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Mexican Mole Sauce

Adapted from this recipe from Food Network


This is a “two” step recipe.  The first is to make the mole paste which involves roasting, charring, and toasting various ingredients, blending them all together in a food processor, then simmering for an hour.  The second step is about a 5 minute process of mixing the mole paste with a few other ingredients to make the sauce.  It’s a time investment up front that has a huge flavor pay-off.

This sauce can be used to add additional flavor dimensions in chili or tortilla soup by just adding a cup to your existing recipe, or as more of a starring role in a chicken mole dish like this one.


Mole Paste:
2 large tomatoes
1 medium onion, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
10 cloves garlic, unpeeled
15 ancho chiles, stems removed and seeded (reserve seeds)
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 stick cinnamon
4 whole cloves
1/4 cup fresh Mexican oregano leaves, or 2 teaspoons dried
1/4 cup fresh thyme leaves, or 2 teaspoons dried
1/4 cup roasted almonds
1/4 cup shelled roasted (unsalted) peanuts
1/4 cup raisins 
1 cup chicken stock, hot
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 ounces Mexican chocolate, chopped

Finished Mole Sauce:
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 (14-ounce) can tomato puree
1 cup mole paste 
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 ounce Mexican chocolate, chopped


You will also need:

Baking sheet
Parchment paper
Large bowl & hot water
Food processor
Sauce pan
1 cup containers for freezing



To make the mole paste, preheat the broiler to 500 degrees F

Place tomatoes, onion, and garlic cloves on a parchment lined baking sheet and broil until slightly caramelized around the edges, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer the garlic to a small plate to cool. Turn the tomatoes and onions so that the uncooked sides are up. Return to the broiler until slightly caramelized on the second side, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

In a large skillet over high heat, toast the chiles on all sides until lightly browned and fragrant, just for a couple of minutes. Do not allow to burn. Transfer to a medium bowl, cover with hot water and allow to sit until softened, about 30 minutes. In the same skillet, combine the sesame seeds and reserved chile seeds and toast until light brown and fragrant. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Add the peppercorns, cinnamon stick, cloves, oregano and thyme to the hot skillet and "toast" for a few seconds, just until their perfume is released. Transfer to the bowl with the sesame seeds.

When cool enough to handle, peel the garlic cloves and add these, along with the charred tomatoes and onion, to the bowl of a food processor. Add the seeds and spices. Drain the liquid off of the chiles and add these to the processor as well as the roasted nuts and raisins, and 1 cup of chicken stock.  Puree the mixture until very smooth and thick, scraping down the sides of the blender frequently.

In a large deep pot, heat 3 tablespoons of the vegetable oil until very hot. Carefully pour the pureed mixture into the pot (be careful - it will splatter) and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat so that the mixture simmers, and add 4 ounces of chopped chocolate to the pot. Cover and cook, stirring frequently, for about 1 hour, or until the mole paste is very thick and flavorful. At this point you should have about 3 1/2 cups of mole paste.

You can leave the paste rough with all the seeds and pieces, or you can strain it through a fine mesh strainer.  I strain about half of the paste and mix it back in with the rough.  This gives a nice in-between texture to the finished sauce.

You will use 1 cup to make the Mole sauce  Reserve the remaining paste for another use.

(The mole paste will keep for at least 6 months, refrigerated, or up to 1 year if frozen.  I freeze in 1 cup containers for ease of thawing for use.)

To make the sauce, heat the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until very hot. Add the tomato puree and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add 1 cup mole paste and the remaining 1 to 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock and stir to combine well. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the mixture is a nice sauce consistency. Add the remaining 1/2-ounce of Mexican chocolate and the salt and cook another 2 minutes, or until the chocolate is melted and the sauce is thick, smooth and flavorful.



You start with the “rough” mole paste. 


Place a good spoonful into a fine mesh strainer placed over a bowl.  100_7955


With a rubber/silicone spatula, press the paste through the mesh strainer until all that is left is a dry-ish mixture of the seeds and solids from the paste.



