Mole Coloradito in the house! This is a great recipe to get familiar with Mo-lay sauces, so maybe it's time to give it a go?!
The hearty nature of this sauce will give you loads of insta-meal options, so don't worry too much about serving style the first time you make it.
It has such a unique and satisfying flavor, so even warm tortillas dipped in the Coloradito sauce will make for some happy faces in the kitchen...
How To Make Mole Coloradito
I'm using Ancho and New Mexican chiles for this batch, but there's some leeway on the dried chiles.
The Anchos add the bulk of the flavor, so when available try to use those. More info on Ancho chiles.
This recipe has been through four iterations, and I'm mostly sold on 4 oz. of dried chiles per 2 lb. of tomatoes, which roughly equates to:
5 Ancho chiles
4 New Mexican chiles More info on New Mexican chiles
I started with a much higher ratio of chiles, but have brought it down a couple times so that they don't cover up all the other flavors!
I usually start by wiping off any dusty crevasses on the chiles, then de-stemming and de-seeding them:
These typically get flash roasted to wake up any dormant flavors.
Pressing them on a hot, dry skillet is the traditional way, but when the oven is on I tend to use that -- just give them 1-2 minutes in the oven, or until they are warm and fragrant.
Then cover them with the hottest tap water you've got and let them reconstitute for 20-30 minutes, or until you need them.
I usually put the tomatoes in the oven too, but you can roast them on the stovetop if you want.
They'll need around 30 minutes to fully roast in a 400F oven, but I usually just grab 'em when I need 'em.
I also de-stem the tomatoes knowing that any leftover juices in the roasting pan will go in the blender.
As the tomatoes roast we'll start cooking the other ingredients.
Roughly chop an onion and peel 8 garlic cloves.
Cook the onion and garlic in a glug of oil over medium heat until the onion is starting to brown. I usually just leave the garlic cloves whole knowing that all of this will be blended eventually.
Once cooked you can put this mixture in the blender where it will wait patiently for the other ingredients.
Here are the spices I'm using for this batch:
Adding this unique crew of spices to traditional Mexican ingredients will guarantee some new flavors in your kitchen!
On the left in the above pic:
2/3 cup sesame seeds
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns (approximately 12 peppercorns)
8 whole cloves
And on the right:
1 tablespoon Mexican oregano What is Mexican oregano?
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
The sesame seeds and whole spices get toasted in a dry skillet until the seeds are browning:
And then at the last minute I dump in the powdered spices and give 'em just a few seconds to wake up:
All of this will get grinded up into a fine powder. You can use a molcajete, a spice grinder, or a food processor to accomplish this -- I used a spice grinder and had to do it in two batches.
At this point the dried chiles will be reconstituted, but before you drain them please take a taste of the soaking liquid!
Half of you will like the earthy, astringent flavor of the soaking liquid -- and half of you will think it tastes bitter.
It always tastes slightly bitter to me, so I tend to use stock to liquefy Enchilada and Mole sauces. You can consider this personal preference though -- feel free to use the soaking liquid if it works for your palate.
We'll add the reconstituted chiles to the blender along with a single cup of stock. The onion-garlic mixture should be in the blender as well. Combine well.
By the way...
The first time you make this sauce I think it's beneficial to taste it multiple times along the way. It's fascinating to see how the flavor develops with the addition of each set of ingredients. Optional, but worth it in my opinion 🙂
Next we'll add the roasted tomatoes. All of this should fit in a single blender, but you may have to do the tomatoes in batches.
So at this point there's onion, garlic, dried chiles and tomatoes in the blender, and a bit of stock -- give it a taste and your palate will recognize it as the base for Enchilada sauces.
But now we'll add seeds and spices that will transform it into something completely unique.
Add in the finely ground spices (sesame seeds, cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon, Mexican oregano) and give it a taste.
If it's not combining well you can add another cup of stock (or soaking liquid if you're using that).
You'll need around 3-4 cups of stock for the entire recipe -- I usually add what I need to combine it and then add the rest for a quick simmer at the end.
