Nancy E. McIntyre, Ph.D.

The easiest molé roja ever (adapted from Food & Wine magazine)

Makes about 5 cups

Note: molé is usually a huge hassle to make, requiring dozens of ingredients and lots of time. This recipe is super-easy and super-tasty. It is divided into two steps. In step one, you make a red sauce (can serve as enchilada sauce all by itself); in step two, this sauce is cooked with other ingredients to make the molé. Step one makes 5 cups of red sauce; step two requires only 1 cup of this. I therefore suggest making 5 batches of the molé in step two, freezing what you don’t need in individual portions. It freezes well. Don’t try to simply quintuple the ingredients from step two and use the whole batch of red sauce at once—your saucepan and blender won’t be large enough!

Ingredients for step one (red sauce):

8 dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded

1 small dried hot red chile (e.g. cayenne), stemmed and seeded

1 quart low-sodium chicken broth

3 Roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 small onion, chopped (1 large shallot may be substituted)

1 Tbsp brown sugar

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

2 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp salt

1 Tbsp cider vinegar


In a medium saucepan, combine all of the ingredients except for the vinegar. Bring to a boil and let boil for 2 minutes. Cover, remove from the heat, and let stand for 10 minutes. Working in batches, puree the sauce in a blender. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the vinegar.

Ingredients for step two (molé):

1 cup of the red sauce from step one

1 Tbsp sesame seeds

½ cup low-sodium chicken broth

1/3 c (2 oz) Mexican chocolate (such as Ibarra or Abuela’s), chopped

2 Tbsp raisins

Pinch of ground cinnamon


In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, toast the sesame seeds until they are golden. Add the chicken broth, red sauce, chocolate, raisins, and cinnamon. Cook, stirring often, until the chocolate has melted, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. Add salt to taste.