Field Notes

Hot Sauce Field Guide: Mole

This famed sauce from Oaxaca is rich, fragrant and earthy. While some versions contain dozens of different ingredients, this recipe is streamlined and can be whipped up in under an hour. Almonds and pepitas give the sauce a silky creaminess, while onions and a heavy dose of garlic provide a base for the spices.

Yield: 4 cups

  • 3 whole dried chilies (about 1/2 ounce), such as moritas or anchos
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 small onion 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds), coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 cups chicken stock

In a small bowl, cover the chilies and raisins with boiling water and let sit for 10 minutes. Heat the canola oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent, 7 minutes. Add the almonds, pepitas, cinnamon, cumin and cloves. Cook until the spices smell toasty, about 3 minutes. Drain the chilies and raisins and remove the stems and seeds from the chilies. Add them to the Dutch oven, then stir in the chocolate and the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer until it reduces slightly and thickens, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. Serve with chicken or pork over rice or tucked into tortillas.