Mole is a term used for a number of sauces in Mexico. On its own, the word usually implies Mole Poblano, a dark red sauce made with poblano peppers. This sauce, Mole Verde, is a lighter, fresher version of the sauce, made with pepitas, blended herbs, and tomatillos.
A traditional herb used in this dish is epazote, which is a pungent, weed-like herb. It’s also commonly added while cooking black beans, because it reduces the gassiness that follows after eating those magical fruits. If you can’t find epazote where you live, never fear – flat-leaf parsley will work in a pinch.
Many variations of this dish call for stewing the chicken in the sauce. But I started thinking about the fact that this sauce can be put together in about 20 minutes, and it’s a tragedy that you’d have to delay the cooking time by so much in order to stew the chicken (and lose some of the sauce’s fresh taste along the way). Instead, I figure that there’s a better way to get dinner on your table; you can roast a chicken (or buy a rotisserie chicken) separately and combine it with the sauce to serve. I particularly like the contrasting flavors of the bold, refreshing sauce and the tender roast chicken. It’s making me hungry all over again just typing this. Enough talk; let’s get cooking.
Pepitas, also known as raw pumpkin seeds, give the sauce its body and thickness.
Mole Verde Roasted Chicken
1 roasted chicken (see this recipe) or leftover rotisserie chicken, carved
1/2 cup pepitas (raw pumpkins seeds)
1 tbsp olive oil
8 green tomatillos, husks removed and coarsely chopped
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 jalapeños, sliced (more or less to taste)
1.5 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves and stems
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves and stems
salt and black pepper to taste
1. First things first – you need a roasted chicken. You can either use this recipe (our favorite), or grab a rotisserie chicken from your local grocery store. This dish works well with leftover chicken as well. Long story short: it doesn’t really matter how you get your chicken, just don’t do anything that’ll land you in jail.
2. Heat the pepitas in a skillet over medium heat until toasted and golden, about 5 minutes, then set aside. Add the olive oil to the skillet and heat until shimmering, about 1 minute, then add the tomatillos and onion. Sauté until softened, about 4 minutes, then add the garlic. Sauté for an additional minute, then transfer everything to a blender.
3. Add the pepitas, jalapeños, and chicken broth to the blender. Blend until smooth, then add the fresh herbs and blend again until smooth. Transfer the sauce to a skillet, and bring to a simmer over med/low heat. Simmer until slightly darkened, about 4 minutes; taste and add salt and pepper if needed, then add the chicken pieces and simmer until warm, and serve with some Mexican Rice, sautéed vegetables, and a nice big salad.
** If you have a hispanic market nearby, look for fresh epazote; if you can find it, use it instead of the parsley.
** A good indicator of when the sauce is ready is when all the bubbles (from blending) die down and the sauce smoothens.
** To try your hand at stewing the chicken with the sauce, add raw chicken pieces after blending and returning the sauce to the skillet. Bite-sized chunks of chicken breasts or thighs would work just fine.