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Mexican Home Cooked Style Mole Enchiladas!

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On the L.A. board petradish asked me to put up my Enchilada recipe. I was kinda flattered and also a bit embarrassed. It reminded me of the time when I served up a round of cocktails in a variety of little tall glasses with scalloped bottoms. Someone commented on pretty the little glasses were, absolutely perfect for cocktails… I could not help but admit that those pretty little glasses were actually symbols of my Mole secret… As they were all originally Dona Maria Mole jars…


Aspiring Mexican cooks often come and ask me, “What’s your family’s Mole recipe?” I smile and delicately explain to them that being from the Yucatan, we don’t have a mole as most people know it. Further, most home cooks in Mexico BUY their moles from local markets, already made. As you walk through the Mercados in Mexico, be it outdoor or a Kroger Clone, and make your way to the spices/deli area you see and SMELL those big clay dishes absolutely brimming with fresh made Mole. You go around and take a little pinch to taste each one. Depending on your craving, you make your selection and buy just enough to make one big dish. I’m lucky enough to now live near East L.A so I can relive this experience (although the clay plates are replaced by white industrial food buckets and the tastes are done via popsicle stick). But as a kid, in those months I wasn’t shipped of to Mexico, I was living in suburbia. Hence the Dona Maria from Albertsons had to do…

Perhaps it’s the visits to Mexico city, perhaps it’s all the Dona Maria, but my favorite Mole is the Mole Poblano, what most people know as “Mole”. This is velvety brown sauce, has just enough heat, but also an underlying sweetness. Following very closely however is Mole Negro from Oaxaca. I love it for it’s complex spiciness, nothing overly sweet about it!! I also love other “Moles”such as Yucatan’s own Chirmole, Pipian, Mole Rojo, etc… but the Mole Negro and Poblano are the ones I most use when making a “Mole” dish for my friends. I recently cooked up both for my BF, a Mole virgin, and he was surprised at how different they were and how he actually loved both equally.

My favorite way to have Mole is to serve it with chicken over rice. Making little ‘bocados’ tortilla scoops and enjoying its flavor pretty much straight up. My favorite way to introduce Mole to those who new to the dish or who are afraid of it (The chocolate thing seems to freak people out…), is Mole Enchiladas! Which was the inspiration for this post as I’m going to make a big batch this Friday for a Potluck!

Mexican Home Cooked Style Mole Enchiladas!

You will need:

Mole Paste (Any type, from Dona Maria or Mexican Grocer),
Carton of Chicken Broth
Tortillas (Store brand I like is Dona Rosa),
Vegetable/Canola Oil
Shredded Chicken Breasts (I use TJ’s Frozen Rib On) poached with Garlic and Mexican Oregano.

Garnish: Minced Onion, Queso Anejo, Mexican Crema.

First I poach my Chicken. Just dump Chicken Breasts on Bone into a pot of boiling water with a bit of salt and a few cloves of garlic. When almost done, I add in the Mexican Oregano (Boiling the oregano too long can cause it to turn bitter). Then I remove, let cool just enough so I can shredded, place in a covered bowl and set aside…

Then, I get a sauce pot (I found I love to do this in a small Saucier) and under a medium heat smear about a spoonful of Mole paste at the bottom of the pot and let it kinda bubble (Mole should have quite a bit of oil so it shouldn’t burn or stick to the pot), then slowly add a but of broth and mix in to create a thick sauce. This is the starter of your thick mole sauce. You can then add in more paste and more broth. Always keeping the sauce kinda thick. Stir as it simmers and let the mole sauce get thicker, then add a bit more broth to loosen it up, but keep on stirring and always keep it on the thick side.

As you are doing the dance of stir and adding broth, taste the mole. What should be happening is that some of the spiciness or sweetness of the mole should be mellowing out and blending with the flavor of the Chicken Broth. Mole paste on its own is STORNG stuff, so you need it to be infused with flavor from the broth to become more balanced, but do NOT let it get watered down or too chickeny…

Once you get the quantity and the flavor you desire from your mole, put it on a VERY low-barely on heat so that the mole continues to stay warm.

Then, heat up a small frying pan with about a ¼ inch of oil and fry the tortillas. I fry the tortillas until semi crisp. So that the edges are crisp, but it still remains slightly bendy. I fry the first side longer than the second side, the crisper side will be the outside of the Enchilada.

