The Oaxacan region of Mexico boasts seven definitive types of mole sauces (see Epicurious). Ingredients for traditional mole typically include a combination of chiles, sesame seeds, tomatillos, spices, dried fruits, nuts, and chocolate. This sauce might be colored red or green or black or yellow.

To commemorate my recent visit to Los Angeles (see Guelaguetza) I’ve made my own “Oaxacan Green Mole with Chicken,” from the March/April 2019 issue of Milk Street.

Oaxacan Green Mole with Chicken
Milk Street, March/April 2019
4 servings

2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and halved
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
Seven 6-inch corn tortillas
1 qt. low-sodium chicken broth
4 medium garlic cloves, peeled
2 medium tomatillos, husked and halved
1 poblano chili, stemmed, seeded and quartered lengthwise
1 small white onion, root end intact, quartered lengthwise
1 bunch cilantro, leaves and tender stems
1 cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/3 cup loosely packed fresh mint
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
8 oz. small Yukon Gold potatoes (1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter), halved
6 oz. green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium yellow zucchini, cut into 1-inch chunks (about 2 cups)

Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. In a large pot over medium-high, combine the tortillas and broth, then bring to a boil. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tortillas (they will have softened) to a blender, and ¼ cup water and blend until smooth, about 1 minute.

Pour the purée into the boiling broth and stir to combine; rinse out the blender and reserve. Add the chicken to the pot, cover and reduce to low. Cook, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a gentle simmer, until a skewer inserted into the chicken meets just a little resistance, 30 to 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the broiler with a rack about 4 minutes from the element. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Arrange the garlic, tomatillos, poblano chili and onion in a single layer on the baking sheet. Broil until the vegetables are lightly charred, about 4 minutes, then flip them and continue to broil until the second sides are lightly charred, 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes, then transfer to the blender.

Add ½ cup water to the blender, then purée until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add the cilantro, parsley, mint, fennel, cumin, 2 tsp. salt and ¾ tsp. pepper. Blend until smooth and bright green, about 2 minutes, scraping the sides as needed. You should have about 2 cups of purée; set aside.

When the chicken is ready, stir the potatoes, green beans and zucchini into the pot. Bring to a simmer over medium and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until a skewer inserted into a potato meets no resistance, about 15 minutes. Stir in the purée, then taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

This recipe “dumbs down” mole for us. Authentic green mole traditionally accompanies pork, but boneless chicken thighs are nice to work with, here. Standard mole herbs include epazote and hoja santa, but this recipe uses mint and fennel seeds instead. And, while Oaxacans thicken their mole stews with masa, this recipe uses softened corn tortillas.

These softened tortillas are pureed in the blender, then added to boiling chicken broth with the pieces of chicken. This smells like polenta cooking.

Broiling garlic, tomatillos, poblano chile and onion makes my nose twitch. How easy to then purée these broiled vegetables with the herbs and spices in my blender.

And, just when you’d think this is enough with the ingredients, you get to toss in potatoes and green beans and zucchini into the soup pot. My final simmer was for 24 minutes. I added 1½ tsp. salt and ½ tsp. black pepper at the end.

True, a genuine mole might be intimidating to replicate. But this Milk Street recipe can’t be messed up, with its chicken thighs and potatoes. Enjoy the thickness and taste the green.

Next time, I want to try the “Three Little Pigs Roast,” from the May/June 2019 issue of Cuisine at Home. Can I do this? Come back to my site next week, to see what happens.