Spicy Grilled Chicken with Creamy Pumpkin Mole Sauce

Ancho (Ahn-cho) Chile (Capsicum Annum) means Wide Chile Pepper. This chile ranges from 3 – 4 on a heat scale of 1 to 10. An Ancho is the dried form of a Poblano Pepper and often is mislabeled as a Pasilla or Mulato Pepper. Anchos have sweet fruity flavor with hints of cherry, prune, and fig. Anchos, combined with the Pasilla and Guajillo, form the Holy Trinity of chiles used to prepare the traditional mole sauces. Scoville heat units are 1,000 to 3,000.

Suggested Use:
Anchos are great in salsa, soups, enchilada and any sauce needing mild heat and chile flavor. Chopped, pureed or ground, they can be added directly to your recipes.

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8 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
2 dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded, torn into large pieces
3/4 cup drained canned diced tomatoes
1 3-inch-diameter slice white onion (1/2 in thick), separated into rings
2 garlic cloves, peeled
4 canned chipotle chiles
3 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 cup canned pure pumpkin
1/3 cup whipping cream
2 tsp dark brown sugar
4 1/2 Tbs vegetable oil
1 slice country white bread, crust trimmed
fresh cilantro sprigs
lime wedges


Heat heavy large pot over medium heat. Add chile pieces and toast until aromatic and lighter in color around the edges, pressing with the back of a fork and turning pieces, for about 2 minutes. Set aside one 2-inch piece of chile for garnish. Transfer remaining pieces to medium bowl. Cover chiles in bowl with hot water. Soak until soft, about 30 minutes.

In the same large pot, heat 1 1/2 Tbs oil over medium-high heat. Add onion rings and garlic. Saute until brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer to processor, leaving oil in pot. Add bread slice to pot, and cook until golden, about 30 seconds per side. Transfer bread to processor (reserve cooking pot). Add tomatoes to processor. Puree mixture until smooth. Transfer tomato puree to small bowl (do not clean processor).

Drain ancho chiles and place them in processor. Add 1/2 cup broth and 2 chipotle chiles. Puree until smooth.

Add 1 Tbs oil to reserved pot. Heat over medium-high heat. Add ancho chile puree and cook until puree thickens and darkens, stirring often, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add tomato puree. Simmer until thick, stirring often, about 4 minutes. Whisk in pumpkin and 3 cups of broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until mole thickens and reduces to 3 1/3 cups, about 30 minutes. Whisk in cream and sugar. Season to taste with salt.

Puree 2 Tbs oil and 2 chipotle chiles in small processor or force through sieve to make a thick glaze. Transfer to bowl.

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Rewarm mole. Spread chipotle glaze thinly over both sides of chicken breasts. Sprinkle chicken generously with salt. Grill until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to plates. Spoon mole over each. Crumble reserved ancho chile piece and sprinkle over chicken. Garnish with cilantro sprigs and lime.

Serves 8.

From Bon Appetit magazine.