A deep, spicy, chocolatey, Mexican style sauce, wrapped around tender chicken and served as tacos with all the trimmings, this Easy Chicken Mole feels like a real treat, yet takes very little effort and is ready in just 45 minutes, making it perfect for midweek or the weekend!
One of the most popular recipes on my website is my Vegetable Mole, which is actually a simplified version of Sarah Britton’s 10 Spice Chili from one of my favourite cookbooks My New Roots. I love this recipe’s rich, spicy sauce – with just a touch of chocolate and I have been meaning to make a chicken version of it for absolutely ages. So here it is finally – my Easy Chicken Mole!
I must point out at this point, that my Chicken Mole is in no way authentic. And I really don’t mean it to be. I love to take complicated recipes (according to Wikipedia a traditional Mole sauce can take days to make and uses 20 or more ingredients!) and simplify them so that they can actually be done by real people with real lives.
Much as I adore the idea of spending hours crafting an authentic Chicken Mole, the reality is I have neither the time not the patience. I have hungry children, a busy life and a million and one things I need to be doing!
So this Easy Chicken Mole is my very much simplified, much more achievable version of the Mexican classic…I’ve tried to retain a little of the essence of this dish while making it doable on a busy weeknight – and I think I’ve managed to achieve that – it is certainly delicious, whatever it is called!
As I always do with this kind of recipe, I have looked at many different recipes and taken what I consider to be the most important details – the spices, the rich sauce, the tender chicken and of course the chocolate!
I did toy with making this a beef mole, but I really wanted to create something that was going to be quick and easy enough to make on a busy weeknight, when you don’t have a lot of time. And a beef mole – whilst I think it would be spectacular, is definitely more of a slow cooked thing. So I’ve canned that idea for now…but I expect I’ll be back with it in the future!
There’s one little detail that you may find surprising in this dish and that is that towards the end of cooking, I take the chicken out and shred it before returning it to the pan and serving Why? You might ask, given that this extra step is an extra faff…and I am certainly not one for extra faff.
True but I am a foodie at heart and if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing! I tried both ways and found the shredded version to be way nicer, is the simple answer…I can’t quite explain why (in the same way as I can’t quite explain why different pasta shapes taste different, they just do!), but I assure you it is very much worth doing. Of course if you are very pressed for time you could miss this step, but I guarantee it is worth it if you can spare the time!
I have made this with chicken thigh fillets…you can do it with chicken breast fillets, but I have to say I think it works a lot better with chicken thigh fillets. The sauce really needs to cook for a good 30 minutes and that means, if you use chicken breast, it is likely to get dry and overcooked, whereas chicken thigh meat just gets more tender and melt in the mouth!
If you are in a hurry, you could just serve this this Easy Chicken Mole with some rice or crusty bread, but my favourite way of serving this is to turn it into tacos with mini tortillas, quick pickled onions, sour cream and fresh coriander.
Wine-wise, I would personally go for a red here – Grenache or Tempranillo both work well. If you prefer white, go for a rich, full bodied Chardonnay. Alternatively beer would work very well here too – go for a Mexican beer, such as Sol or Corona for that extra touch of authenticity!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed or grated
- 1 teaspoon chilli flakes (or to taste)
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
- 600g chicken thigh fillets (skin off, bone out)
- 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 2 bay leaves
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey (or to taste)
- Juice of ½ lime, plus extra for serving
- 2 tablespoons coriander (cilantro), plus extra to serve
- 1 red onion, sliced thinly
- Juice of 1 lime
- Sour Cream
- Mini (taco sized) tortillas
- Place the oil and the onion in a medium sized saucepan over a low heat. Fry gently for 3 minutes with the lid on.
- Remove the lid and add the garlic, chilli and spices, together with the cocoa and a splash of water to stop things getting too dry. Fry for 2 minutes.
- Add the chicken, tomatoes, bay leaves, maple syrup, salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and cook for 25 minutes.
- After 25 minutes remove the chicken from the pan and shred using 2 forks. Return the chicken to the pan and add the lime juice and coriander. Cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
- While the chicken is cooking you can make some quick pickled onions by putting the sliced onion in a bowl and covering with the juice of 1 lime. Stir to combine, and stir the pickle occasionally while the chicken is cooking.
- Serve the Chicken Mole on the mini tortillas with a blob of sour cream, the quick pickled onions and some extra fresh coriander.
- Alternatively serve the Chicken Mole with rice or crusty bread.
Love chicken? Check out my collection of Easy Peasy Chicken Recipes…
Love Mexican food? Find lots more easy peasy Mexican inspired recipes here…
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