Mole Verde

Con Pollo
as seen in

More acidic than other styles of mole, this mole verde gets its striking green color from fresh herbs, extra pepitas, cilantro, tomatillos and avocado. Many traditional mole recipes incorporate beer, but Carreón prefers the smoky flavor of mezcal or tequila. Here, the mole is served with chicken, although Carreón says it also complements fish and huevos ahogados, or eggs drowned in salsa.

Yields | 6 to 8 cups mole sauce |

Serves | 4 portions of chicken |

Preparing the mole in the same pot as the chicken imbues the sauce with extra flavor, but you can also skip the chicken and prepare the sauce by itself; simply omit the chicken. The mole yield varies depending on desired thickness; extra mole can be refrigerated for up to six days, or frozen for up to one month. Carreón estimates that the prep and cook time combined is about 1½ hours.


2 serrano peppers

2 poblano peppers

6 Tbsp olive oil, divided

4 Tbsp pepitas, plus more for garnish

4 Tbsp sesame seeds

1 tsp coriander seeds

1 Tbsp cumin seeds

1 lb husked tomatillos (reserve husks for charring)

1 avocado, halved, pitted and peeled

1 bunch cilantro, minced, divided

6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

1 tsp fenugreek

4 cups chicken stock, divided salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

8 chicken legs

1 large yellow onion, small dice

3 oz mezcal or tequila, to deglaze pan

2 Tbsp Mexican chocolate, grated or shaved

sour cream or plain yogurt, to serve

Preparation | Preheat oven to 450°F: 

In a large bowl, toss whole peppers with 3 tablespoons oil. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and roast until darkened, about 20 minutes. Peel peppers and remove and discard seeds and veins. 

In a saucepan over high heat, toast pepitas, sesame, coriander and cumin seeds until fragrant. Let cool; grind in a spice grinder.

In the bowl of a blender or food processor, purée roasted peppers, tomatillos, avocado, half of minced cilantro, garlic, fenugreek and 2 cups chicken stock. Add salt to taste.

In a heavy-bottomed pot or cast-iron Dutch oven over medium heat, heat remaining oil. Season chicken legs with salt and pepper and sear until golden brown. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add ground spices and cook about 2 minutes more over medium heat, stirring constantly. Add mezcal or tequila, puréed tomatillo mixture and remaining chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add chocolate and remaining cilantro. Simmer for about 1 hour, until chicken is tender and sauce has thickened. For best results, cover pot with parchment paper and braise in a 400°F oven for 30 minutes.


Remove from oven, uncover and baste chicken with mole, repeating every 10 minutes, for 30 minutes (leaving uncovered).

Serve hot with sour cream or yogurt and toasted pepitas as garnish.

cuisine by Chef Tello