Creamy chicken enchiladas covered with a dried hibiscus or jamaica mole sauce. A celebratory recipe for Dia de los Muertos.
The main dish for our Dia de los Muertos celebration had to be a real stunner, so I thought long and hard about what I would bring to Meg’s house for the party. I’d been mulling around a flor de jamaica or hibiscus mole for a long time and it wasn’t until I actually set out to make it that it all came together.
How To Make Jamaica (or Hibiscus) Mole Sauce
Real-deal enchiladas are a bit of a beast in and of themselves so I wanted to make as paired down of a mole as possible, technically speaking. Most moles require several stages of toasting, frying, soaking, and blending to bring out the utmost flavor from all the ingredients. You’ll still find that here but in maybe a more familiar form. I didn’t want to toast the chiles (as you would normally do for a mole) so I simply soaked them in hot water, along with the prunes which give the mole an underlying spicy sweetness and body without overpowering the floral jamica and pear flavors.
The aromatics too are held back from the high, dry heat of the comal and instead fried in a little oil until soft and caramelized. Instead of the warm spices of clove and cinnamon I opted for fresh ginger and in place of any tomato or tomatillo I used ripe, juicy pears.
The king of this mole is really the Jamaica. These burgundy red flowers have such a unique, special flavor and are so emblematic of Mexico. They have a high, brightness that seems right at home in this meal.
For more Day of the Dead inspiration with DIY floral altar ideas from This Mess Is Ours, the entire menu—including the ultimate Mexican Chocolate Pie from Salt and Wind— drink ideas, and more check out this post!
All Photos Courtesy of This Mess Is Ours
For the Chicken:
- 1 (4-5 pound) whole chicken, neck and giblets removed and rinsed
- 2 medium yellow onions, sliced
- 1/3 cup dried Jamaica flowers, rinsed
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup Mexican crema or sour cream
For the Mole Sauce:
- 1 ounce dried Morita chiles (about 8 chiles) stemmed and seeded
- 1 ounce dried cascabelle chiles, (about 6 chiles) stemmed and seeded
- 2 ounces dried pitted prunes (about 4 prunes)
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, diced
- 1-inch piece ginger, chopped
- 1 cup dried Jamaica flowers (hibiscus) rinsed
- ½ cup toasted pecans
- 1 pound ripe pears (about 3 medium), peeled and diced
For the Enchiladas:
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 12-14 corn tortillas
- thinly sliced red onion
- queso fresco
- The first thing you’ll want to do is poach the chicken for the enchiladas. Place chicken in a large stock pot. Add onions, Jamaica flowers, garlic, ginger, salt, and bay leaves. Fill with water until it covers chicken by 2 inches.
- Place pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer and let cook until chicken is falling off the bone, at least 1 hour.
- Remove chicken from broth and let sit until cool enough to handle. Once chicken is cool, remove all skin and bones and shred the meat. This can be done up to 3 days in advance.
- Strain broth into a heatproof container. Remove bay leaves from the strainer and combine the rest of the ingredients in the strainer with the shredded chicken. Reserve broth for the mole sauce if making right away or store in sealable container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Broth can also be frozen for up to 6 months.
- To make the mole sauce; bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Place chiles and prunes in a medium heatproof bowl and pour boiling water over them. Leave to soak until very soft, about 20-30 minutes. Drain.
- Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once shimmering, add onions and season with salt. Fry until starting to brown, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook a couple minutes more. Add Jamaica flowers and pears, season again with salt. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are caramelized and soft.
- In three batches in a blender, add a third of the chiles and prunes, a third of the sautéed vegetables, a third of the toasted pecans, and about 1 cup of chicken broth. Blend on high until very smooth. Transfer to a bowl and repeat until all ingredients are blended. You will have extra broth which you
- Taste mole sauce and add more salt if needed. Set aside if making enchiladas right away or cover tightly and refrigerate for up to a week. Mole can also be frozen for up to 3 months.
- To make the enchiladas: Heat oven to 400°F. Stir cream into shredded chicken mixture and set aside. Have a large plate and a 9 x 13-inch baking dish or large baking sheet ready.
- Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once shimmering, carefully add mole sauce (it will spatter!!) and stir, frying the sauce in the oil until toasted and the color has darkened, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat and keep sauce at a simmer.
- Heat remaining oil in a separate large frying pan over medium heat. The oil needs to be shimmering and roughly about 325°F. If you have a thermometer, great, use it! If not stick one edge of a tortilla in the oil, bubbles should surround the tortilla within a few seconds; if not, wait a bit longer for the oil to heat up.
- Once oil is hot enough, carefully slide one tortilla in the oil and fry on one side until toasted around the edges, about 1-2 minutes. Flip and cook the other side 1-2 minutes more.
- Using tongs, slide the fried tortilla into the simmering mole sauce. Flip tortilla around until coated with sauce. Transfer to the baking sheet. Fill with about ¼ cup of the chicken filling, roll up and place enchilada, seam-side down in the baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
- Spoon remaining mole sauce over enchiladas and bake until bubbly and crispy on the edges, about 15 minutes.
- Sprinkle with onions and cheese and serve.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 732Total Fat: 52gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 35gCholesterol: 145mgSodium: 1677mgCarbohydrates: 54gFiber: 8gSugar: 17gProtein: 18g