Cranberry Mole

Cranberry Mole

Making mole (a traditional Mexican sauce) doesn’t have to be an all-day process—and eating it doesn’t have to be a dietary nightmare, especially if you use sweet cranberries for flavor, cut down on the oil and reduce the huge quantity of nuts and seeds often used. This recipe makes more than you may need for Thanksgiving dinner, but the leftovers are delicious on Southwestern-style turkey sandwiches or quesadillas.

Total: 1 hour 10 minutes
To Make Ahead: Refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months.


5 cups water
10 dried chiles, any combination of New Mexico, pasilla and/or ancho (see Note)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
4 tomatillos, papery husks removed, rinsed and halved (see Note)
2 plum tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 small, very ripe, almost black plantain (about 10 ounces), peeled and thinly sliced (see Ingredient Note)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, grated
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

  1. Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stem and seed chiles, then tear the skins into large chunks. Place the chiles and dried cranberries in a large bowl; cover with boiling water. Set aside to soften.

  2. Position rack at top level of oven; preheat broiler. Lightly oil a large baking sheet with a rim. Place tomatillos and tomatoes cut-side down on the baking sheet. Broil until the skins char, about 6 minutes. Transfer the tomatillos, tomatoes and any juices to a food processor or blender.

  3. Meanwhile, toast almonds in a dry medium skillet over medium heat, stirring, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer to the food processor or blender.

  4. Heat oil in the same pan over medium heat. Add plantain and cook until lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes, turning the slices once. Transfer to the food processor or blender.

  5. Place garlic in the same pan over medium-low heat; cook, stirring occasionally, just until golden, about 3 minutes. Add to the food processor or blender.

  6. Drain the chiles and cranberries; transfer to the food processor or blender. Add cinnamon, allspice and cloves. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary, about 3 minutes.

  7. Pour the puree into a large saucepan. Stir in broth, chocolate, salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the mole begins to bubble, 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce heat and gently simmer, stirring constantly, until the mole is steaming and slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

Makes about 4 1/2 cups, enough for 12 servings plus leftovers.
Per 2-tablespoon serving: 41 calories; 1 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 8 g carbohydrate; 1 g protein; 2 g fiber; 44 mg sodium.

Nutrition bonus: Vitamin A (20% daily value).

Ingredient notes: Plantains, a starchy, less-sweet relative of the banana, are commonly used in Cuban and Latin American cooking. They are typically sold underripe, with yellow skin, but are best when used ripe, when the skin is almost completely black. Buy underripe plantains least one week in advance, and ripen on the kitchen counter.

Dried New Mexico, pasilla and ancho chiles used in Southwestern cooking to add moderate heat and a rich flavor to sauces, soups and stews. To give the mole the most flavor, use at least two different varieties. Find them in the produce section of large supermarkets or online at

Tomatillos are tart, plum-sized green fruits that look like small, husk-covered green tomatoes. Find them in the produce section near the tomatoes.

B-man :wink: