Wild Turkey Mole

FullSizeRenderMole sauce is a strangely ubiquitous term in the cooking world. I like to equate it to “gravy” in the English language. Mole can be green, red, brown and black – with all sorts of shades of “grandmas favorite” tossed in (Los favoritos de la abuela). Mole is usually a mix of chilies pureed with onion, garlic and corn tortillas. Endless varieties exist per the flavors and norms of certain regions. Oaxaca mole is nearly black. Many describe mole as the “peanut butter and chocolate” sauce, and that is sometimes true. The sauce has a huge flavor and adds a depth quite a few dishes. Not being of Mexican/ Spanish heritage I tend to make a white guy mole at home. I have no grandma recipe to work with here. In fact, my grandma would have never eaten this being an Oklahoma “meat and ‘tatos” woman. So, to make mole, I cheat.

Why? Because I do not regularly have the necessary ingredients on hand to make a traditional mole. Nevertheless, I do usually have the items to make a pho-mole. I start with a base of enchilada sauce, the red stuff in a can. It provides a solid base of flavors that I can add onto quickly. Next, I add a few other items in a blender and puree. The sauce is ready to use almost immediately. I like to sear my meat – generally a turkey or chicken legs – while I make the sauce. By the time the meat is brown in the pan the mole can be poured over the top.

Turkey Mole

1 tablespoon canola oil

2 wild turkey thighs, deboned

Salt and Pepper


1 16 ounce can enchilada sauce

1 tablespoon cumin

1 teaspoon cinnamon

¼ cup coco powder

1/8 cup peanut butter

2 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon chili powder

2 each corn tortillas, 6 inch

Heat a heavy bottomed 10-inch saucepan on medium. Add the canola oil to the pan, season the turkey thighs with salt and pepper. Next add the turkey thighs to the pan and brown on both sides. About 4 minutes per side. The more brown, the darker the brown, the better.

While the meat is browning, add the remaining ingredients to a blender and puree until smooth. The sauce will be darker and thick now. Turn the pan with the turkey legs to low. Add the sauce to the pan with the turkey legs. Cover pan with lid and let simmer, stirring occasionally, until fork tender (for a Jake that might be an hour for an old Tom maybe 2 hours). Add water – ¼ cup at a time as needed with older birds if the sauce starts to stick to the bottom of the pan.

When tender shred the meat with a fork in the pan. At this point you can serve the turkey mole with corn or flour tortillas and the “traditional” accompaniments of onions, peppers, cabbage and rice. For added flavor I like to grill my onions, peppers and tortilla shells for my mole.


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