Chicken in Shortcut Mole


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


Appears in

Slow Cook Modern

Slow Cook Modern

By Liana Krissoff

Published 2017

  • About

ALSO GOOD WITH cumin spiced millet OR brown rice and peas ( OMIT THE COCONUT MILK AND ALLSPICE)

I’ve made wonderfully complex mole sauces that required several rounds of straining and blending and three solid days in the kitchen to complete, and I’ve used bottled store-bought mole that was convenient but nothing to write home about flavor-wise. This, I think, is a compromise between the two: It has exactly what I want in a mole (a little heat, bitterness, a slight sweetness, a silky texture, and, if you use the hoja de santa, a subtle herby fragrance), but is much less work than you’d expect.


  • 4 pounds (1.8 kg) bone-in chicken thighs, skin pulled off and excess fat trimmed
  • 2 ounces (55 g) dried guajillo chiles (about 8), stemmed and broken into pieces
  • 6 dried chiles de árbol, stemmed
  • 3 cups (720 ml) boiling water
  • 2 tablets Abuelita Mexican chocolate (see Notes)
  • ½ cup (120 ml) unsweetened peanut butter
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons salt, or more to taste
  • Palm-size piece dried hoja santa (optional, see Notes)
  • 6 to 8 plain Maria cookies (see Notes)
  • Avocado, lime, and queso fresco (optional, for serving)



Put the chicken in the slow cooker. Put the dried guajillos and chiles de árbol in a blender and pour the boiling water over them. Let soak for at least 10 minutes, until the chiles are softened. Add the chocolate, peanut butter, onion, garlic, salt, and hoja santa, if using, and puree until very smooth. Set a fine-mesh sieve over the cooker and pour in the chile puree, pushing the puree and liquid through with a spatula; discard the bits of skin and seeds in the sieve. Turn the chicken to coat with the sauce. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.


Turn the cooker to high. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a bowl (pull out and discard the bones, if you’d like). Using an immersion blender, puree the sauce again, crumbling in the cookies, until very smooth. Add enough cookies to thicken and sweeten the mole to your liking. Season with more salt, if needed, then return the chicken to the mole and serve.