Chicken Thighs in Mole

Mole Poblano is one of the great sauces of the world: a complex, warming, rich mixture of spices, fruit, chilis, and chocolate from Puebla in Central Mexico.

It’s one of those sauces that is somehow more than the sum of its parts. This is remarkable in that most good moles … well, they have a lot of parts.


Some recipes call for as many as 50 different ingredients and hours of cooking. Enrique Olvera’s Pujol, in Mexico City, serves a mole that’s been cooking for so long, it’s lifespan is measured in years.

This recipe is simpler and takes some shortcuts. As such, it does lack some of the depth of more complex recipes. It’s by no means an authentic representation of the transcendent cooking of Puebla or Central Mexico.

However, this is still a wonderful sauce and unlike the more complex and involved traditional recipes , it can be made in a relatively short period of time with ingredients you are likely to have at home or can easily get at your local market.

Chicken Thighs in Mole

Recipe by DrewCourse: Bone-In, Mexican, Stove TopCuisine: MexicanDifficulty: Difficult


Prep time


Cooking time




Total time



A simplified version of a classic mole sauce.


  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

  • 4 cups chicken stock

  • 2 dried ancho chilis

  • 2 dried guajillo chilis

  • 2 dried chipotle chilis

  • 1 banana

  • ½ cup raisins

  • 1 oz bittersweet chocolate

  • 4 cloves garlic

  • 1 tsp cumin

  • 1 tsp five spice powder

  • 1 sprig fresh thyme

  • ½ cup blanched almonds

  • 1 tbsp tahini

  • ½ cup crushed white corn tortilla chips

  • 2 tbsp neutral oil

  • 1 small can tomato sauce

  • 1 large onion

  • 1 tsp kosher salt

  • 1 tsp black pepper

  • 1 tbsp sesame seed (garnish)

  • ½ cup loosely packed cilantro leaves (garnish)

  • ¼ cup light brown sugar (opt)


  • Poach chicken in chicken stock and salt until cooked through, but not falling off the bone. Set chicken aside and reserve the chicken stock.
  • Peel and chop the banana into 1-inch pieces.
  • Trim, peel, and roughly chop the onion.
  • Roughly chop the garlic. Remove the seeds and stems from the dried chilies.
  • Add oil to a large pot over medium heat.
  • Add onions, banana, garlic, chilis, black pepper, cumin, spice powder, and thyme, sautéing until the onion has softened and has become translucent.
  • Add raisins, almonds, tahini, tomato sauce, corn chips, and chicken stock, and bring to a simmer.
  • Cook for 30 minutes to 1 hour or until all ingredients are softened and beginning to break down.
  • Transfer to a blender, working in batches if necessary, and blend until smooth.
  • As always when working with hot liquids, open the top of the blender slightly and cover with a towel to prevent the escaping steam from blowing hot mole bits all over you and your kitchen.
  • Once well-blended, return the mixture to the pan and return to a low simmer.
  • Chop the chocolate into small pieces and stir into the mixture until fully combined. Taste for seasoning and sweetness, adding sugar and salt if necessary.
  • Return the chicken to the sauce and simmer until the meat is nearly falling from the bone.
  • To serve, arrange chicken pieces on a plate, cover with mole sauce, scatter with sesame seeds and cilantro.

Be sure to check out my other food project, The Weekly Menu!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.