Next we'll add:
2 tablespoons raisins
1/2 cup almonds
This is probably a good time to mention that I typically make Mole sauces with just a hint of sweetness, but you're always welcome to add more.
So you can consider the listed raisin and chocolate amounts the bare minimum to sweeten up your Coloradito sauce. Feel free to double it and taste from there.
I also added a single teaspoon of salt at this point. Note that the salt amount will depend on which stock you use. I used a barely salted homemade stock -- if using a store-bought stock then you probably won't need to add as much salt.
Give it all a good whirl and say hello to a blender full of Coloradito amazingness.
If you can't stop eating it out of the blender that's a good sign!
It's got such a satisfying flavor, and I always marvel at the idea of such distinct flavors coming together to create something so unique.
We'll fry this off in 2 tablespoons of lard (or oil).
I also added another cup of stock (so that's 3 cups total) and another pinch of salt. Use a splatter screen if you've got one, otherwise a piece of parchment paper or foil will keep the Mole from painting your kitchen.
Once heated through you can add the final touch -- chocolate!
It's worth it to add chocolate the first time you make this sauce, but it's definitely not required. The sauce is already beyond satisfying at this point, so feel free to go easy (or omit) the chocolate in future batches.
Here's what 2 oz. of semi-sweet chocolate chips looks like.
That's about 1/3 cup and that's probably the bare minimum you'll need to actually taste the chocolate in this competitively flavored sauce. You can also use Mexican chocolate.
I'm happy with this 2 oz., but feel free to double or triple if you have a sweet tooth.
Let this simmer for a few minutes and then take a final taste. For a thinner sauce you can add a bit more stock -- or to thicken it up just let it simmer a bit longer.
And by the way... I've experimented with longer simmer times to see how it affects the final flavor. It didn't seem to make much of a difference, most likely because we're starting with cooked ingredients. If, on the other hand, you put raw tomatoes in the blender then you would benefit from a longer simmer time.
And now the final decision you'll have to make...
Do I have to strain it?!
Straining your Mole sauce gives it a silky smooth texture that will instantly seduce your friends and family, but it doesn't change the flavor.
I strained this batch, but will readily admit that I don't always do that because it's a royal pain to strain 🙂
You have to force it through the strainer with a spatula and that takes some time.
Of course, it does give you some incredibly attractive Mole sauce.
But again, don't sweat the straining as it won't affect the flavor much. It's worth it occasionally for me, but not every time.
Okay, Mole Coloradito is in the house...now what?!
Traditional serving styles include:
- Drenching light, roasted meat (chicken, turkey)
- Used like an enchilada sauce for Enmoladas
- Served over eggs
But I recommend keeping it simple the first time you make it. It's such a delicious, hearty sauce and you really don't need much else to make a meal.
Take some warm corn tortillas and dredge them in the Mole sauce.
Fill them with Queso Fresco and some bits of raw onion, then fold in half and drench them with your epic Coloradito sauce.
Optional garnishes include:
Toasted sesame seeds
More Queso Fresco
Freshly chopped cilantro
This simple serving style is such a great way to get familiar with the flavor of this one-of-a-kind sauce, so please keep it in mind for your first go.
And yes, you'll probably have leftovers as the recipe will make a big batch. Store the sauce in an airtight container in the fridge where it will last for a few days -- unless you eat it all for breakfast the next day 🙂
Okay, let me know if you have any questions about this Mole Coloradito. The process may look intimidating at first, but after fiddling with it over the last couple weeks I've found that it's quite forgiving and the results are well worth the effort.
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Mole Coloradito Recipe
- 5 Ancho dried chiles
- 4 New Mexican dried chiles (or Guajillos)
- 2 lbs. Roma tomatoes (approx. 7-8 tomatoes)
- 1 onion
- 8 garlic cloves
- 2/3 cup sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns (approx. 12 peppercorns)
- 8 cloves
- 2 tablespoons raisins
- 1/2 cup almonds
- 2 oz. chocolate (approx. 1/3 cup chocolate chips)
- 3-4 cups stock
- 2 tablespoons lard (or oil)
- 1 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste)
Optional serving style:
- 10-12 corn tortillas
- Queso Fresco
- finely chopped onion
- freshly chopped cilantro
- Mexican Crema
- Wipe off any dusty crevasses on the dried chiles. De-stem and de-seed the chiles, but don't worry about getting rid of every last seed.
