Mole poblano combines ingredients like chiles, nuts, spices, and a touch of chocolate. The technique of cooking everything in succession forms a complex aroma, deep red-brown hue, and rich, earthy flavor profile. It’s a recipe that must be tried at least once!
First, stem and seed the chiles. Reserve 1 teaspoon of seeds in a bowl. Tear the chiles into large chunks, then set aside.
Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-low, then add in chile seeds, sesame seeds, broken cinnamon stick, star anise pod, coriander seeds, and cloves. Toast, stirring frequently, until lightly browned and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to a spice grinder or high-speed blender if you have one. Add in the peppercorns, grind into a fine powder, then set aside (transfer into your blender if you've used a spice grinder).
Heat approximately ½ – ¾ cup of neutral oil in a large stockpot until a deep-fry thermometer reaches 350°F. Fry one type of chile at a time until slightly darkened and fragrant. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chiles to a paper towel-lined dish.
Next, fry the almonds until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes. Transfer to the same paper towel-lined dish as the chiles. Continue this process of frying each individual ingredient until golden brown. Fry the peanuts next, then the pumpkin seeds, raisins, bay leaves, corn tortilla, and bolillo bread.
Next, fry the garlic for about 30 seconds, then transfer to another bowl. Fry the onions for about 2-3 minutes. Slice the plantain and fry for about 2-3 minutes. Transfer to the bowl. Lastly, fry the tomatoes for about 2 minutes.
Working in small batches, blend some ingredients from the dish of chiles and nuts, along with the spices and a little vegetable broth. Strain the mixture back into the pot, pushing through as much sauce as possible.
Repeat this blending and straining process with the remaining chile mixture, garlic, onions, plantains, and tomatoes, using more vegetable broth as needed to help the ingredients move.
Heat the pot of mole over low-medium and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture starts to thicken. Mix in the Mexican chocolate, turn the heat down to low, and simmer for 1 hour. Season with salt and sugar to taste.