Then, I take the freshly fried tortilla, and place it in the warm mole pot and add another tortilla into the pan. After completely covering the tortilla in the mole, place the coated tortilla on the plate, sprinkle in some shredded chicken and roll up. Repeat this fry, dip, stuff and roll until I have all my plates done. Now, you can put all the Enchiladas in a baking dish to serve later, as I’m going to do with the potluck. Frying the tortilla allows the enchiladas to retain their shape through reheating. But like most everything home made, this dish is best served right away!.

Then, I take the remaining Mole in the pot and turn up the heat so the sauce get nice and hot. The Mole may have gotten thicker by this time, so feel free to add a little more broth to loosen it up just a bit. Pour the hot mole sauce over your rolled Enchiladas. (For the potluck, I’m brining a separate container of the Mole sauce to heat up and pour over the re-heated Enchiladas right before placing the dish out
Have bowls of Chopped Onion, Crumbled Queso Anejo (If you cannot find Queso Anejo, you can substitute Feta. Other Mexican crumbly cheese I find are too mild in flavor to really add anything to the dish), and Mexican Cream (You can also sub sour cream thinned with a bit of milk, I just love the combo of fresh smooth cream and spicy mole) and let your guests garnish to their hearts content!

I prefer not to place lettuce on top of this dish, again, because it really doesn’t add anything. If you and your guests are wanting a little green on your plate, boil up some Chayote


Serve up with butter and as sprinkling of chile powder. This Mexican squash is VERY refreshing in flavor (BF remarked they tasted a bit like summer squash) and is the perfect palette cleanser for the rich spicy mole!

And there you go… a fairly simple typical everyday Mexican home cooked dinner. Enjoy! :

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  1. I made the rich dark chocolaty mole for turkey enchiladas on Sat.P.M. The turkey was really good with it, the meat seemed to have a little more assertive flavor than chicken. I used some mole I had made and frozen and then used Dona Maria to stretch it to serve 8.

    I was pleasantly surprised to see that my Kroger is now stocking 4 different moles and picked up a jar of the pepian yesterday.

    Any suggestions for that?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Candy

      Candy, actually the perfered poultry of the Yucatan is actually Turkey! :) We have Turkey Enchiladas and other mole type dishes all the time! :)

      Pipian is a little more delicate of Mole. It can taste a bit too nutty if cooked for a long time, so definatly take a little more care when cooking up the sauce.

      Whenever I used the Pipian, I make Papazules. Which is a Yucatecan Boiled Egg Enchilada. Prepared pretty much the same as above, except with sliced up pieces of Hard Boiled Egg instead of the Chicken! In fact, I should note that the Hard Boiled Egg and Veggie Broth can also be used with any of the moles for a Vegetarian Style Enchilada. :)


      1. re: Dommy!

        Hard cooked egg enchiladas. Very interesting. I'll have to give it a try. I am from Douglas, Az. which is on the border of Sonora and that is the cooking style I learned. It is nice to branch out and try new things. A distant cousin in El Paso said that they all use the Dona Maria sauces too. I have made my own but now that I have and know how to do it, I dont mind using the prepared bases.

    2. I saw your mention of "Dona Maria and a can of Swanson's" yesterday and got all giggly: "Gee whillickers, Miss Dommy, you mean I've been cooking authentic Mexican all this time?" I didn't have your method, though - I've always just gone by the ratio given on the label and mixed the paste and broth in a measuring cup, but I like your way a lot better. Something else I like to do, though, is to add some powdered chile and a big soup spoon of crunchy peanut butter (no allergies in this house!), which I think adds a little depth and richness.

      We've always just had (usually chicken) mole and rice, me liking it all mixed up and Tania preferring two separate piles. I am gonna do those enchiladas now. Maybe after we go to Guelaguetza, and I'll get some of their paste. Thanks!

      4 Replies
      1. re: Will Owen

        Guelagetza's paste is GREAT!! Although it's hilarious when you open it! They pack it in 10 million little baggies because it's quite oily and they don't want it leaking all over the place...

        Anyway, the Guelagetza mole will will really benefit from slowly making the sauce. I tried the 1-4 Dona Maria ratio with it once, and it came out a bit too watery. Plus, cooking the starter paste in all that luscious chile oil will really bring out the spiciness of the chiles they use... Hmmm... Now, I can't wait to head there myself! :)


        1. re: Will Owen

          Hey Will, I've been using Guelaguetza's mole negro paste for about 5 years now. My family expects it as a Xmas Eve tradition. The funny part is that at the restaurant, they told me to add 1 small can of tomato sauce along with it. The manager said that is what they do in their kitchen. Insteresting, huh.
          The container runs about $6. I use roasted turkey pieces instead of chicken. I make the broth from scratch and use almost a quart...depending on the density of the paste. Guelaguetza rocks


          1. re: Will Owen

            What is this stuff and how/where do I get it? Thanks.

