It was this dinner along our road trip from North Dakota to California that reignited my love of mole. I had reached out on Instagram for places to eat in Salt Lake City and decided to try the Red Iguana for dinner once we rolled into town.
“Their amazing moles are a must!” was all I needed to know. They have seven different moles that are always on the menu but the night we were there they were serving an eighth: strawberry mole. More specifically chicken crema enchiladas in strawberry mole. The mole was sweet, sure, but the sweetness was offset by a hidden spice and under layers of toasted nuts and caramelized onion. I added fruit mole to my list of things to do.
I have been intrigued by the yellow mole in Pati Jinich’s cookbook and wanted to incorporate it with a fruit mole using the fragrant, ripe peaches flooding the market right now. I spent half a day last week doing groundwork, reading everyone’s mole recipes from Enrique Olvera to Margarita Carrillo Arronte. Did you know that the mole served at Olvera’s restaurant Pujol is over 700 days old?!! He is taking the adage, better after it sits, to a whole new level.
For this mole I didn’t want to diminish the peach color or flavor with tomatoes or dried chiles so I hunted down all the yellow chiles I could find. White Jalapeños, also known as Jaloro Peppers or Yellow Jalapeños, are not as spicy as the green variety. Also sometime just called yellow peppers.
Hungarian Wax Peppers are also pretty mild. Fresh banana peppers make a good substitute.
Manzano Peppers are a sneaky bunch. They don’t seem spicy at first but they definitely pack a punch.
You can use a combination of any of these or any other yellow chiles you can find in your market. Yellow bell peppers would work too, but you will be lacking the spicy kick of these chiles.
Grilled peaches add a caramelized note to the mole, tomatillos for tartness, sesame seeds for body, clove and cinnamon for spice, cilantro for a hit of fresh, and onions and garlic for depth.
Once the mole is made you can do any number of things with it. I wanted to serve it with something grilled to celebrate summer and yellow mole with chicken and chayotes are a match made in heaven. Have you ever cooked with chayotes?
You can find them in the market with spines (let’s not get those) or without (easier). They taste a little bit like potato and a lot like zucchini and are marvelous on the grill. The skin is edible but can be kind of tough so I would peel them, rub with a little oil, salt, and pepper and grill until tender. Dip in lots of sweet, spicy, peach mole and repeat.
Summer's ripest peaches make a sweet and spicy mole sauce served with grilled chicken and chayotes.
Peach mole tastes better the day after it is made and will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
- 4 large ripe peaches (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut in half and pitted
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for brushing
- 8 ounces fresh yellow chiles, such as Hungarian, Manzanita, or Aji
- 1 small onion, peeled and halved
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 1/2 cups broth, your choice
- 2-3 large tomatillos (about 4 ounces), husks removed, washed, and quartered
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 whole clove
- 3 pounds chicken pieces, breast, legs, or thighs or 1 whole chicken cut into pieces
- 3 chayotes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
- Heat grill or grill pan to high.
- Brush peach halves, chiles, onion, and garlic with a little oil to prevent sticking. Place on the grill (you may have to do this in batches) and cook until charred, about 5 minutes. Flip and continue grilling until starting to soften, about 5 minutes more.
- Char the garlic in a dry skillet if you are using an outdoor grill to prevent it falling through the grates. Remove ingredients as they cook, for example the garlic will brown much quicker than the onion. Set ingredients aside until cool enough to handle. Once cool, remove stem, seeds, and tough skin from the chiles.
- If you are using a charcoal grill, cover grill after you char the veggies to keep the coals hot for grilling the chicken and chayotes.
- Now its time to blend. You want to blend all the ingredients until very smooth so the best way to do this is in small batches. Add the charred fruits and vegetables a little at a time with the remaining mole ingredients adding just enough broth with each batch to get the blender moving. Never fill the blender more than half full for each batch. Pour mole into a bowl after each batch and continue until all ingredients have been used.
- Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat in a large frying pan. Once oil is shimmering add mole (careful it will spatter) and stir to "fry" the sauce in the oil. Bring mole to a boil then reduce heat to a low simmer and season with salt. Start with a generous teaspoon of kosher salt and add a little more as needed.
- Cook until mole starts to thicken about 15 minutes. If serving mole right away, cover and simmer over very low heat until ready to serve. If you are making it ahead, let cool completely then transfer to a sealed container and refrigerate for up to a week.
- Check to make sure grill is still at medium-high heat; adding more charcoal to the grill if necessary.
- Coat chicken pieces in a little oil and season generously with salt and pepper.
- Place chicken on the grill and cover. Grill over medium to medium-high heat, skin-side down for at least 15 minutes without touching (keep the grill covered).
- Turn and continue cooking chicken until cooked through, about 15 minutes more.
- Meanwhile, coat chayote slices in oil and season with salt and pepper. Add chayote slices to the grill about halfway through the chicken cooking time. Grill on one side until grill marks form. Flip and cook on the other side until tender (about 15 minutes total).
- Remove chicken and chayote from the grill and serve with mole sauce.