- Roast the chile pieces for 1-2 minutes in a 400F oven. Alternatively, you can flash roast them in a skillet on the stovetop for 15-30 seconds per side. Once roasted, add them to a bowl and cover with hot tap water. Let the chiles reconstitute for 20-30 minutes. If they float to the surface you can use a small bowl or plate to keep them submerged.
- Rinse and de-stem 7-8 Roma tomatoes. Roast the tomatoes in a 400F oven for 20-30 minutes.
- Roughly chop an onion and peel 8 garlic cloves. Add a glug of oil to a skillet over medium heat and saute the onions and whole garlic cloves until lightly browned. Once cooked, add the onion-garlic mixture to the blender.
- Preheat a dry skillet over medium heat. Add 2/3 cup sesame seeds, 8 whole cloves, and 12 black peppercorns to the skillet. Toast until the sesame seeds are turning golden brown, stirring occasionally. Towards the end, add the powdered spices to the skillet (2 tablespoons cinnamon, 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano) and cook briefly. Add the mixture to a food processor or spice grinder and grind into a fine powder, setting it aside until you need it.
- By now the chiles are reconstituted. Take a taste of the chiles' soaking liquid. If you like it then you can use it to liquefy the sauce. If it tastes bitter to you then use stock to liquefy the sauce -- I used stock for this batch.
- Drain the dried chiles and add them to the blender along with a cup of stock (or soaking liquid). The onion-garlic mixture should already be in the blender. Combine well. It's worth it to take a taste at every step along the way, starting now!
- Add the roasted tomatoes to the blender and combine well. This should all fit in a single blender jar, but you may have to blend the tomatoes in batches.
- Add the finely ground spice mixture to the blender and combine well. I also added another cup of stock at this point. You'll need 3-4 cups total for the recipe -- I usually just keep track of what I add when blending and then add the rest for the simmer.
- Add 2 tablespoons raisins, 1/2 cup almonds and 1 teaspoon salt. Combine well.
- Add 2 tablespoons lard (or oil) to a large saucepan. Once heated, add the Coloradito sauce from the blender to the saucepan and simmer until heated through. Use a splatter screen if you have one, otherwise a layer of parchment paper or foil will do the job.
- Once heated through add 2 oz. chocolate (optional). I used 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, but you can use Mexican chocolate if you want.
- Once the chocolate is incorporated into the sauce take a final taste for seasoning. I added another generous pinch of salt to this batch. (So that is about 1.5 teaspoons salt total but keep in mind this will depend on which stock you use.)
- You can optionally strain the Coloradito sauce at this point. Place a fine mesh sieve over a bowl and use a spatula to force the sauce through the strainer. Be sure to wipe the bottom of the strainer as the sauce tends to cling to it.
- Optional serving style: warm 10-12 corn tortillas in the oven (or flash fry them). Use tongs to dredge them in the Coloradito sauce. Add Queso Fresco and finely chopped raw onion to the tortillas, then fold in half and drench them with more of the Coloradito sauce. Serve immediately with optional garnishes: toasted sesame seeds, Mexican Crema, more Queso Fresco, and freshly chopped cilantro.
- Store leftover Coloradito sauce in an airtight container in the fridge.
For reference, I recently tested out various chile combos for Mole sauces with this Holy Trinity of Ancho/Mulato/Pasilla being my favorite:
And then I used that chile combo to make some awesome Mole Poblano:
Our latest recipe is Spicy Chicken Salad.
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Hey there! On your recommendation I purchased some Oaxaca Pasillas which I’m obsessed with now, their smoky flavor is amazing. What are your thoughts on using a combo to include a couple of those? I don’t want to ruin the mole if you believe the smokiness will overpower the other flavors....
