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Rick Bayless’s Black Mole with Chicken

Posted on | September 1, 2009 | 11 Comments

After watching Rick Bayless win the title of Top Chef Master, I wanted to try making that black mole that helped him win! Unfortunately, Vegas isn’t exactly close to Chicago, and he doesn’t have a recipe for it.. yet. But I did find an older recipe for black mole in one of his cookbooks, so off we went to the Mariana’s Supermarket to get the ingredients for our weekend project. I altered the recipe slightly, but the end result was fantastic. Here’s what we ended up with:

11 medium dried mulato chiles
6 medium dried California chiles
6 medium dried pasilla chiles
1 dried chipotle chile
1 torn corn tortilla
2 quarter inch slices of white onion
4 unpeeled garlic cloves
2 c lard
1/2 c sesame seeds
1/4 c pecan halves
1/4 c unskinned peanuts
10 c chicken broth
1 lb chopped green tomatoes
2-3 chopped medium tomatillos
2 slices dark toasted bread
1/4 t ground cloves
1/2 t ground black pepper
1/2 t cinnamon
1 t oregano
1/2 t dried thyme
1/2 ripe banana
1/2 c chopped Mexican chocolate
2-3 avocado leaves
2 T salt
1/2 c sugar
4 large chicken breasts

  • Pull and discard stems from chiles, separate the seeds from the chiles. Although the chiles are all pretty mild, wearing gloves is HIGHLY recommended in this step!


  • In an ungreased skillet, add the torn tortilla to the seeds and burn to a charcoal black, about 15 minutes on medium heat. Surprisingly, there wasn’t too much smoke during this step.


  • Rinse the seed/tortilla mix in a fine mesh strainer for 30 seconds, then transfer to a blender.
  • Lay the onion and garlic on a piece of aluminum foil in an ungreased skillet, roast until soft and dark (around 15 minutes) then peel the garlic.


  • Return the skillet to medium heat, add 2 c lard, then fry the chiles a couple at a time until toasted (crisp but not burnt). Be sure to turn your vent on, open any windows, etc. I’m shocked our fire alarm didn’t go off during this step!


  • Drain the chiles, them rehydrate them in a large bowl for 30 minutes. Reserve the liquid, which you’ll use later.
  • Spread the sesame seeds onto a baking sheet, and the pecans, peanuts, and almonds onto another sheet, and roast both in the oven at 350 degrees until dark brown (about 25 minutes).


  • Add the nuts/seeds to the blender with 1 1/2 c chicken broth, puree, then transfer to a bowl. In fact, get several bowls out, because you’re going to need them in the next few steps!


  • Without rinsing the blender, add the tomatoes and tomatillos plus 1/2 c broth and puree, then transfer to a bowl.
  • Without rinsing the blender, add the onion, garlic, bread, spices, banana, and 3/4 c broth and puree, then transfer to a bowl.
  • Without rinsing the blender, add half the chiles with 1/2 c of the soaking liquid, puree, then transfer to a bowl. Repeat with remaining chiles and liquid.
  • In a large pot, heat 3 T of lard in medium high heat. Add tomato puree and stir/scrape until reduced and dark.
  • Add the nut puree and stir/scrape until reduced and dark.
  • Add the banana puree and stir/scrape until dark.
  • Add the chile puree and reduce over medium low heat until thick and black, about 30 minutes.
  • Stir in remaining 7 c broth, chocolate, and avocado leaves. Partially cover, and simmer for an hour.
  • Season with salt and sugar, remove avocado leaves
  • In batches in a loosely covered blender, puree the sauce, then pass through a medium mesh strainer.


  • After this step, we let the mole sauce sit in the refrigerator overnight to stew a bit.
  • Return the mole to the same pot and reheat to a simmer. Add chicken, and simmer partially covered 25-30 minutes.




11 Responses to “Rick Bayless’s Black Mole with Chicken”

  1. atdleft
    September 2nd, 2009 @ 11:11 am

    YUM! Thanks, Kristi. I want to try this recipe as soon as I’m back in town. I’ll probably substitute tofu or some type of “chik’n” for the chicken, adn I’m wondering which vegetables would do well in the mole. Oh, the ideas that are popping in my head!

    And btw, I’ll also have to remember to give a full run-down of my latest culinary adventures in Orange County when I’m back in Las Vegas.

  2. atdleft
    September 2nd, 2009 @ 11:13 am

    Oh, and what would be a good vegetarian/vegan substitute for lard?

  3. Kristi
    September 2nd, 2009 @ 6:06 pm

    You can use vegetable oil in place of lard, and I’m assuming vegetable broth would work in place of the chicken broth. Let me know how it comes out!

    Can’t wait to hear about your culinary adventures in OC…


  4. atdleft
    September 2nd, 2009 @ 8:33 pm

    Oh yes, I use vegetable broth all the time. I usually don’t work with vegetable oil, but I can see why that would be a good choice for this recipe. Thanks again for the good ideas.

    And btw, I just have to offer this quick comment on “The Great Pizza Wars of The West”. As much as I enjoyed Mozza in LA, I was even more impressed with Pizzeria Ortica here in OC! The crust alone is delectably crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, and the quality toppings just add to that unique experience of a “David Myers Pizza”. However, I still don’t think it beats the fresh simplicity of Settebello back home in Henderson… But it’s still pretty close to a toss-up.

  5. Bret Spencer
    September 3rd, 2009 @ 10:03 am

    The recipe for Rick’s Black Mole is available. It was published in one of his early cookbooks. I beleive it was called Rick Bayless: Mexican Kitchen. And it’s listed as Oaxacan Mole.

  6. Kristi
    September 3rd, 2009 @ 12:56 pm

    Bret: The Oaxacan Mole recipe you’re talking about is the one I have listed in this blog. I believe he’s since tweaked this recipe. When asked recently if he’d post the mole recipe that helped him win Top Chef Masters, he replied:

    “I won’t do it because it’s so hard to describe. It’s one of the few recipes that you actually have to have someone teach you. It doesn’t work in print. You have to toast everything to this level of darkness where it looks like it’s burnt but it’s not. And that’s the trick to it. It literally took me 20 years to perfect the recipe for myself.”

    I’m hoping that the recipe I used was at least close! Maybe I’ll still have to take that trip to Chicago, to be sure… =D

  7. atdleft
    September 12th, 2009 @ 7:15 pm

    Heh. It looks like Bravo finally published Chef Bayless’ winning recipe. It doesn’t look like you missed all that much, except for the plantain tamal and grilled nopales. Now I REALLY want to try this recipe (and just swap the chicken for something else).

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  11. Ebon Talifarro
    September 17th, 2014 @ 10:26 pm

    Ebon Talifarro…

    Rick Bayless’s Black Mole with Chicken : Vegas Musings…

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