Chicken in Mole, Puebla Style

Chicken in Mole, Puebla Style

Makes 8 servings

4 pounds chicken pieces, skin on
Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted, for garnish
white rice

Mole Poblano
Makes 9 cups.
9 mulato chiles*
7 pasilla chiles*
6 ancho chiles*
1 cup plus 9 tablespoons vegetable oil or lard plus additional as needed
4 or 5 tomatillos,** husked and cooked until soft
5 whole cloves
20 whole black peppercorns
1-inch piece of a Mexican cinnamon stick***
1 tablespoon seeds from the chiles, toasted
1/2 teaspoon anise seeds, toasted
1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted
8 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
4 garlic cloves, roasted
3 tablespoons raisins
20 whole almonds, blanched
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds****
2 corn tortillas, torn into pieces
3 stale French rolls, cut into 1-inch slices
6 to 7 cups reserved chicken broth as needed
1 1/2 ounces Mexican chocolate, chopped

In a large stock pot, parboil the chicken in water seasoned with salt and
pepper to taste. Drain, reserving cooking broth, and refrigerate until ready
to assemble the dish.

Prepare the Mole Poblano. Clean the chiles by removing stems, veins, and
seeds; reserve 1 tablespoon of the seeds. Heat 1/2 cup of the oil in a heavy
skillet until it shimmers. Fry the chiles until crisp, about 10 to 15
seconds, turning once; make sure they do not burn. Drain on paper towels.
Put the chiles in a nonreactive bowl, cover with hot water, and set aside
for 30 minutes. Drain the chiles, reserving the soaking water. Puree the
chiles in a blender with enough of the soaking water to make a smooth paste.
It may be necessary to scrape down the sides and blend several times to
obtain a smooth paste. In a heavy Dutch oven heat an additional 1/2 cup oil
over medium heat and add the chile puree (be careful — it will splatter).
Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and set aside.

Puree the tomatillos in a blender. In a coffee or spice grinder, grind the
cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon, and toasted seeds. Add the seed mixture and
the garlic to the pureed tomatillos and blend until smooth. Set aside.

Heat 6 tablespoons of the oil in a heavy frying pan. Fry each of the
following ingredients and then remove with a slotted spoon: the raisins
until they puff up; the almonds to a golden brown; the pumpkin seeds until
they pop. If necessary, add enough oil to make 4 tablespoons and fry the
tortilla pieces and bread slices until golden brown, about 15 seconds per
side; remove from the skillet with a slotted spoon. Add raisins, almonds,
pumpkins seeds, tortillas, and bread to the tomatillo puree and blend, using
1 to 2 cups of the reserved chicken broth, as needed, to make a smooth
sauce. This may have to be done in batches. In a heavy Dutch oven, heat 3
tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. Add the chile puree, the tomatillo
puree, and the Mexican chocolate (be careful — it will splatter). Cook over
medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring often. Add the remaining 5 cups
of chicken broth, cook over low heat for an additional 45 minutes, stirring
often enough to prevent the mixture from scorching on the bottom. During the last 15 minutes of cooking time, add the parboiled chicken and heat through.

Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and serve with white rice.