Mole Sauce: Mole Verde

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Illustration by Anni Betts

This mole is thick and mild. Try it on cheese enchiladas, sweet potato enchiladas, breakfast eggs or burritos. For a tasty stew, add vegetables or cooked meat to sauce and heat together. MAKES A GENEROUS 1 1/2 QUARTS. 

• 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds, toasted
• 4 large fresh poblano peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded and cut into strips
• 3/4 pound tomatillos, roasted, husks removed, rinsed and drained
• 1 cup chopped onion
• 7 garlic cloves, peeled
• 1 cup fresh cilantro
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh epazote OR 1 generous teaspoon dried leaves, crumbled
• 3 tablespoons safflower or olive oil
• About 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth (plus extra, if necessary)
• 3 tablespoons masa harina
• About 1/2 teaspoon salt
• Freshly ground black pepper

1. Use a blender to make this mole in two batches. First, grind all of the pumpkin seeds in the blender, stopping to stir, as needed. If necessary, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of vegetable broth. Scrape ground seeds into a bowl and set aside.

2. Combine half of the fresh ingredients in the blender: 2 poblanos, half the tomatillos, 1/2 cup onion, 3 or 4 garlic cloves, 1/2 cup cilantro and half the epazote. Add 1/2 cup vegetable broth and puree, scraping the sides as necessary. Add puree to pumpkin seeds. Repeat the process with the other half of the ingredients, then add puree to the ground seeds and stir.

3. In a sauté pan, heat oil over medium heat. Carefully add puree (if it is hot it will sizzle), stir, then partially cover the pan. When sauce begins to simmer, reduce heat to medium-low and cook gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup broth to blender. Put masa harina in a small bowl, then pour broth and residue from blender over the masa. Stir with a fork until masa is smooth. Add masa to sauce, season with salt and pepper, and stir well. Partially cover pan and cook another 5 minutes or so. Taste for seasoning; adjust salt and pepper. If sauce seems too thick, add more broth.

This recipe first appeared in The Chile Pepper Book by Carolyn Dille and Susan Belsinger (Interweave Press, 1994).

Click here for the main article, Mole Sauce: The National Dish of Mexico.  

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