Chicken and Mole Tacos

Serves 6:

Holy mole! So how do I describe this mother of all Mexican sauces? Freaking delish! Now mole is really a generic terms for several types sauces in Mexican cuisine. Although there are over a dozen varieties, the most popular is Mole Negro which is made with nuts, chilies, spices and most notably…chocolate. Authentic mole takes quite a while to make not to mention requires more ingredients than I can list in a single page. As a proud Mexican American living in the 21st century I do what most of us do; I buy premade. Although I’ve made it from scratch once or twice, these days I don’t have the time. Besides, there are some brands that have the perfect blend of ingredients requiring only the addition of stock to make a killer sauce. My grandma generally reserved mole making for special occasions because of how long it took to prepare but with the help of a good premade paste and my tips and tricks below you can make any Tuesday night special with this Mexican treat!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of cooked chicken
  • 2 – 3 tbsp of premade mole paste
  • 1 cup of chicken stock (home made is better if you have it)
  • 1/3 cup queso fresco or fresh cheese
  • 1/4 cups cilantro
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds (optional)
  • 18 baby corn tortillas (if you can’t find baby size, use 12 medium corn tortillas)
  • Salt

Prep It:

  • Take your cooked chicken meat and shred it using a fork or just your fingers.
  • Crumble the cheese.
  • Chop the cilantro; a coarse chop is best for this recipe.
  • Dampen a kitchen towel or paper towels – run them under the faucet and wring them out well. Wrap the tortillas in the damp towels and set them aside.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.

Cook It:

  • Spoon 2 heaping tablespoons of premade mole paste into the skillet. Add the chicken stock and stir until the paste dissolves completely. The mole sauce should be the have the consistency of tomato sauce. If it’s too watery, add up to another tablespoon of the paste adding ½ tablespoon at a time.  Taste the mole sauce and add salt if needed.
  • Add the shredded chicken to the mole sauce and toss until the chicken is completely coated.
  • Warm the tortillas in the microwave. Depending on the strength of your oven this could take 30 – 60 seconds.

Serve It:

  • Place a spoonful of chicken in the center of the tortilla. Top with a bit of the crumbled cheese, cilantro and a sprinkling of sesame seeds.
  • Serve this with rice and beans or with some chips and pico de gallo.
  • Notes, tips and tricks:
    • Which brand of mole should you buy? Well much like any other product, not all brands are equal. First of all look for what they call Mole Negro or Mole Rojo. Adobo, Pipian and Mole Verde are completely different.  Mom used Dona Maria brand mole paste, which can be found in most grocery stores these days. However I found a brand made locally in Chicago that rocks my world and is as close to home made as you can get. Your best bet in finding something authentic is to head to a Mexican grocery store in your area and ask the staff.
    • Which cut of chicken should you use? Any part of the chicken will work for this recipe so use what you like. My mother boils an entire bird with some onion – essentially making chicken soup – and combines both white and dark meat. She also uses the stock to make the sauce.  I happen to love the flavor of roast chicken so I’ll often use leftovers to make this. If you don’t have time to boil or roast a whole bird, just bake up a few chicken breasts or buy a good old store made rotisserie chick. Use whatever is easiest accessible and shred it! Just don’t ever use canned chicken. Why? Because it’s just plain nasty!
    • What if you can’t find queso fresco? Try a bit of Chihuahua cheese or ricotta salata if you can get it. If not Monterey jack is a really nice option too. That’s what we used in the 80’s before they started exporting the real stuff.
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