Sweet Poblano Mole

Traditional mole recipes often have 20 or more different ingredients, and may require days to be prepared by hand.  Nearly every family in many regions of Mexico have their own special recipe – some of which are closely guarded and handed down through the generations only to other family members.  Preparation of these special and laborious sauces is often reserved only for special occasions and large gatherings.

I will make no attempt here to fully recreate one of these sauces.  Instead, I will shorten the ingredient list a bit, cheat time with the use of modern electric prep tools, and stretch the true interpretation of a traditional mole just a little (through the addition of vinegar and the absence of dried chili powders) to come up with a recipe that can be ready in under 30 minutes and is awesome over or along-side just about any Southwest or Latin American inspired dish.

Gather Up:

  • 1 large poblano chile, whole
  • 3 roma tomatoes, whole
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and cut into three thick slices
  • ~1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and pressed
  • 3 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 cloves, ground in a mortar & pestle

Get the grill warmed up to around 425 to 450 degrees (while getting ready for yesterday’s chipotle glazed pork steaks would work).  Brush the onion and tomatoes with a little olive oil (not the chile though).  Place them, along with the poblano, on the grill and cook for about 10 minutes, turning once or twice, until the chile has a charred and split skin and the tomatoes have all split.  The onions should be soft and sweet with a little browning/charring on the edges as well.

Immediately place the chile in a medium bowl and cover tightly with foil or plastic wrap.  Next, place the onions, tomatoes, and all other ingredients into a blender and puree.  After a minute or two in the bowl, remove the chile and peel the skin from it (if you charred it will, it should almost fall off at this point).  Cut the stem off the chile (remove the seeds if you like), then add to the blender and puree with the rest of the ingredients until smooth – about 1 minute.  Pour the entire mixture into a small sauce pan.

Bring the sauce to a low boil, then reduce heat and simmer for an additional 5 to 10 minutes (I did this while the pork was grilling) to thicken slightly.  Serve warm, spread over top of the meat in your meal (add a little more along side just to eat with a spoon).  Or, use it as a marinade for chicken, pork, or seafood – reserving some to warm and serve with the meal.