Estofado de Pollo

Chicken in Mole Estofado


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves

    4 to 6

Appears in

Oaxaca: Home Cooking from the Heart of Mexico


By Bricia Lopez and Javier Cabral

Published 2019

  • About

This is the mole that my mother has made the most throughout our life. I have many memories of asking her to make this dish for my birthdays growing up. I would say that it is probably my favorite of them all. It was also the first mole that I learned how to cook, since it is the most approachable and easiest to make. The dish’s briny, bright flavors are quite different from many other moles because there aren’t any dried chiles involved. The main flavor comes from pickled jalapeños and olives, so try to get the highest quality of those two ingredients available. To bump it up a notch, substitute cooked cow’s tongue for the chicken.


  • 1 whole chicken (about 2 pounds/1 kg), butchered into eight pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed, plus 10 cloves, peeled
  • 1 small white onion (about 100 g), peeled and halved
  • ¼ cup (56 g) vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup (25 g) chopped white onion
  • ¾ cup (105 g) whole almonds, shelled
  • ½ cup (75 g) sesame seeds
  • cups (220 g) raisins
  • ½ cup (15 g) dried oregano
  • ¼ cup (11 g) dried thyme
  • 4 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 12 black peppercorns
  • 3 whole cloves
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • cups (about 1 kg) chopped tomatoes
  • 6 tomatillos (135 g), husked and rinsed
  • ½ cup (100 g) sugar
  • ½ cup (75 g) pitted green olives, such as Manzanilla
  • ½ cup (120 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 small can (7 ounces/198 g) sliced jalapeños in escabeche, drained
  • Sea salt


Place the chicken, 3 cloves smashed garlic, and halved onion in a stockpot filled with salted water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, cover, and let cook over medium heat until the chicken is tender and fully cooked. This will take about 45 minutes. Remove the chicken from the stock to cool. Strain the stock and reserve 3 cups (720 ml).

Preheat your oven’s broiler to its highest setting. On your oven’s highest rack, broil the chopped onion on a baking sheet for 10 minutes, until lightly charred. Add the raw garlic to the sheet and keep broiling for another 5 minutes. Set aside.

In a Dutch oven or the largest skillet you have, heat ¼ cup (60 ml) of the oil over low heat. Fry the almonds and sesame seeds in the oil until they are golden brown, stirring very frequently so they don’t burn. This should take about 2 minutes. Once they are fragrant, carefully remove them from the hot oil into a mixing bowl using a slotted spoon. Add the raisins and fry them in the oil until they plump up. This should take about 5 minutes or less.

In a comal or griddle, toast the oregano, thyme, peppercorns, cloves, and cinnamon over low heat. Once aromatic, grind the spices in a molcajete or spice grinder until finely ground.

In a separate pot over medium-high heat, combine the tomatoes and tomatillos with ¼ cup (60 ml) of water, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes until the tomatoes and tomatillos have changed color. Transfer the tomatoes and tomatillos to a blender and blend until smooth. Pass the puree through a double-fine-mesh strainer into the pot and reserve.

In a food processor, add the almonds, sesame seeds, raisins, oregano, thyme, peppercorns, cloves, onions, garlic, cinnamon, and parsley and process until it is a paste.

In a large stockpot, heat ¼ cup (60 ml) of the vegetable oil. Add the almond paste and fry until fragrant, stirring continuously. Add the tomato-tomatillo puree, sugar, and 3 cups (720 ml) of strained chicken stock. Salt to taste.

Simmer for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add the olives and 3 to 5 jalapeños. Remove from the heat, cover, and let sit for 10 minutes.

Serve the estofado over sliced chicken with additional jalapeño slices.