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. Recipe correction: An earlier version of this recipe included the garnishes of hot sauce and lime wedges, which are inaccurate for this traditional recipe. These ingredients have been removed at the request of the developers and the photo has been changed to reflect that. For more on this, read Editor's Note: Why a Recipe Is More Than a Recipe.

Mole Verde Con Pollo with Corn Tortillas
Photo: Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen
Active Time:
2 hrs 30 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 45 mins
8 to 10 servings


  • 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


  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

Make Ahead

Chicken mole can be made up to 2 days ahead; cover and refrigerate.

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