Cheater Chicken Mole

It was a lovely Sunday in central Virginia.  Spring has sprung and Easter is on the way.   Lamb is a traditional Easter food in many families.  In my family we usually have ham so I decided to make lamb chops for Palm Sunday.   So now you’re confused about the title of this post.  Well, I forgot to take the lamb chops out of the freezer so, given that I had a bag of easy to thaw shredded chicken in the freezer, I decided to make the chicken mole that I planned for later in the week.  That brings us to the cheater chicken mole.

I call it cheater mole because authentic mole is incredibly complex and requires much more time than I’m willing to devote.  This is a recipe from Ingrid Hoffman’s Simply Delicioso on the Food Network and I think it’s pretty good.  I’m no mole expert.  In fact, I rarely order it in restaurants and I don’t know anyone who makes it.  (If you do, please share your recipe)!  Still, I know what I like and I like this.  It took me about an hour to make, but I didn’t organize myself at all so it’s probably more like a 40 minute recipe if you read it all the way through and grab all the ingredients before you start.  I made one substitution and a few omissions so I’ve altered the recipe below to reflect my changes.  Click on the recipe title to see Ingrid’s original.  I used craisins instead of raisins and I used about 1/2 cup instead of the full cup in the original recipe.  I omitted most of the garnishes.  I think the crushed peanut garnish is weird.  I didn’t feel like zesting an orange.  I completely forgot about the sesame seeds.

A couple of notes that might help if you decide to make this.  Be careful about putting hot ingredients in a blender.  You need to leave yourself plenty of room so the blender doesn’t spew hot liquid all over you.  Unless your blender is bigger than mine you’ll want to do this in two batches.  Also, it takes about 10-12 minutes of stirring for the chocolate to fully melt into the sauce.  That will be the case regardless of whether you use block unsweetened chocolate or cocoa powder.  It may look like the chocolate is stirred in, but the sauce will still be much more red than brown.  Just keep stirring.  You’ll know it’s done when the sauce is fully brown.

That brings us to the serving.  I served it over rice because I didn’t have any tortillas and it needed a mild base to balance the heat.  The mole is dark and a little earthy in flavor.  The avocado and cilantro bring the perfect touch of buttery goodness and fresh greenness.  A squeeze of lime juice over the top and YUM! I’d definitely make this again.

I also made a salad of butter lettuce, sectioned oranges, avocado, onion, cilantro and lime juice.  Top with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.  No dressing necessary!

Good? Pretty darn good!
Easy? Not exactly.
Good for company? You bet. You can do this ahead and just heat it up!
Special shopping? Nope. And a great use for leftover chicken.

Cheater Chicken Mole


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 chipotle pepper with 1 teaspoon adobo sauce from can (or more to taste), chopped
  • 1/2 cup craisins
  • 2 cups canned chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1  ounce unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 cups chicken, cooked and shredded
  • Fresh cilantro, for serving
  • Lime wedges, for serving
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced, for serving
  • Cooked rice, for serving


Place a pot over medium heat and coat with the oil. Add the onion and garlic, stirring to soften for 5 minutes. Add the chipotle with adobo, raisins, and tomatoes, stirring to combine. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

Carefully pour the mixture into a blender. Add the peanut butter, broth, chili powder, and cinnamon. Puree the mixture until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Return the mixture to the pot over medium heat. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chocolate and stir until melted. Add the shredded chicken and heat through.

Transfer the mole to a serving dish.  Serve with cilantro, lime, avocado, and tortillas or rice.


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