Chicken Mole! Sumptuous, Complex, Mild and Smoky with Depth

The James Bond of Mexican Food

If James Bond was a Mexican dish, he would be a chicken mole for sure! Smooth and Smoky!

If you are worried about the chocolate aspect, this does not taste of chocolate at all. It just adds that smoothness and depth, ancho chilli gives smokiness, while the whole complexity of flavour remains mild. Its almost a sophisticated chilli, which if you like chilli, you should like this. Just a question of whether you prefer your margharita shaken or stirred?

WINE NOTE: Usually Mexican beer or margharitas are consumed with this kind of food, but I recommend a Chilean Merlot to go with this, as it has the smooth complex plummy flavour with a hint of chocolate, so blends perfectly with this dish!

Chicken mole with coriander rice

Serves 6

Preparation and cooking times

Prep 30 mins

Cook 2 hrs


  • 2 ancho chillies (see tip, below)
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 8 bone-in chicken thighs skins removed
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1½ tsp cinnamon
  • 3 garlic chopped
  • 1 3/4oz / 50g raisins
  • 2 tbsp smooth peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp chipotle paste
  • 14oz / 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1oz / 25g dark chocolate (look for one with at least 70% cocoa solids)
  • 1 small red onion, sliced into rings
  • juice 1 lime, plus wedges to serve (optional)
  • 1/4 pint / 150ml pot soured cream


  • 1lb 600g long grain rice
  • large bunch coriander , finely chopped
  • zest 2 limes and juice of 1                                       
  1. Put the chillies in a bowl and add enough boiling water to cover. Leave for 20 mins until rehydrated.
  2. Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole dish, season the chicken, then brown on all sides. You may have to do this in batches so you don’t overcrowd the dish. Remove to a plate. Add the onions to the dish and cook for 5 mins until softened. Add the spices and cook for 1 min until aromatic.
  3. Remove the chillies from their soaking liquid, reserving the liquid, and discard the stalks and seeds. Put in a food processor with 4 tbsp of the soaking liquid (reserve the rest for later in the recipe), the garlic and raisins. Whizz to a paste, then tip into the dish. Add the peanut butter, chipotle paste, tomatoes and 14 fluid oz / 400ml water (fill up the tomato can and swirl to get all the tomato bits out). Return the chicken to the dish and season. Cover with a lid and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 hr.
  4. Remove the chicken pieces to a plate. Using 2 forks, shred the meat and discard the bones. Return the chicken to the sauce, add the chocolate and continue cooking, uncovered, for 30 mins more. If the sauce looks like it’s getting a little too thick, add some of the chilli soaking liquid or some water.
  5. Cook the rice following pack instructions. Meanwhile, put the red onion in a small bowl. Add the lime juice and a pinch of salt. Leave to pickle until ready to serve. When the rice is cooked, add the coriander and lime zest and juice, and fluff up with a fork. Remove the mole from the heat, scatter with the pickled red onion and serve alongside the rice, with soured cream and lime wedges, if you like.


If you can’t find anchos, grill red peppers until they’re really blackened and soft. Cool them, then peel and use as needed in the recipe, adding 1 tsp smoked paprika and a little extra chipotle to re-create the sweet, smoky flavour.


Ancho is the name given to the dried poblano pepper, which is grown in South America and used in its dried form to flavour sauces and stews. Ancho chillies are large, with dark brown or black skins and a sweet, raisin-like flavour. They have a medium spice.


690 kcalories, protein 28.0g, carbohydrate 93.0g, fat 22.0 g, saturated fat 5.0g, fibre 3.0g, sugar 13.0g, salt 0.5 g