Classic Red Mole with Turkey Breast and California Raisins

Authentic mole sauce spices up boneless turkey breast.




    • 5 ounce (3 medium) tomatillos, husked and rinsed
    • 1/2 cup (2-1/2 ounces) sesame seeds, divided
    • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
    • 3 ounce or 6 medium dried mulato chiles, stemmed and seeded
    • 1 1/2 ounce or 3 medium dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
    • 1 1/2 ounce or 5 medium dried pasilla chiles, stemmed and seeded
    • 4 cloves garlic
    • 2 ounce blanched almonds
    • 1/2 cup (3 ounces) California raisins
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground anise seed
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1 slice firm white bread, darkly toasted and broken into several pieces
    • 1 ounce Mexican chocolate, roughly chopped
    • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
    • 4 to 5 tablespoons sugar


    • 1 boneless turkey breast (about 4 pounds)
    • Kosher salt, to taste
    • Watercress or parsley; for garnish


    Spread tomatillos on non-reactive baking sheet and roast 4 inches below hot broiler, until dark and blackened in spots, about 5 minutes. Turn and roast 4 or 5 minutes more, until splotchy-black, blistered and soft. Turn into large bowl.

    In small dry skillet over medium heat, toast sesame seeds, stirring constantly until golden, about 5 minutes. Add 2/3 to tomatillos; reserve others for garnish.

    In 8 or 9-quart heavy pot over medium heat, heat oil. Tear chiles into flat pieces and fry, 3 or 4 at a time, turning frequently with tongs, until interior is a lighter color, 20 to 30 seconds. (Do not allow to smoke or mole will be bitter.) Transfer with slotted spoon, into large mixing bowl, draining well. Add hot tap water to cover and place small plate on top to keep submerged. Let stand about 30 minutes.

    Meanwhile, remove any stray chile seeds from oil in pot. Reheat and fry garlic and almonds, stirring frequently until browned and garlic is soft, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, draining well and add to tomatillos. Add raisins to pot and stir with slotted spoon for 20 to 30 seconds, until puffed and slightly browned. Scoop out, draining well, and add to tomatillo mixture.

    Pour off and reserve excess oil. Set pot aside.

    Using tongs, transfer rehydrated chiles to blender. If soaking liquid is not bitter, measure 2-1/2 cups into blender or discard and add 2-1/2 cups water, instead. Process to smooth purée, adding water as needed. Press purée through medium-mesh strainer into a clean mixing bowl. Set aside.

    Without washing blender jar, turn tomatillo mixture into it and add 1 cup water, along with cinnamon, black pepper, anise, cloves, bread and chocolate. Process to smooth purée, adding water as needed. Press through strainer returning to same bowl as before. Set aside.

    Return pot to medium-high heat and heat till hot; add chile purée and stir frequently until mixture darkens and thickens to the consistency of tomato paste, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in tomatillo purée and continue stirring until mixture thickens to the consistency of tomato paste, 5 to 10 minutes more.

    Add 6 cups water and stir well. Partially cover; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes. Mole should be thick enough to coat back of a spoon. If too thin, simmer until thicker; if too thick, add water till desired consistency. Taste and season with salt and sugar. Set aside.

    Leaving skin on, remove netting and cut breast in half. Sprinkle all sides with salt. Add reserved oil to clean heavy pot and brown each turkey half on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove to baking pan. Brown remaining halves, one at a time, and place in baking pan.

    To Serve
    Preheat oven to 325°F. Ladle mole over turkey breasts; cover and roast at 325°F until 165°F in center of breasts.

    Remove breasts from mole; place on cutting board. Cover with foil and let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes.

    Slice 1/2-inch thick and arrange, slightly overlapping on warm plate. Ladle 1/3 to 1/2 cup of mole over or around turkey slices. Sprinkle with reserved sesame seeds and garnish with sprigs of watercress or parsley.

    Chef Note: If the mole has thickened beyond the consistency of a medium cream soup, thin it with a little water. Taste and season with additional salt or sugar, as needed.

    Nutrition Facts Per Serving

    Calories 680 (35% from fat); Total Fat 27g (sat 3g, mono 13g, poly 8g, trans 0g ); Cholesterol 190mg; Protein 76g; Carbohydrate 35g; (Dietary Fiber 8g; Sugars 14g; ); Iron 7mg; Sodium 670mg; Calcium 84mg; Potassium 1351mg

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