            1. re: Tom Hall

              Keep forgetting this is a nationwide message board, sorry. Guelaguetza is a Oaxacan restaurant in LA, justly famous for its different mole sauces and dishes, and (as Dommy mentioned) they also sell the base for their mole negro. I was expressing my intention of picking up some of that next time we're down there.

              Mole paste in jars, the kind Dommy was originally talking about, is available in supermarkets just about anywhere that has a significant Latino population. I used to get it regularly in Nashville. The commonest brands are Dona Maria and Rogelio Bueno, both good.

          2. I enjoyed reading your post! Very lovingly written...I could picture you cooking. I've never used the Dona Maria, but I will now, and I'll follow your instructions...made my mouth water!

            1. hey great post!
              I would never have considered the commercial jars in the USA . . . but now that my mole poblano stash from the Mercado San Juan in DF is long gone . . .

              I love tasting the paste at the markets - I was taught that if it was sweet, they were trying to hide poor quality ingredients!

              1. Dommy, I couldn't resist asking and what a great post! Like Will I spotted the reference to Swansons and Dona Rosa and thought you'd have some unique personalized touches to add. Great info about assembling and garnish. Thanks for the chow lesson and I'm now going to get my mole tasting stick ready for action!

                1 Reply
                1. re: petradish

                  Arghhh...I meant to write Dona Maria.

                2. Ole for Mole! That's what I say...heh! Your post is great...when I first moved to Florida, a next-door neighbor from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas turned us on to mole...Ms. Vazquez recommended the mole in glass jars in the stores here, too! Mole Bueno, I believe it's called...dark, thick paste that is added to the chicken broth (that's how she told me to do it, anyway) and then add in your shredded chicken meat. She liked serving it with rice and beans also on the side. When I recently visited Immokalee (an agricultural town nearby) with a church group, lunch was provided by the farm workers we were helping and the lunch was chicken mole!

                  1. That's what my wife's family uses too. Her mom, as a shortcut, just uses the water that she boiled the chicken in as the broth for the sauce. Then all the shredded chicken goes into the mole and it's served; they never make enchiladas with mole, it's just served on it's own with tortillas, beans, rice, etc. on the side.

                    The way I prefer to make it is to brown some bone-in chicken pieces in a large saute pan and make the mole sauce like you described. I remove the chicken from the pan, add the mole and scrape the pan to get all the brown bits into the sauce, then add the chicken pieces back in the sauce. I then braise in an oven at low heat, about 300F, for about a half hour. The chicken becomes infused with the mole sauce and is fall-off-the-bone tender. The Dona Maria pipian sauce is especially good with this approach.


                    1. Dommy- looking for some Pipian powder that I used to get in small tins, I asked the proprietor of a small new Mexican market here if he'd seen it. No, he said, but I'll show you what my mom uses. He led me to a white plastic pint tub of Mole Rojo Tecampana brand, I think. It's "made by Vianney Sanchez Bahena, Continuacion de Allende No. 5 Teloloapan Gro." Not cheap, it's about $7.00, but very concentrated and I like it better than the Dona Maria that I've tried. It's so good cooked up! (&I think there's a picture of a turkey on the front logo!)

                      I've made mole rojo with chicken twice in the last couple of weeks. My husband really likes it! I use the saute onion/garlic/chicken parts/ deglaze pan/ add paste and broth/ method. I wish there were more types to chose from. You are lucky to have your popsickle stick tastings!

                      Thanks for sharing this treat....I was gonna post about this paste and you've done it for me! This would be an excellent way to doll up some leftover turkey....and I love your idea to use it as an enchilada-napping sauce!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: toodie jane

                        Isn't pipian ground pumpkin seeds (pepitas)?
                        Or am i getting confused on one type of green mole . . .

                        1. re: pitu

                          Yup, what helps give Pipian it's green color is the squash seeds (Not it's always pumpkin though). It's tends to be a bit much more nutty and delicate than other moles.


                      2. Had this in a restaurant, not sure of the region of origin...it was easy to make at home
                        fried green plantains in mole!

                        Your post made me remember it for a vegetarian pot luck holiday thing coming up . . .

                        You slice up green plantanos 1/2" diagonal slices and fry. You take them out, smash and fry them again. (I suppose you could boil them - whole - if you wanted to avoid the frying.)
                        make the mole with vegetable broth, tomato, onions, garlic etc

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: pitu

                          In Cuban cooking, when you fry the plantains, smash them and then fry them again they're called tostones.