Mole is nothing if not a traditional Mexican dish. In fact, it is one of the most representative dishes of Mexico. Legend has it that nuns from a convent in the Mexican state of Puebla were having a hard time finding what to make for dinner one night when the Archbishop was due to visit. The nuns, not having very many options, started throwing things together and prayed that they would come up with something edible. Because chile is abundant in most regions in Mexico, several different types of chile and chocolate were used as the base of the concoction. Other ingredients included sesame seeds, peanuts and hard stale bread along with a list of about 20 other ingredients. They ground the ingredients and boiled the sauce for several hours. They cooked the only meat they had available, an old turkey, and topped it with the mole sauce. What the nuns came up with that faithful day was nothing short of a culinary miracle. However, like most modern foods, Mole has evolved and at least in Mexico there are many variations including sweet mole, green mole, hot mole, pipian (which is also mole), as well as mole prepared with other types of meat. Today, mole is prepared with chicken and served with a side of Spanish rice, pinto beans, corn or flour tortillas and tortilla chips.

Millions of people worldwide have at least heard of mole and it was surprising that here in the southwest, as close as we are to the border, many people are not familiar with it. Perhaps it’s because there aren’t many restaurants locally that serve this staple Mexican dish.

Mi Pueblito Mexican Food
1355 E. Idaho Ave.
Martin Bravo starts with Rogelio Bueno mole paste and then adds his own ingredients to improve the flavor. He uses spices that are not too heavy or over powering including fresh chicken broth and adds chunks of chicken. Mr. Bravo serves the mole with Spanish rice, corn or flour tortillas, and a lettuce and tomato garnish.

Habanero’s Mexican Restaurant
1275 S. Solano Dr.
Las Cruces, NM  88001
Alfredo Felix mole is the most unique as it is made completely from scratch. This delightful recipe consists of 18 ingredients including three types of chile, Mexican chocolate, sesame seeds, cinnamon, bay leaves, tomato, cumin, oregano, garlic and other which he hand grinds on a special grinder.  Mr. Felix’s mole is unlike other moles in that he serves the chicken quarter leg whole instead of shredded or chunked.  The mole is accompanied by pinto beans, Spanish rice, and corn or flour tortillas.

Los Compas
603 S. Nevarez
Las Cruces, NM  88001
Of the different types of local moles, Los Compas’ mole is the one that is most common to those who are familiar with it.  They prepare the mole with Doña Maria paste and add chicken broth, a little salt and shredded chicken. Here the mole is served with pinto beans, Spanish rice, and corn or flour tortillas.

Winter 2009
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