In the bowl underneath, you will find a smooth deep redish-brown paste.


I go through this process with about half of the “rough” paste and mix the “smooth” paste back into the remaining “rough” paste.

The resulting sauce has just a little texture to it and seems pretty close to perfect.



Nana’s Buttermilk Pie

Few things speak to this Texan’s heart like pie. And one that truly takes me back to my childhood is my Nana’s buttermilk pie. I wrote a post about Buttermilk Pie on my main blog. You can read it here.

Buttermilk Pie Strawberries


3 eggs
1 ½ cups sugar
6 tablespoons (¾ stick) butter (melted)
¾ cup buttermilk
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

You will also need:

9” pie plate
1 unbaked pie crust (your favorite recipe)
Stand mixer


Preheat oven to 350 ºF.

Cream together eggs & sugar using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer. Drizzle in melted butter & mix well. Add buttermilk, salt and vanilla. Pour into an unbaked pie shell.

Bake @ 350 for about 40-45 minutes or until set. (The top will form a little bit of a crust, so it may be difficult to tell, but you do not want to over-bake. I would be hesitant to cook longer than the 45… maybe 46 minutes.)

Cool completely. It is best when made ahead of time and refrigerated to allow the custard to really set up. Serve either cold from the refrigerator or at a cool room temperature.

Now, with pictures:

Cream together eggs & sugar using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer.

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You want to drizzle in melted butter in case it is still hot. You don’t want to chance dumping it all in at once and curdling the eggs.


Add buttermilk, salt and vanilla.


Mix until just a little frothy… you want to see a few bubbles on top.


Pour into an unbaked pie shell.

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Bake @ 350 for about 40-45 minutes or until set. (The top will form a little bit of a crust, so it may be difficult to tell, but you do not want to over-bake. I would be hesitant to cook longer than the 45… maybe 46 minutes.)

Buttermilk Pie Whole

Refrigerate before slicing and serving for best results.

Buttermilk Pie Slice

For very clean-cut pieces, cut when cold out of the refrigerator. At room temp, the crust on top will shred just a little (see the picture with strawberries at the top of this post) and the custard might loosen up a little. It still tastes wonderful, it just gives the piece of pie a little more rugged look.


  • Serve with some fresh macerated berries.
  • Add 1/8 teaspoon of ground nutmeg to the custard.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and/or 1 tablespoon of finely grated lemon zest to the custard.
  • Add 1/2 cup shredded coconut to the custard.

Tuscan (Inspired) Lamb Chop Skillet

This is one of my family's favorite "one dish wonder" type meals that I got out of one of those little cookbooks in the checkout line at the grocery store.  I have since put my own methods and spin on it.


4-8 lamb loin chops
Olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 19 ounce can white kidney (cannellini) beans; rinsed & drained
1 8 ounce can Italian style stewed tomatoes
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons snipped fresh rosemary

You will also need:
Large skillet with lid
Crusty bread for soppin' up the awesome sauce!!!

Trim a minimal amount of fat from chops and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large skillet. Cook chops in hot oil over medium heat until well seared and browned on all sides. Transfer to plate.


Pour the tomatoes out of the can into a separate bowl and cut them up if they are not diced. But do NOT drain them. Reserve all juice use in the dish.

Stir garlic into drippings in skillet & cook for just 30 seconds – 1 minute.


Pour in balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan, scraping up the browned bits off the bottom of the pan.  (Add less balsamic vinegar if it is too strong of a taste for you. I up the amount of balsamic because we really like the flavor of it in our house.)


Add cut up tomatoes and juice, beans and simmer briefly.


Reduce heat to low and add chops back in, coating them with the sauce. Sprinkle in the snipped rosemary on top of the chops and sauce. 


Cover and simmer for about 5 minutes.  The internal temperature of the lamb chops should read about 140F when they are done.  If you want to thicken up the sauce, remove the chops back over to a plate and turn up the heat  while pushing all the tomatoes and beans to the sides of the pan and allow the sauce in the middle to reduce just a little.  Return the chops to the skillet to serve.