Mole sauce: The pride of Puebla, Mexico - Fox 2 News Headlines

Mole sauce: The pride of Puebla

Updated: Sep 13, 2012 03:23 PM EDT
Mole's name derives from molli, the Nahuatl word for sauce. (©iStockphoto/Thinkstock) Mole's name derives from molli, the Nahuatl word for sauce. (©iStockphoto/Thinkstock)
  • Recipe CollectionMore>>

  • Chef Rebecca's grilled zucchini, quinoa & chickpea salad

    Chef Rebecca's grilled zucchini, quinoa & chickpea salad

    Monday, July 28 2014 9:05 AM EDT2014-07-28 13:05:58 GMT
    Grilled Zucchini, Quinoa & Chickpea Salad courtesy Chef Rebecca, Busch's Market
    Grilled Zucchini, Quinoa & Chickpea Salad courtesy Chef Rebecca, Busch's Market

  • Club Corp Charity Golf Outing

    Club Corp Charity Golf Outing

    Sunday, July 27 2014 12:03 AM EDT2014-07-27 04:03:46 GMT
    The Skyline Club and TPC Michigan are hosting the 2014 ClubCorp Charity Classic Golf Outing. Its 18 holes of golf, continental breakfast, lunch, gifts prizes and awards! It's happening on Monday August 4, 2014.
    The Skyline Club and TPC Michigan are hosting the 2014 ClubCorp Charity Classic Golf Outing. Its 18 holes of golf, continental breakfast, lunch, gifts prizes and awards! It's happening on Monday August 4, 2014.
  • TAQO Detroit's Fajitas and Guacamole

    TAQO Detroit's Fajitas and Guacamole

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 12:08 PM EDT2014-07-23 16:08:32 GMT

    Get the recipes for Fajitas and Guacamole courtesy of TAQO Detroit.

    Get the recipes for Fajitas and Guacamole courtesy of TAQO Detroit.

  • Past stories from SaveurMore>>

  • Fridge raid

    Fridge raid

    Raiding the fridge for leftovers is a late night tradition.
    Raiding the fridge for leftovers is a late night tradition.
  • Juicy Fruit: Mexico's prickly pear cactus fruits

    Juicy Fruit: Mexico's prickly pear cactus fruits

    In late summer in Mexico, prickly pear cactus fruits, or tunas, are everywhere—a refreshing snack eaten out of hand and a popular ingredient in candies, drinks, jams, and more.
    In late summer in Mexico, prickly pear cactus fruits, or tunas, are everywhere—a refreshing snack eaten out of hand and a popular ingredient in candies, drinks, jams, and more.
  • Bad weather? Make a stovetop smoker

    Bad weather? Make a stovetop smoker

    The rich flavors of smoked meat are closer than you think: all you need is a pot, foil, and a steamer insert to make a stovetop smoker.
    The rich flavors of smoked meat are closer than you think: all you need is a pot, foil, and a steamer insert to make a stovetop smoker.


By Betsy Andrews

On a recent trip to Puebla, I paid a visit to a storefront mill called a molino. There I met Luz Maria Leonor Gonzalez, a lively mother of eight grown children who told me to call her Doña Luchita. It was Mother's Day, an occasion fit for mole poblano. The spicy-sweet, sienna-colored sauce is the preeminent holiday dish in this small colonial city 85 miles southeast of Mexico City. Housewives were lined up with buckets of ingredients they had prepared to be crushed to a paste. Through the rotary grinders went mulato, pasilla, and ancho chiles; spices like anise and coriander; sesame seeds, almonds, and peanuts; burnt tortillas, stale bread, even animal crackers, for thickening; and, for sweetness, brown sugar, raisins, chocolate, and ripe plantains.

Chicken recipes at Saveur »

Doña Luchita had been up into the wee hours frying her ingredients to intensify their flavors. I followed her home and watched her thin the paste with stock and simmer it. She made envueltos (wraps) -- rolled tortillas topped with shredded chicken, onion, and mole. Her sauce had a fruity flavor, trailed by a mellow burn. Along with Doña Luchita's cheery ribbing -- "We don't waste!" she cried, pointing at an envuelto left on my plate. "Who's going to eat this?" -- it put me in a festive mood.

Such was mole poblano's original purpose. "An important person was coming, and the nuns made this for him," Doña Luchita told me, repeating an oft-told tale. But though the dish is said to have been invented at Puebla's 17th-century Convent of Santa Rosa, its name derives from molli, the Nahuatl word for sauce. Mole poblano's spices, nuts, and fruit arrived with the Spanish, but its chiles and tomatoes are native. Served everywhere now -- mostly over chicken -- it has become a national dish, an expression of Mexico's mestizo culture.

16 easy casseroles at Saveur »

I got a taste of mole's past in the tin-roofed outdoor kitchen of Maria Gabriella Sandre de Tlapaltotoli, a woman with both Nahuatl and French last names who lives in Cholula, an ancient town on Puebla's outskirts. Sandre, an in-law of a chef friend of mine, had gathered relatives to pitch in on a batch of mole for the family. Each woman had a job: sorting chiles; charring tomatoes; slaughtering a turkey to serve with the sauce; simmering the mole in a washtub-size cazuela set over a blazing fire.

"This is mole del pueblo, not mole poblano," Sandre insisted, noting that each pueblo, or village, has its own recipe. This version, made without chocolate and with smoky chipotles, was earthier and more savory than Doña Luchita's. It took two entire days for a small army to prepare; were this an occasion like a wedding, they might have cooked enough for a thousand. "To make mole is a ritual," Sandre's sister-in-law Maria del Refugio said as she stirred. "It's so complicated, but it's special."

The Saveur 100: Recipes and techniques »

She explained that she knew the mole was done "when the oil on its surface forms a mirror." As if when she looks at it, she sees her own face: partly indigenous, partly European, proudly Mexican.

See the recipe for Pollo en Mole Poblana (Chicken with Puebla-Style Mole Sauce) »

© 2012 SAVEUR
All rights reserved.
*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.
Powered by WorldNow

WJBK-TV | Fox 2
16550 West Nine Mile Rd.
Southfield, MI 48075

Main Station: (248) 557-2000
Newsroom: (248) 552-5103

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices