Mole Verde with Chicken

We recently tried this recipe for Mole Verde Zacatecano (Zacatecas-Style Green Mole with Chicken) from Saveur. This was a really fantastic sauce that was not only great with the chicken, but could be used in other applications (we put the leftover sauce over eggs to make breakfast tacos the next morning).

We made a few variations to the recipe – most significantly, we used parsley instead of cilantro. We also reduced the amount of salt by quite a bit (next time, we would reduce even more). As usual with chicken recipes, we only made 2 chicken legs (thigh and drumstick), which we got at Hilltop Farm via the Rittenhouse Farmers’ Market.

We started by cooking the chicken. We put the chicken, 1/2 cup chopped parsley stems, 2 tbsp salt (next time I would reduce this), 1 tsp whole black peppercorns, 2 cloves chopped garlic, 1 chopped yellow onion, and 1 bay leaf, and 12 cups water, in a large stock pot. We brought it to a boil,  then reduced the heat and simmered covered for about 30 minutes. Once this was done, we removed the chicken and strained the liquid. We reserved 4 cups for the remainder of the recipe and saved the rest.

Meanwhile, we heated 8 oz tomatillos, chopped and peeled (this ended up being 2 large tomatillos) and 2 large jalapeños, chopped and stemmed, in a sauce pan over medium heat, for about 15 minutes. We tried to time it so that the tomatillo mixture would be done at about the same time as the chicken, since we needed some of the chicken liquid for the next step.

When the chicken was done, we added 1 cup of reserved liquid to the tomatillo mixture, along with 1/2 cup chopped parsley leaves, 2 cloves chopped garlic, and 2 tsp salt (this was reduced from 2 tbsp from the original recipe; the end result was still a bit salty, so this could be reduced further). Per the recipe, we added 2 chopped tortillas to the sauce (we used 2 white corn tortillas rather than 2 flour tortillas). At first we thought that was a mistake, until we realized the tortillas were used to thicken the sauce. We used a stick immersion blender to puree all of this together.

We added 3 tbsp oil to a large pan and fried the sauce for about 5 minutes until it was nice and thick. We then added the remaining 3 cups of reserved liquid and cooked for about 20 minutes until reduced and thickened. Then we added the chicken back to the sauce and cooked for about another 20 minutes until the chicken was cooked through and the sauce continued to thicken.

We served with tortillas, and everything was delicious.

Next time, we’d reduce the salt across the board, but other than that wouldn’t change much. If you just wanted to make the sauce on its own, you could use store-bought chicken broth instead of the reserved cooking liquid. We’d eat the sauce with anything, including chips, or as we mentioned above, eggs for breakfast.

Leftover green mole sauce with eggs and pumpernickel toast for breakfast

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