Classic Red Molé with Turkey Breast

Culinary Setting
Meal Type
Main Course, Entrée
2 HR 40 MIN
Cooking Style
Boneless Breast


5 oz (3 Medium) tomatillos, husked and rinsed

1/2 c (2-1/2 oz) sesame seeds, divided

1/2 c vegetable oil

3 oz or 6 Medium dried mulato chiles, stemmed and seeded

1-1/2 oz or 3 Medium dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded

1-1/2 oz or 5 Medium dried pasilla chiles, stemmed and seeded

4 Cloves garlic

2 oz unskinned almonds

2 oz raisins

1 (4 lb) BONLESS TURKEY BREAST, skin on, with 2 halves cut apart and netting removed

Kosher salt To Taste

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (preferably freshly ground Mexican canela)

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/4 tsp freshly ground anise seed

1/8 tsp ground cloves

1 Slice firm white bread, darkly toasted and broken into several pieces

1 oz Mexican chocolate, roughly chopped

1 tsp salt

4 to 5 tbsp sugar

For garnish Watercress or parsley



Spread tomatillos on a baking sheet and roast them 4 inches below a hot broiler, until darkly roasted, and blackened in spots, about 5 minutes. Turn and roast the other side, 4 or 5 minutes, until splotchy-black, blistered and soft.

Scrape tomatillos and their juices into a large bowl.

In an ungreased small skillet set over medium heat, toast sesame seeds, stirring constantly until golden, about 5 minutes. Add 2/3 to the tomatillos; set the rest aside for garnish.


Set an 8-to 9-quart heavy pot over medium heat. Add oil. Tear chiles into flat pieces. When oil is hot, fry chiles, three or four at a time, flipping them frequently with tongs, until the interior sides have changed to a lighter color, about 20 to 30 seconds total frying time. (Don't toast them so darkly that they begin to smoke-that will make the mole bitter.)

Transfer chilies to a large mixing bowl, being careful to drain as much fat as possible back into the pot.

Cover toasted chiles with hot tap water and place a small plate on top to keep them submerged. Let stand about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, remove any stray chile seeds left in the fat. With the pot still on the heat, fry garlic and almonds, stirring regularly until browned (garlic should be soft and almonds browned through) about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, add to the tomatillo, draining as much fat as possible back into the pot.

Add raisins to the hot pot. Stir with a slotted spoon for 20 to 30 seconds, until they've puffed and slightly browned. Scoop them out, draining as much fat as possible back into the pot. Add raisins to tomatillos.


Increase heat to medium-high. Sprinkle all sides of each turkey breast halves with salt.

Cook halves individually in the same heavy pot. Thoroughly brown each on all sides, about 10 minutes total. Remove to a clean plate; brown the other halves in the same way.

Cover and refrigerate turkey if not completing following steps within one hour.

Set the pot aside.


Use tongs to transfer re-hydrated chiles to a blender, leaving soaking liquid behind.

Taste soaking liquid, and, if it is not bitter, measure 2-1/2 cups into the blender. If it is, throw it away and measure 2-1/2 cups water.

Blend chiles to a smooth puree, adding a little extra water if necessary to keep mixture moving through the blades.

Press chile mixture through a medium-mesh strainer back into a mixing bowl.

Without washing blender jar, scrape tomatillo mixture into it. Add 1 cup water, along with cinnamon, black pepper, anise, cloves, bread and chocolate.

Blend to a smooth puree, again adding water as necessary to keep mixture moving.

Press through the strainer back into the tomatillo mixture.


If there is more than a light coating of fat on the bottom of the pot, pour off the excess; if the pot is dry, film the bottom with a little more oil.

Set pot over medium-high heat. When hot, add chile puree and stir frequently until mixture has darkened considerably and thickened to the consistency of tomato paste, 10 to 15 minutes. Add tomatillo puree and continue stirring until, once again, mixture has thickened to the consistency of tomato paste, another 5 to 10 minutes.

Add 6 cups water to the pot and stir to thoroughly combine. Partially cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes.

Check the consistency: mole should be thick enough to coat a spoon. If it's too thin, simmer it over medium to medium-high heat until a little thicker; if too thick, stir in a little water.

Taste and season with salt and sugar.


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lay turkey breasts into molé. Cover cooking vessel and place in oven. Cook until an instant-read thermometer, placed in the center of the turkey breast, registers 165 degrees F.

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

Slice the turkey 1/2-inch thick and arrange slices slightly overlapping on warm plate.

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.


Ladle a generous amount (1/3 to 1/2 cup) of mole over or around turkey slices and sprinkle with reserved sesame seeds.

Garnish with sprigs of watercress or parsley.