Table of Contents
- Who Invented Mole?
- What Is Mole Sauce Made Of?
- What Does Mole Sauce Taste Like?
- Ready to Quit Reading and Start making Mole Enchiladas?
Making authentic Mexican mole sauce from scratch takes a lot of time and effort. Some mole recipes can even take up to 3 days to make…
Can’t spare 3 days? Or just don’t want to? This delicious mole enchiladas recipe simplifies the whole process without sacrificing taste.
The key is DOÑA MARÍA Mole. I’ve sometimes been able to find this brand at Publix and Aldi, but it’s not consistently on the shelves, which is why I purchase from Amazon if I can’t buy it elsewhere.
1 jar allows me to make 3 rounds of mole enchiladas (cover & refrigerate jar after opening).
The first time I tasted the rich dark velvety texture of mole enchiladas was at Javier’s Mexican Restaurant inside the Aria resort in Las Vegas. After that trip, I knew I needed more mole in my life.
Who Invented Mole?
Like most complex foods steeped in history, there are a lot of origin stories.
One popular legend finds its roots in Puebla, Mexico at the Convent of Santa Clara during the colonial period. This legend claims that some nuns (or a single nun, depending on the story source) panicked when an unexpected archbishop paid them a visit and they had nothing to special to serve. Naturally, they did what any panicking cook would do. Threw every spice they had on hand into a pot and the miracle of mole was born.
Another version replaces the nun(s) with a 16th century monk frantically preparing a meal for the archbishop when a rogue wind came and blew a tray full of spices over the turkeys cooking over the fire.
Puebla claims to be the regional origin source for mole, but Oaxaca also stakes its claim that mole originated in their region.
Some skeptics believe that mole is way too complex for either of these origin stories. Some food historians trace the origins of Mexican mole to Spain and from there source the rich spicy sauce all the way back to ancient Persia.
Whether by mistake, miraculous intervention, religion and/or trade routes, I think we can all agree that we’re grateful for the existence of mole however it came to be.
What Is Mole Sauce Made Of?
Mole sauce comes in a wide variety of types and colors. There are 6 common types of mole—mole negro, mole rojo, mole coloradito, mole amarillo, mole verde, and mole estofado—but some historians believe there are as many as 10. Generally speaking, moles are made from blends of dried chiles, spices, fruits, and seasonings with at least 20 different ingredients.
The special Aztec ingredient in Mexican mole sauce is xocolatl – the Aztec word for chocolate.
What Does Mole Sauce Taste Like?
With there being so many types of mole, each one tastes a bit different. The DOÑA MARÍA Mole brand I use contains fermented chocolate, chilies, and peanuts resulting in a thick, velvety sauce that has dark spicy notes without being overwhelmingly hot. The texture is thick, like frosting, but spreadable. You can always add in a little more broth or water if you want to thin it out a bit.
If you want a spicier result for your mole enchiladas sauce, add in your favorite hot spices to bring up the heat and bolden the flavor.
I enjoy making mole sauce to serve over enchiladas and burritos, but it’s also often used as a sauce marinade for chicken, turkey, or pork.
Ready to Quit Reading and Start making Mole Enchiladas?
Cue the music and take a relaxing breath––it’s time to make a night in taste like a night out…
- 1 large skillet for rice
- 3 medium-sized saucepans for mole sauce, enchilada sauce, & beans
For Mole Sauce
- 1/4 cup Dona Maria Mole Paste
- 1 cup chicken (or vegetable) broth
- 1 box Spanish Rice Rice-A-Roni Brand is tasty
- 2 cups water
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes, undrained
For Refried Beans
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup onion, (yellow or white) finely diced
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 tsp chili powder
- 1/8 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp cilantro
- 1 15 oz can of pinto or black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 tbsp fresh lime juice
For Enchilada Sauce
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp self-rising flour
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 1 8 oz can of tomato sauce
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp onion salt
- 1 package corn tortillas The Mission "Super Soft" brand is usually what I use.
- 3 cups shredded cheese
Start by Making the Rice First
- Whether you're using your own Spanish rice recipe or a boxed version like Rice-A-Roni, I recommend making this ingredient first since it takes the longest and you can work on additional fillings & sauces while it simmers.1 box Spanish Rice
- For Rice-A-Roni Spanish rice, in a large skillet, combine rice-vermicelli mix and butter. Sauté over medium heat until vermicelli is golden brown, stirring frequently.2 tbsp butter
- Slowly stir in water and Special Seasonings packet then add the 14 1/2 can diced tomatoes; bring to a boil.2 cups water, 1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes, undrained
- Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer 20 minutes or until rice is tender. When finished, stir and then cover while you work on additional fillings and sauces.
