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Quick Chicken Mole

Photo: Annabelle Breakey; Styling: Randy Mon
Total time 30 mins
Yield Serves 4 to 6
A traditional Mexican mole sauce takes hours, but we tinkered with it and came up with a version that achieves similarly deep flavors in a fraction of the time.


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 medium garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon New Mexico chile powder* (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon anise seeds
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup tomato purée
  • 1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 pounds boned, skinned chicken thighs
  • 1/2 to 1 serrano chile, minced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  • Lime wedges

Nutrition Information

  • calories 226
  • caloriesfromfat 44 %
  • protein 24 g
  • fat 11 g
  • satfat 2.5 g
  • carbohydrate 8.1 g
  • fiber 1.8 g
  • sodium 318 mg
  • cholesterol 92 mg

How to Make It

  1. Heat a grill to high (450° to 550°). Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in spices, sesame seeds, and almonds and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in tomato purée, broth, and chocolate chips.

  2. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring often, until flavors develop and sauce thickens and darkens slightly, about 10 minutes. Purée in a blender with 1/2 cup water until smooth, about 30 seconds.

  3. Pour 1 cup mole sauce over chicken in a medium bowl and toss to coat.

  4. Grill chicken, turning once, until browned, about 8 minutes. Set chicken on a serving plate and sprinkle with minced chile and cilantro leaves. Serve with remaining mole sauce and lime wedges.

  5. *Fruity, mild New Mexico chile powder is available at well-stocked grocery stores and Latino markets, but if you can't find it, you can leave it out and still have a flavorful dish.