Oaxacan-style Mole Sauce

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As I start work on Volume 2 of my cookbook series, I’m making a lot of Mexican sauces and salsas. I’ve always love mole sauce, so I decided to make it from scratch rather than buy it jarred. It was a lot of work—about 2 hours from start to finish—and my kitchen was a disaster after. But, it was well worth the effort. Very yummy!

Recipe: Oaxacan-style Mole Sauce

Mole Sauce

Summary: traditional Mexican sauce for enchiladas, entrees, and more.

Ancho Peppers for Mole Sauce


  • 12 ounces whole dried ancho chiles
  • 1 to 2 dried chipotle peppers
  • Water
  • 6 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon anise seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 4 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 6 whole Italian plum tomatoes
  • 4 cups venison stock
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 day-old corn tortilla, quartered
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 1/2 ounces Mexican chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 whole cloves


  1. Break stems off chiles, remove seeds, and rinse. Toast the chiles in a heavy skillet until fragrant, turning them frequently. Transfer the chiles to a large saucepan and cover with water. Simmer over medium heat for about 30 minutes until softened.
  2. While the chiles simmer, toast the sesame seeds over medium heat in the skillet. Be careful that they don’t burn. When done, transfer to a blender.
  3. Toast the anise and cumin seeds in the skillet until fragrant and add them to the blender.
  4. Pour 1 tablespoon of the oil into the warm skillet and stir in the nuts. Sauté until lightly colored and fragrant, then add the nuts to the blender.
  5. Wipe out the skillet and increase the heat to medium-high. Scatter the garlic cloves in the skillet, turning the cloves occasionally so that they soften and darken on all sides. Remove and set aside.
  6. Add the tomatoes to the skillet, turning occasionally as they soften and darken and the skins split. Remove set aside.
  7. Remove the skins from the garlic and tomatoes and add both to the blender.
  8. Add 1 cup of the stock to the blender and purée the mixture until the sauce becomes smooth, about 2 minutes (it will be a little grainy). Pour the sauce into a large bowl.
  9. Drain the chiles lightly from their cooking liquid, reserving 1/2 cup of the liquid. Place the chiles and the reserved liquid in the blender and purée. Pour the chiles into the bowl with the tomato sauce.
  10. Add 1 more cup of stock to the blender with the remaining ingredients and purée until smooth (it will be little grainy). Pour it into the bowl and stir everything together.
  11. Add the remaining oil to a large sauce pan, warming it over the medium heat. Spoon in the sauce and fry it for about 10 minutes, stirring up from the bottom constantly. Mix in the remaining stock, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes.

Quick Notes

This sauce freezes well, and will last for several months.

Cooking time (duration): 2 hours

Culinary tradition: Mexican

Microformatting by hRecipe.

One Comment on “Oaxacan-style Mole Sauce

  1. Pingback: Venison Mole Chili

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