How To: Mole Verde con Pollo- Mexican Green Pumpkin Seed Mole with Chicken

Posted: Apr 22 2014

-by Nathan Gutierrez


Mole pronounced “mol-ay” is a term in Mexican Cuisine that can mean sauce, or refer to a variety of complex sauces that combine nuts, seeds, chilies, and sometimes even chocolate. Today I present “Mole Verde” literally translates to “Green Mole” it is made from a combination of green leafy vegetables, green tomatillos, garlic, onions, and often times the addition of pumpkin seeds.

There are many variations of Mole Verde. My version of Mole Verde combines elements of my grandmother’s recipe (I use her idea of using Scallion greens and blending the greens raw for convenience) and my mother’s friends Carmen’s recipe which uses the herb “Epazote” a pungent, earthy, meaty tasting herb. In addition I love combine the sauce with some toasted sesame seeds, and sweet, smokey and peppery spices commonly used in other types of mole’s such as allspice, cloves, cumin and cinnamon. However they must be used in balance to make sure they marry harmoniously with everything else. 

Ingredients to make stock and cook chicken:

-1 whole chicken bone-in 3- 4 lbs or chicken leg quarters
-1/2 onion
-4 cloves garlic
-a small bunch of fresh mint leaves (about fistful)
-2 bay leaves
-1/2 teaspoon oregano
-1/2 teaspoon thyme
-2 teaspoons chicken bouillon powder
-salt to taste

Ingredients for sauce:
-4 large romaine lettuce leaves
-1 small bunch of radish leaves (buy radishes at the grocery store with green tops and remove to use for this recipe, gives the sauce a peppery flavor)
-1 small bunch of spinach leaves (gives the sauce a very vibrant green color)
-1 medium bunch of fresh cilantro
-1 small bunch of fresh Epazote (I know this ingredient can be hard to obtain please if you cannot obtain it simply omit it, you will still get a delicious sauce, however Epazote herb adds a wonderful pungent earthy taste that compliments the other greens)
-4 whole scallions (remove bottom brown parts)
-8 medium fresh tomatillos
-1 fresh Chile Poblano
-1-2 Chile Serrano(more or less depending on how spicy you want it, add at least one for flavor)
-1/2 onion
-4 cloves of garlic
-1/4 cup sesame seeds
-1/2 cup green pumpkin seeds
-2 cinnamon stick (can use 1 tsp or so ground cinnamon)
-8-10 allspice berries (can use ½ tsp. ground allspice)
-1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (may use ground in place of whole spice)
-2 cloves (the spice)

Directions:
(1) 
Clean chicken really well by running under running water,, my mother rinse it with some vinegar, and salt then drains that water. Remove skin if desired as well.
(2) Set chicken in a large pot, cover with water, add all the ingredients listed under “stock ingredients” (the onion, garlic, mint leaves, bay leaves, oregano, thyme, bouillon powder, and salt). Bring to a boil and simmer 45 minutes covered. Then turn- off, set aside.

(3) Meanwhile prepare all your other ingredients, chop into large pieces all the greens which are the romaine lettuce leaves, radish leaves, spinach leaves, cilantro, epazote, scallions, fresh tomatillos, chile Poblano, and leave the Serrano peppers whole.. Fill your sink (assuming it’s clean) with water, and add the greens to give them a good wash, swoosh them around and then drain the water. Repeat this process at least 3 times to make sure they are clean. Set them aside.

(4) Now in a small pan over medium low heat, toast your pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, and allspice berries until sesame seeds and a golden color and make a popping sound. Set aside. At this point you can choose to blend the spices and seeds in a spice grinder, or blend them with everything else in a blender if you know your blender is strong enough along with other stuff in the following directions.

(5)
 By now your chicken should be cooked, and stock made (while it was simmering you were preparing everything else for this dish). Now using the stock from the chicken, blend all ingredients in batches until smooth, and set them aside. (Be careful the stock is hot, and the contents in the blender can jump out from the heat and pressure, so be cautious, cover it tightly with a towel, etc.

(6) When all sauce ingredients are blended smooth, heat a large deep-pot with a little bit of extra-virgin olive oil or lard (I like to use these feel free to use a different oil if you do not have these) when oil is hot, quickly add all blended ingredients for the sauce, bring to a boil, and simmer atleast 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

(7) Add chicken pieces and cook in sauce for 10 minutes. Turn off heat. Enjoy with warm corn tortillas, or a side of rice, beans, your favorite salsa, etc.

 

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