This slow cooker chicken mole is a delicious way to get all the great flavor of the traditional Mexican favorite without the effort. Great with rice or tortillas.
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I mentioned recently when I shared my carnitas with tomatillo salsa verde that I spent a month volunteering in Mexico after university. It was a trip that really opened my eyes to Mexican food, which I explored even more when I went back a few years later. As well as me discovering a love of salsa verde, I also discovered chicken mole.
A wonderful combination of spicy chili, nutiness, and a smooth gentle sweet undertone from chocolate, it's still one of my favorite Mexican dishes. With this month's Foodie Extravaganza theme being chocolate, it seemed the perfect excuse to give it a try.
Mole sauce is one that has a bit of a reputation for using half your kitchen shelf and taking forever. As a result, chicken mole has tended to be one I'll go for if we're at a good Mexican restaurant as I have never had the courage to make it myself.
Then I recently thought, since I'm getting a little more creative with using the slow cooker for dishes like lamb rogan josh, why not give chicken mole a try in the slow cooker? Of course it turns out, I'm not the first to have that idea, but I did decide to do my own take on it.
The key elements of mole
Mole has a few variations, depending on what region you are in, but there are a few things that are relatively consistent. Central to a good mole sauce is a mix of chilis, some good chocolate, a few spices and a one or two things to give some nuttiness - usually almonds, sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds.
Usually, everything is gradually toasted then combined and it all takes some time.
Making slow cooker chicken mole
Rather than go through that slightly labor-of-love process, in this version you blend all the sauce ingredients and let the slow cooker bring out and marry the flavors. For some reason, pretty much all slow cooker chicken mole recipes I found used tomatoes yet none of the more traditional recipes did.
Tomatillos are more typical, so I decided to use some in my slow cooker chicken mole as well. I've still used a relatively broad range of ingredients to get that distinctive depth of flavor, but it's all easy to throw together. Blend it up, pour it over the chicken and leave it to cook.
You can serve this slow cooker mole chicken in a variety of ways - over rice, as a filling for tacos or you could even have it with bread. However you serve it, you don't want to miss out on the delicious sauce. This version has a bit of spice but not too much - if you want to make it spicier, just add more chilis.
I'm so glad I decided to make this slow cooker chicken mole as it has meant we can enjoy an old favorite without it taking as much effort. It's maybe not exactly the same as a 'proper' version, but it's a pretty close match and is definitely delicious. And without too much prep needed, it's going to be back on our menu again soon. I hope you'll add it to yours; it's one you really need to try!
Try these other slow cooker mains:
- Pork carnitas with tomatillo salsa verde
- Banh mi pork
- Beef massaman curry
- Plus get more mains recipes and Mexican recipes in the archives.
Slow cooker chicken mole
- 2 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs 900g
- 3 tomatillos (approx 5oz/140g)
- 1 ½ oz bittersweet chocolate 45g (60% cacao or more)
- 1 onion small-medium
- 3 tsp garlic (3 large cloves)
- 2-3 dried California chilis or other relatively mild chilis eg ancho
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo or 2 if smaller, plus 2tsp adobo sauce
- ½ cup light stock 120ml
- ¼ cup raisins 40g
- ¼ cup ground almonds 25g (or flaked)
- ¼ cup toasted sesame seeds 4tbsp/30g
- 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds 12g (optional)
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground cloves or allspice
- Roughly chop the chicken into large bite-sized pieces.
- Peel the skin from the tomatillos and cut them in half. Break up the chocolate into chunks and peel and roughly chop the onions and garlic.
- Remove the stems from the dry chilis, tip out the seeds then break them into pieces.
- Place all of the ingredients apart from the chicken in a blender and blend until it forms a paste.
- Put the chicken pieces in a slow cooker, pour over the sauce and mix it through.
- Turn on low and cook for approx 5 hours.
- Serve either as it is or shred up the chicken if you prefer. Enjoy with rice, in tacos or as you prefer.
- (Note - you can buy ready toasted sesame seeds, often with Chinese foods. If you can't find then you can lightly toast under broiler/grill or in a dry pan)
See some of my favorite cooking tools and ingredients in the Caroline's Cooking Amazon store.
See all the other chocolate-inspired recipes being shared for today's Foodie Extravaganza:
- Holy Mole Pork Stew from Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Kahlua Chocolate Cake from Making Miracles
- Queen Anne Squares from Tara's Multicultural Table
- Hot Fudge Cheesecake Brownies from Cookaholic Wife
- Chocolate Blintzes from Sew You Think You Can Cook
- Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars from A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Simple Chocolate Cake from Passion Kneaded
- Chocolate Rugelach from Hardly a Goddess
- Marshmallow Turtle Bars from Food Lust People Love
- Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins from Not Too Shabby Gabby
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