While Rice Is Simmering, Begin Making Refried Beans
- If you want to simplify this step, you can use a can of ready-made refried beans (I used to use Amy's brand), but if you have the time, making them yourself is worth the effort.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the olive oil. While it heats, finely chop the onion. Add onion and salt to saucepan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened and are turning translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes. Begin draining and rinsing the beans. I hold the can under the faucet to rinse until all the bubbles are gone. Using the lid to cover the can, I give them a shake and then rinse one more time until all bubbles are gone and then drain. This extra step helps to minimize any bloating or other "bean-related" issues.1/2 tbsp olive oil, 1/4 cup onion, (yellow or white) finely diced, 1/8 tsp salt
- Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and cilantro. Cook, stirring frequently until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour in the drained beans and water. Stir, cover then cook for 5 minutes.1 clove garlic, minced, 1/4 tsp chili powder, 1/8 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp cilantro, 1/4 cup water, 1 15 oz can of pinto or black beans, rinsed and drained
- Reduce the heat to low and remove the lid. Using a potato masher (or the back of a fork) mash up the beans, until you reach your desired texture and consistency. I like mine fairly smooth for spreading on the tortillas. Continue to cook the beans, uncovered, stirring often, for 3 more minutes.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the lime juice. Taste, and add more salt and lime juice if you like. If the beans seem too dry to spread, add a very small splash of water and stir to combine. Cover until you’re ready to use.1/2 tbsp fresh lime juice
Once the Rice & Beans Have Cooked, Make the Red Enchilada Sauce
- As with the other ingredients, you can buy ready-made enchilada sauce to use instead of making your own, but if you have time, this version makes for more flavorful enchiladas.
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in flour and chili powder, reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring constantly with a whisk to prevent burning the flour.1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tbsp self-rising flour, 1/4 cup chili powder
- Gradually stir in tomato sauce, water, cumin, garlic powder, and onion salt into the mixture until smooth and continue cooking over medium heat, approximately 10 minutes, or until thickened slightly.1 8 oz can of tomato sauce, 1 1/2 cups water, 1/4 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp onion salt
Make the Mole Sauce (I like to save making the mole until last because it continues to thicken the longer it sets, and you want to be able to spread /drizzle it over the enchiladas.)
- Scoop out the Dona Maria Mole paste. I use a butter knife to slice into the paste inside the jar, wiggling it about to allow the liquid to fully saturate, and then lift out the amount I'm going to use.1/4 cup Dona Maria Mole Paste
- In a medium saucepan, combine the mole paste with chicken (or vegetable) broth. Mix the ingredients together over low heat until no clumps. I use a whisk but a fork also works.1 cup chicken (or vegetable) broth
- Bring to a boil and cook for 4 minutes stirring constantly. Then reduce back to low heat. The consistency should be thick, but spreadable, like a frosting.
Assemble the Enchiladas
- Preheat Oven to 350 degrees
- Pour a thin layer of the red enchilada sauce into the bottom of your 9 x 13-inch glass or ceramic pan. Begin filling the corn tortillas beginning by spreading a thin layer of the refried beans, followed by a small scoop of rice, then finally topping with a sprinkle of shredded cheese. There's no wrong way to do this, but just remember to not overfill so you can roll the tortillas without them cracking.1 package corn tortillas, 3 cups shredded cheese
- Roll up the tortilla and place in the pan with the tortilla edges facing down to help hold the rolled enchilada together. Immediately spoon red enchilada sauce on top to help seal it. Repeat filling, rolling, and sealing your tortillas until all the enchiladas are in the pan. I slide and squinch the enchiladas together as I go, so I can usually get 13-14 in the pan, 10 going one way and 4 more in the leftover space in the dish.
- Once all the enchiladas are in place, cover them with the mole sauce. Finally, top with the remaining shredded cheese. You're ready to bake!
- Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
- Let enchiladas stand for 10 minutes.
- Garnish with your favorite additions and condiments like salsa, sour cream, or avocado slices. Enjoy!