Mole is awesome. That’s Mol-lay my friends. Not mole (as in a tiny animal known for burrowing underground). I promise never ever, ever, to try to feed you a mole. But, mole, on the other hand… yum. A most excellent sauce indeed. Well, many, many, most excellent sauces.
For those of you who don’t have the pleasure of living in locations with awesome Mexican food: Mole is at it’s root, a nice thick sauce made from chiles. There are near endless varieties of mole. Pretty much any chile can be used, resulting in moles that may be categorized as black, red, yellow, colorado (or red), green, almendrado, de olla, huaxmole or pipián (and I probably missed many a classification in this list).
Mole can be savory or sweet. You may have heard of moles involving chocolate or coco. That’s done too. In fact in Guatemala there is a mole dessert sauce made with chocolate, dried chillis, tomatoes and pumpkin seeds. Or theres the savory mole poblano which contains somewhere around 20 ingredients, including chili peppers and chocolate, though you don’t necessarily taste chocolate/sweet when you eat the sauce.
The variety is endless I tell you. And as you can imagine with so much variety, theres a mole perfect for smothering just about anything you can think of. Enchiladas, burritos, chicken, beef, heck even turkey…
It’s Hatch Chile season here in Colorado, so I’ve been buying massive amounts of the chiles pretty much any time I go shopping. I mostly make and freeze large batches of green chile to get us through the year until chile season rolls around again. But, recently, kind of spur of the moment I decided to whip up a mole of my own, using some of the Hatch Green Chiles that happened to be sitting on my counter, staring at me, waiting for me to cook em up. I figured why not try something a little different with this batch? And I’m so glad I did. I’m not sure that Hatch Green Chiles make for a traditional mole. But, they make a great one regardless.
I choose to use my mole to smother some big, fat, way over stuffed chicken burritos, since I happened to have tortillas, beans, etc, on hand. Plus I had an idea crock pot marinade for my chicken I wanted to try.
It was totally awesome, and let me tell you Charlie was seriously in heaven. I guess whats not to like about tender chicken, beans, waaaay too much cheese, and killer mole saucy-ness? I recommend serving these burritos with a big ole’ dollop of sour cream, a side of rice, a nice light green salad, and some avocado, for a nice complete meal. Enjoy!
P.S. If you can’t get your hands on Hatch Green Chiles do not dismay! I’d sub in Pasillas for an excellent substitute.
Mole Smothered Chicken Burritos- Yields 12 large burritos. Mole will yield enough to generously smother the burritos, with a little bit leftover for serving, if desired.
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts (feel free to mix in or substitute thighs if preferred)
- 5 large ripe tomatoes
- 1/2 a large onion diced
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, minced
- 1 cup water or chicken broth
- 8-10 Hatch Green Chiles, washed*
- 2 generous drizzle of olive oil
- 2 large tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 a large onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 2 teaspoon smokey paprika
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened coco
- 4 and 1/2 cups chicken broth, or reserved cooking liquid from chicken for burritos + additional water or broth as needed to equal 4 and 1/2 cups
- kosher salt, to taste
- 12 large tortillas
- 8 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- about 1 can refried beans
- Add the chicken, tomatoes, onions, garlic powder, cumin, cilantro, and water or broth to a crockpot or large pot. For crockpot cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-6 hours, until chicken is very tender and shreds with a fork. For stove top, bring the pot to a low boil, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until chicken is very tender and shreds with a fork, about 1 hour. When cooked remove the chicken from the pot and shred using two forks. Reserve cooking liquid for mole.
- Place the washed Hatched Green Chiles in an oven safe roasting pan, pyrex or deep baking sheet. Drizzle generously with olive oil. Place in the oven at 400* and cook until roasted and fragrant, about 1 hour. There may be black patches, this is great, just adds more flavor! Remove the chiles from the oven and allow them to cool enough to touch. Pull the stems from each chile and discard.
- Meanwhile, heat a large pot to a medium high heat. Add the tomatoes, onions, garlic powder, oregano, coriander, paprika, cumin, and chili powder to the pot. Add the second drizzle of olive oil. Sauté until the onions are translucent.
- Transfer the chiles to the pot and add the broth or reserved cooking liquid. Bring the pot to a low boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes. Use an immersion blender to puree the contents of the pot until smooth. Add salt to taste. Allow the sauce to simmer until slightly thickened.
- Use the completed mole to smoother burritos or any other meat you choose.
- Spread a generous scoop of the mole along the bottom of a 9X12 baking dish. Fill each tortilla with a generous scoop of shredded chicken, cheese, and refried beans. Roll the tortillas around their filling, leaving the ends open. Place each rolled tortilla seam side down in the baking dish. Place the tortilla rolls tight together to prevent them from opening. Pour additional mole over the rolled tortillas, so that the tortillas are fully covered. Liberally sprinkle with cheese and bake at 350* until the cheese is fully melted both outside and inside, about 30 minutes.
- Allow the baked smothered burritos to rest for about 5 minutes before serving to help them stay together. Serve hot with additional mole for topping if desired.
Notes: *Hatch Chiles come in mild, medium, and hot. Select your chiles based on the heat you’d like in the final mole.