I have two weaknesses when it comes to Mexican food, pork tamales with the perfect ratio of meat to masa, and authentic spicy mole chicken enchiladas. When I visit a Mexican restaurant, those are the two things I search for first on the menu. Sadly, I’ve discovered not many Mexican restaurants serve a mole sauce, at least not in St. Louis.
So, since I still had several habanero peppers left from the garden, I decided to try my hand at making my own version of an authentic mole sauce, just to see if I could pull it off. Much to my delight, I did it. This sauce was rich, smoky, spicy, earthy and positively delicious!
For the Mole:
10 habanero peppers
5 whole cloves
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3 shallots, finely chopped
2 ounces Mexican chocolate, broken into pieces
2 corn tortillas, torn into pieces
3 cups chicken stock
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup sliced blanched almonds
1/4 cup pepitas
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon anise seeds
1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
For the Enchiladas:
2 cups cooked rotisserie chicken, shredded
12 flour tortillas
1 cup queso fresco or mild feta
1 cup fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 cup shredded lettuce
1 cup chopped red onion
1 cup sour cream
Fresh lime juice
For the Mole:
1) Toast the almonds, anise, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, pepitas, tortillas and sesame seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant.
2) Transfer the toasted ingredients to a food processor and grind them into a powder. Transfer the powder to a saucepan.
3) Cut the habanero peppers into quarters, removing the seeds.
4) Heat the olive oil in the same skillet you used to toast the dry ingredients over medium heat. Add the raisins, onions, garlic, shallots, and peppers. Cook over low heat for 3-5 minutes until soft.
5) Transfer the mixture to the food processor and blend until the vegetables are finely chopped. Add the vegetables to the saucepan.
6) Add the chicken stock to the saucepan and stir the ingredients together. Using an immersion blender, blend the mixture until you have a thick sauce. Simmer for 20 minutes.
7) Stir in the chocolate, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, oregano, and vinegar. Adjust any seasonings to taste.
8) Remove the pan from the heat and strain the sauce through a fine mesh sieve, removing any solids. The resulting sauce should be thick and smooth.
For the Enchiladas:
1) To assemble the enchiladas, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2) Dip a tortilla directly into the warm mole and transfer it to a plate.
3) Place 1/3 cup of the shredded chicken in the center of the tortilla, then roll it up to enclose the filling. Place the enchilada in an oven-safe baking dish, seam- side down. Continue to fill all of the tortillas and place them side-by- side.
4) Pour the reserved mole sauce over the top of the enchiladas and bake uncovered until the sauce is bubbly and the enchiladas are heated through, about 20 to 25 minutes.
5) To serve, sprinkle the enchiladas with fresh tomatoes, lettuce, red onion, and queso fresco. Finish with a drizzle of sour cream and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.