Hey Jamie I like how you're thinking! Yeah you can add one in to this recipe -- just be sure to give it a taste right after blending the chiles and adjust from there. But I'm working on Mole Poblano this week and I think those Pasillas de Oaxaca would fare better in that sauce. Something about that Ancho-Mulato-Pasilla combo works really well and they would fit in there quite well. Hope to have that recipe up this week. Cheers.
Hi Patrick, have you tried a french chinois to strain your chile paste? I live in Tucson and was complaining about the straining process to a friend and she told me that she uses one that has been passed down by her great abuelita. Got one and it is a game changer! Make sure to look for one with the pestle and stand. Best wishes, Amy
Thanks Amy! Haven't tried one of those but after looking at them on Amazon I want one! After complaining about the straining process I've also had some people recommend food mills so considering that too 🙂 Cheers.
Made your enchilada sauce a while back and it tasted amazing. I used a mix of Ancho, Guajilo, Mulato, Pasilla, Puya (basically all of my older dried peppers that were super hard and well paste their prime) as New Mexico chillies are hard to come by in Canada. Unfortunately, I spaced and forgot about the sauce in the fridge rather than freezing it and it spoiled -- lessons suck.
My question is, could that enchilada sauce or this mole sauce be used to simmer meat in the style of a chilli con carne? Is there an entry on this blog that investigates/experiments the making of chilli with the same depth?
Hey Jess! I don't have a Chili con Carne recipe on the site yet, but I've simmered beef in that enchilada sauce before and it works great:
Mexican Shredded Beef
I'm sure you could use that as a base for Chili and get a good result, but I haven't tried it yet. You could also probably do the same with the Mole Coloradito sauce but I would be a little concerned that the subtle flavors of the Mole sauce would just get overpowered by the beef. Definitely worth a test run though 🙂
First time I tried a Mexican recipe, dam delicious.
Hey Patrick, thanks to you I have a reputation for cooking great Mexican food! Do you use whole, sliced or ground almonds in this recipe?
Can't wait for the other mole sauces, truly my favorite and hardest to find of all Mexican dishes. Also guess it's time to get a spice grinder.
Thanks again, Scott
Hey Scott I hope your Mole journey is going well! When possible I try to use raw, whole almonds, but there's some leeway on that. I've used roasted, salted almonds before with good results, just had to lower salt amount a little bit. Cheers.
This recipe looks great! Since I live in New Mexico, Anchos and Guajillos are literally everywhere, so that's convenient. I might reduce the cinnamon just a wee bit. I'm expecting my order of harder to find chiles to arrive at any time now and look forward to experimenting.
Thanks Virginia! Yeah feel free to go light on the cinnamon if that sounds best -- you can always add some in at the end during the simmer if you can't taste it. Cheers.
Hi Patrick -- rather than using a strainer you might want to use a food mill. I just bought one on Amaz*n for around $35. It came with 3 discs with varying hole sizes. I learned about food mills in a cooking class last summer. We made red enchilada sauce from scratch and the mill worked fantastic for straining out the small bits of chile skin after we processed them in the blender. It made a really smooth sauce.
I look forward to trying your mole recipe!
Hey Skyye thanks much for mentioning the food mill, might be time to finally get one in the kitchen. Cheers.
I love your recipes. My husband is from New Mexico and he is always telling me that your recipes are what he is use to but my question is: I’m highly allergic to chocolate what can I use instead of chocolate for this recipe? Thanks
Hey Rachel thanks much for your feedback! I would just make it without the chocolate and see how it tastes to you -- I think it's quite satisfying even without that final step. But if you feel like it needs a little more sweetness you can either double the raisin amount or add a pinch of sugar. Cheers.
Love your work but this one sounds like too much work for an experiment to see if I really like Mole'. Is there a store-bought product that you like that I could try for my first taste?
Thanks Clint! Sorry dood, haven't found one yet that comes close 🙂