On Thanksgiving many years ago, chef T.J. Steele was driving from Mexico City to Oaxaca when he stopped in Puebla for a bite.  There he ate a rich turkey mole that has stuck with him all these years. This version, which can be made in a slow cooker, is easier than traditional methods and makes a perfect accompaniment for Thanksgiving leftovers.

November 2018


Credit: Johhny Miller

Recipe Summary test

2 hrs 50 mins
8 hrs 40 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-low. Working in batches, arrange ancho and guajillo chiles in a single layer in skillet; cook, turning once, until lightly toasted, about 30 seconds per batch. Transfer to a large bowl; add 3 1/4 quart warm water, and let stand until chiles are soft and pliable, about 30 minutes. Drain chiles, reserving 5 cups soaking water.

  • Add peppercorns, cloves, and cinnamon to skillet; toast over medium-low, stirring constantly, until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Transfer mixture to a plate.

  • Add garlic and onion halves to skillet. Increase heat to medium-high; cook, turning garlic often, until cloves are tender and charred, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer garlic to plate with spice mixture. Continue cooking onion, turning once, until tender and charred, about 5 more minutes. Transfer to plate with spice mixture and garlic. Peel garlic cloves; discard skins.

  • Melt 1 tablespoon coconut oil in skillet; add raisins, and cook, stirring constantly, until raisins puff up, about 40 seconds. Stir in oregano and thyme; remove from heat.

  • Working in batches, process soaked chiles, spice mixture, garlic, onion, raisin mixture, pecans, almonds, tomatoes with juices, sesame seeds, and 4 cups reserved soaking water in a high-speed blender, scraping down sides of blender as necessary to loosen mixture, until mixture is the texture of a thick and coarse tomato sauce, about 1 minute and 15 seconds per batch. Add splashes of reserved soaking liquid as needed to reach desired texture. Pour mixture through a wire-mesh strainer into a large bowl; discard solids.

  • Melt remaining 2 tablespoons coconut oil in a 12-inch high-sided skillet over medium. Carefully pour in strained mole mixture. (It will splatter.) Cook, stirring often, until warmed through, 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer mole mixture to a large slow cooker. Cook, uncovered, on high, stirring every 30 minutes, until mixture resembles consistency of wet sand, 6 hours and 30 minutes to 7 hours. Remove from heat; stir in brown sugar and salt.

  • Place turkey broth in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over high; whisk in 2 cups of the mole mixture. Reduce heat to low; simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 20 to 25 minutes. Season to taste with brown sugar and salt. Serve mole sauce over warmed leftover turkey, and garnish with sesame seeds.

Make Ahead

Prepare mole mixture through step 6; store prepared mole mixture, covered, in refrigerator up to 1 week or in freezer up to 3 months.