot.
  9. Season with salt to taste.
  10. Serve over hot rice, or with tortilla chips.


Lisa Henning is the Chef/Owner of Queen of Cuisine Personal Chef Service. She spends most of her time cooking, feeding her friends and clients and then blogging about it. Lisa also blogs at the Queen of Cuisine blog.




About eSS&SC

The South Shore and South Coast has been home to hunting, gathering, fishing, farming––and great eating––for over 10,000 years. We are committed to identifying, devouring, and sharing all that Southeastern Massachusetts has to offer today and preserving local options for future generations.
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14 Responses to Molé For Today

  1. Lisa says:

    Follow up on my earlier post, the chicken mole poblano was fantastic. I served it with guacamole and cilantro. A real keeper!

  2. Lisa says:

    Making Lisa’s chicken mole poblano today. Started at 7:00, it’s 9:00 now and already the house smells delicious ! Great directions, easy to follow. Can’t wait for supper.

    • Lisa Henning says:

      So glad you’re trying it!! What Lisa failed to mention is she dried her own poblano pepper when she couldn’t find them in the store. Serious commitment to my recipe!! Thanks, Lisa.

  3. Marie Sprowl says:

    I have never tried anything close to this, so I can’t even begin to imagine the flavors. But since it’s your favorite flavor and I know that you have excellent taste it must be yummy. The pic looks great, crock pot even better… and I know that your version has your signature of a phenomenal balance of perfect flavors and interesting textures. “Hail the Queen!”

  4. Anonymous says:

    YUMMY! can’t wait to try it! Congrats on the blog! -Amy

  5. Lisa Henning says:

    Hi, Jean- Good question!! You would be best off finding the dried peppers online and using them rather than powdered chili pepper. Chipotle pepper is a smoked pepper and you won’t get that aspect of flavor if you use a regular chili powder. Each pepper lends it’s own flavor to the dish- if you make it with chili powder- it will taste mosly like chili! I use Penzy’s for my hard-to-find spices. Good luck!

  6. Anonymous says:

    In my area it is almost impossible to find exotic peppers, such as Poblano and Chipotle peppers or Ancho chili. Can I substitute powered chilli pepper in this dish by just increasing the amount? Loved your food blog, hope to see more. Always looking for something different to experiment with. Thanks. Jean

  7. Lisa says:

    Sounds delicious! Love the ingredients and crockpot preparation! Can’t wait to try it! Olé for Molé!

  8. Lisa Henning says:

    It should be fine, Lori. Maybe add a little extra corn tortilla for texture- the nuts help to thicken the sauce. Enjoy!

  9. Just printed your recipe and plan to try it tomorrow (will probably make the sauce today and toss everything in the crockpot in the morning before the crew heads out to the slopes)…this will be a nice change from our post-skiing chili. We can’t have nuts, so I hope it’ll taste OK without them. Thanks!

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