Pollo en Mole Poblano (Chicken with Puebla-Style Mole Sauce)
This Mexican chile pepper is called “Chilaca” when used fresh. In California the Poblano chile is often called Pasilla. Since most of these are bought and distributed from California this mislabeling often carries over into the supermarkets nationwide causing alot of confusion. This chile is very mild and is usually consumed in the dry form to make the famous Mexican ‘mole’ sauces.
2 oz. dried mulato chiles
1 oz. dried ancho chiles
1 oz. dried pasilla chiles
1 (3–4-lb.) whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 small plum tomato, cored
1/2 medium tomatillo, husks removed, rinsed
1/4 small white onion, peeled
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 tsp. whole cloves
1/2 tsp. whole allspice berries
1/4 tsp. coriander seeds
1/4 tsp. whole black peppercorns
1/4 tsp. anise seeds
1/2 stick cinnamon, preferably canela
1/4 ripe plantain or banana, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 small corn tortilla, roughly chopped
3 tbsp. whole almonds
1 ½ tbsp. sesame seeds, plus more for garnish
2 tbsp. raisins
¼ stale bolillo (see Mexico’s Daily Breads) or 1 slice white sandwich bread, toasted and crumbled
1 tbsp. lard or canola oil
2 oz. Mexican chocolate, such as Ibarra, roughly chopped
1 tbsp. finely chopped piloncillo or packed light brown sugar
2 tsp. kosher salt
Mexican-style red rice, for serving
Heat a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add mulato, ancho, and pasilla chiles, and cook, turning once, until toasted, about 2 minutes. Transfer all chiles to a large bowl and pour over 5 cups boiling water and let sit until chiles are soft, about 30 minutes. Drain, reserving soaking liquid, and remove stems and seeds from chiles, reserving 1 tsp. seeds from chiles. Set seeds aside, and transfer chiles to a food processor and add 1 cup soaking liquid, and process until smooth. Set chile purée and remaining soaking liquid aside. Bring chicken and 8 cups water to a boil in a 4-qt. saucepan over high heat, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until tender, about 45 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, arrange an oven rack 4″ from broiler element, and heat broiler to high. Place garlic, tomato, tomatillo, and onion on a foil-lined baking sheet, and broil, turning as needed, until all vegetables are charred all over, about 15 minutes. Transfer vegetables to food processor, and process until smooth and set vegetable purée aside.
Heat butter in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add reserved chile seeds, cloves, allspice, coriander, peppercorns, anise seeds, and canela, and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly toasted and fragrant, about 6 minutes. Add plantain, and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Add tortilla, and cook, stirring, until lightly toasted, about 6 minutes. Add almonds and sesame seeds, and cook, stirring, until lightly toasted, about 8 minutes. Add reserved chile purée and vegetable purée, along with raisins and bread, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until all ingredients are softened, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, and transfer mole to blender along with remaining soaking liquid and purée until very smooth, at least 4 minutes.
Return saucepan to medium-high heat, and add lard. When hot, add mole and fry, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Add chocolate, piloncillo, and salt, and cook until chocolate and sugar dissolve and sauce is smooth, about 10 minutes. Arrange chicken on a platter, liberally cover with the sauce, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve with red rice, if you like.