Mexican Chicken Mole Stew


  • 3 Tbsp oil (olive or other cooking oil)  
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 4 dried chillies
  • 1/4 tsp each dried basil, oregano, cumin seeds (or 1 Tbsp fresh of each)
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh coriander,leaves and stalks
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2-3cm stick cinnamon
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes (approx. 400g)
  • 1 cup (250ml) chicken stock
  • 8 chicken pieces
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 40g bittersweet, dark chocolate
  • cooked rice and soft tortillas, to serve


The original version of this classic Mexican dish has an ingredient list as long as your arm. This version of Chicken Mole is a delicious shortcut, but still contains the two absolute requirements: chocolate and chilli.

Heat 1 Tbsp of the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and add the garlic cloves, skin and all. Toast for 10 minutes until the skins begin to blacken in places and the garlic has begun to soften. Remove from the heat.

In a mortar and pestle or food processor, blend the garlic, chillies, basil, oregano, cumin seeds and coriander and finally add the oil and toasted garlic from the saucepan. Blend together and if there are any large garlic skins that are easy to pick out then do so, otherwise ignore them.

Heat remaining 2 Tbsp oil in the saucepan and cook the onions on a gentle heat until they are softened. Increase the heat to medium, add the blended spices and cook for 3 - 5 minutes until the onions begin to brown and the spices give up their aromas. Add the cinnamon stick, tomatoes and chicken stock. Cook the sauce on a vigorous simmer for 10 minutes until it thickens. Remove cinnamon stick and blend to smooth before returning sauce to the saucepan.

Add chicken pieces, salt and pepper, cover and bring to a simmer and cook for a further 30 - 40 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Add more stock (or water) if the sauce thickens too much. Add the chocolate and stir through.

Before serving, check seasoning and add additional salt, pepper or chilli as desired. Serve with rice and soft tortillas garnished with fresh coriander.