Red mole enchiladas really show off the great flavor of Oaxacan mole sauce, which is a sauce made with a blend of chiles, tomato (or tomatillos), sugar, spices and nuts or seeds. Mole is usually a complex sauce to make with a lot of individual ingredients (some as many as 28!), which ore often toasted or roasted separately and combined in various stages. But this recipe is a simpler version, and is based on an original recipe from chef Rick Bayless, who is well known for his Mexican cooking and recipes.
If you use store bought roast chicken, you can make red mole enchiladas on a weeknight. And because each enchilada is prepared separately, rather than in a large baking dish, you can make this dish for as few as 2 people! Of course you can make it for more as well. I’ve written the recipe to serve 2, so simply double it for 4 and so on.
This recipe uses dried ancho and guajillo chiles, but you could also use New Mexican chiles or other types as well.
Time to prepare: About 90 minutes
3 medium dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
2 medium dried guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
1 medium tomato, ripe
2 unpeeled whole garlic cloves,
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tsp dried oregano, preferably Mexican
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp semi-sweet chocolate, preferably Mexican, coarsely chopped
2 cups chicken broth (divided use)
1 Tbsp vegetable or olive oil
About 1 tsp salt
About 1/2 tsp sugar
4 warm corn tortillas
1 to 1 1/2 cups cooked, coarsely shredded, boneless chicken
thinly sliced white onion, Cotija cheese and cilantro leaves for garnish
Heat a dry (no oil), heavy skillet over medium heat. When hot, toast the chiles a few at a time: lay the chiles on the hot surface, press flat for a few seconds with a metal spatula (until they start to crackle, even send up a faint wisp of smoke), then flip and press down to toast the other side. Be very careful not to burn the chiles or they will make your mole very bitter. Remove the toasted chiles to a medium-size bowl, cover the chiles with hot water and let rehydrate 30 minutes, stirring frequently to ensure even soaking. Drain and discard the water.
While the chiles are soaking, place a piece of aluminum foil over half of your skillet, and lay the tomato on it; on the uncovered part, place the garlic cloves. Roast, turning everything occasionally, until blackened in spots and soft, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool. Toast the sesame seeds in the same hot pan for about a minute, until they brown slightly. Scrape the sesame seeds into a blender. Peel off the tomato and garlic skins and add them to the blender. Add the chiles, cinnamon, oregano, pepper, chocolate and 1 cup of the broth. Blend to a smooth puree, then press through a medium-mesh strainer into a bowl.
Heat the oil in a heavy, medium-size saucepan over medium-high. When hot enough to make a drop of the puree sizzle fiercely, add the puree all at once and stir for several minutes as it sears and thickens. Stir in another cup of the broth, partially cover and simmer for about 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally. The mixture should thicken and darken in color. Taste and season highly with the salt, usually about 1 tsp, and the sugar.
In your dry skillet, you will warm the tortillas for about 30-45 seconds per side over medium heat, then assemble your enchiladas directly on dinner plates.
In a second medium skillet or sauce pan, place all the shredded chicken meat and add half the sauce. Stir to mix well and heat over medium-low heat until warmed through. Warm a tortilla in the dry skillet, place on a dinner plate, scoop in 1/4 of the chicken mixture and roll the tortilla, ending up with seam side down. Do the same for a second enchilada next to the first on the same plate. Repeat the procedure for the last two tortillas on a second plate.
To serve the enchiladas, spoon a generous amount of sauce over the tortillas. Garnish the red mole enchiladas with the sliced white onion, Cotija cheese and cilantro leaves. You might also want to add crema and/or sliced avocado.
I like to serve my red mole enchiladas with a side of spiced pinto beans (I sauté a bit of garlic and onion in olive oil, add a drained can of pinto beans, mix in salt, chipotle pepper and a tiny bit of lime juice.
Serve and enjoy!