Mole Verde y Pollo

SAR president James F. Brooks first moved to Santa Fe in the early 1970s, working in restaurant kitchens like that of (then quite modest) La Posada Hotel. A life-long "foodie," Brooks often prepares meals in the Schwartz Seminar House for fellows, board members, and staff as a way of showing appreciation for the generosity of spirit that keeps SAR thriving. This mole recipe is a favorite.

One mess of skin-on, bone-in chicken. (In true New Mexico style, the words pollo and chicken will be used interchangeably.) About 4 lbs feeds eight hearty eaters. While preparing the sauce, bake or grill the mess of pollo.

2 C
3 Tbs
2 C
6 to 8
roasted & salted pumpkin seeds
whole cloves
allspice berries
cinnamon stick
lard or canola oil
chicken broth, divided
garlic cloves, roughly chopped
tomatillos, charred, peeled, and roughly chopped
serrano chiles, seeded and roughly chopped
romaine lettuce leaves, roughly chopped
large bunch cilantro, divided, trimmed of thick stems, and roughly chopped, about 1 1/2 cups tightly packed
Water as necessary at end of process
Design 3


Put the first five ingredients into an ungreased, iron skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until they become a deep golden color, about 5 minutes. Enjoy the aroma and take care not to let them burn.

When the mixture is cool, grind to a coarse meal in a molino or food mill. Transfer to a bowl and stir in 1 C of the chicken broth to make a thick paste.

Mole Verde IngredientsMole Verde Ingredients
Mole Verde Ingredients
Mole Verde y PolloMole Verde y Pollo
Mole Verde y Pollo

Heat about 3 Tbs of the lard or oil in a heavy dutch oven, then add the seed paste and fry over medium-low heat, scraping the bottom of the pan constantly to avoid sticking. If necessary, add a little more fat until paste is dry, shiny, and a rich, deep golden color.

Put the second cup of the chicken broth into a blender. (Unless you have a large blender, you may need to blend the greens in two batches, but try to use the minimum of liquid.) Add the garlic, tomatillos, 1/2 cilantro, and chiles and blend until fairly smooth (but not too much. I like the occasional crunch). Gradually add half of the romaine at a time, blending after each addition.

Gradually stir the blended ingredients into the fried seed paste over medium heat, stirring well after each addition.

Continue cooking over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the sauce starts to reduce and thicken, about 10 minutes.

Cook for an additional 10 minutes, adding water if necessary to reach your preferred consistency.

I like to serve the mole on the side, or you can pour it over the chicken in a roasting pan and cook for about 10 minutes to get everything up to serving heat. I like to serve this dish with white rice and a bit of fresh cilantro tossed in for color. Great to sop up the mole.

From James F. Brooks, SAR President and CEO

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