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Mole Verde con Pollo with Corn Tortillas

This green mole stands out from the pack of velvety sauces with its nutty, slightly coarse texture. A thin layer of fat on top of the mole is a sign that it’s been prepared correctly. Sop up the sauce and tender chicken with plenty of warm corn tortillas. 


3 medium-size white onions, divided

8 cups vegetable stock or water

4 (7-ounce) bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts

4 large carrots, halved crosswise

1 small bunch fresh cilantro, leaves picked, stems reserved, divided

6 medium-size fresh serrano chiles, or more to taste, divided

1 medium-size fresh poblano chile

1 tablespoon cumin seeds

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

2 teaspoons anise seeds

1 ½ teaspoons black peppercorns

1 (4-inch) cinnamon stick

5 whole cloves

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1 pound tomatillos, shucked and chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 ½ cups duck fat, melted, divided

2 ½ cups radish greens

2 cups fresh spinach

10 flat-leaf parsley stems

3 epazote stems

1 ½ cups pepitas, toasted

½ cup almonds, toasted

½ cup white sesame seeds, toasted, plus more for garnish

2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste

Thinly sliced raw onion rings, for garnish

Corn tortillas, for serving


Step 1 Cut 1 onion in half. Place onion halves, stock, chicken breasts, carrots, 5 cilantro stems, and 2 serrano chiles in a large Dutch oven; press down on chicken to fully submerge. Bring to a boil over medium-high. Remove from heat; cover and let stand until a thermometer inserted in thickest part of chicken registers 150°F, about 20 minutes.

Step 2 Meanwhile, cook poblano chile in a medium cast-iron skillet over medium-high, turning occasionally, until all sides are blackened, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer charred poblano to a medium bowl; cover with a plate, and let stand 15 minutes. Carefully peel poblano under running water; discard skin, stem, and seeds. Set poblano flesh aside.

Step 3 Cook cumin, coriander, anise seeds, peppercorns, cinnamon stick, and cloves in a medium skillet over medium-low, stirring often, until toasted and fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a molcajete or spice grinder; process until finely ground. Set aside.

Step 4 Remove and discard vegetables and cilantro stems from chicken mixture. Using tongs, transfer chicken to a large saucepan or heatproof bowl with a tight-fitting lid. Add 1/2 cup cooking liquid from Dutch oven to chicken; cover and set aside. Transfer remaining cooking liquid to an 8-cup measuring cup or a large bowl; set aside. Wipe Dutch oven clean.

Step 5 Roughly chop remaining 2 onions. Remove and discard stems and seeds from remaining 4 serrano chiles; chop serranos. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Add onions, serranos, tomatillos, and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, 12 to 14 minutes. Remove from heat; transfer mixture to a blender, and add 2 cups reserved cooking liquid. Secure lid on blender, and remove center piece to allow steam to escape. Place a towel over opening. Process until smooth, about 30 seconds. Transfer mixture to cleaned Dutch oven over medium-low. Stir in 3/4 cup duck fat.

Step 6 Place radish greens, spinach, parsley stems, epazote stems, poblano flesh, 2 1/2 cups reserved cooking liquid, and remaining cilantro stems in blender. Process until smooth, about 45 seconds. Add to onion mixture in Dutch oven.

Step 7 In a clean blender, process pepitas, almonds, sesame seeds, and remaining reserved cooking liquid until mixture forms a loose, coarse paste, 25 to 35 seconds. Add pepita mixture, reserved spice mixture, and salt to Dutch oven. Bring to a boil over medium-high; reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring often, until mixture thickens and reduces slightly, about 1 hour. Stir in remaining 3/4 cup duck fat; cook over medium-low, stirring often, until a thin layer of fat forms on top, 20 to 30 minutes.

Step 8 Meanwhile, remove and discard skin and bones from chicken. Shred chicken still in juices in saucepan; toss with juices. Add chicken mixture with juices to mole; cook, stirring often, until chicken is heated through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt to taste. Garnish with additional toasted sesame seeds, reserved cilantro leaves, and onion rings. Serve mole hot with tortillas.

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