Chicken Mole

Chicken Mole

Chicken Mole, excerpted from The Whole Smiths Real Food Every Day © 2020 by Michelle Smith. Photography © 2020 by Michelle Smith and Jennifer Skog.

The Whole Smiths Real Food Every Day © 2020 by Michelle Smith.

Today, more than ever, people are looking to transition to a whole foods-based diet, aware of the health benefits of fresh foods over highly processed options.

Still, people are used to convenience and have busy schedules and little time to put a meal on the table. The Whole Smiths Real Food Every Day solves the problem of what’s for dinner during a hectic week.

With simple, accessible recipes that are designed to be made ahead, used for leftovers, or thrown into a slow cooker, families will be able to easily prepare healthy meals on a regular basis.

Chapters like Sheet Pan Recipes, One-Pot Wonders, Meal Prep, and Leftover Makeovers will guide readers in making the most of their time in the kitchen while delivering healthy recipes that can be made with minimal effort.

This follow-up to the best-selling The Whole Smiths Good Food Cookbook will also highlight which recipes are gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, and more, making it easy to prepare recipes to fit into any diet.

The Whole Smiths Real Food Every Day: Healthy Recipes to Keep Your Family Happy Throughout the Week is available at and  

Chicken Mole


Dairy-Free • Gluten-Free 

I knew when I decided to tackle this recipe that it would be a tall order. Mole is a traditional Mexican sauce in which meat is simmered and stewed. It has a complex flavour, and it’s either right or it’s wrong. Making mole often requires a long, tedious process to get the flavours just right. But thanks to modern kitchen technology, we can make it in the comfort of our own homes with less labour, in a fraction of the time. You can serve this mole over Oven-Roasted Cauliflower Rice (page 73), with corn tortillas, over baked sweet potatoes, in enchiladas…the options are nearly endless!

3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs    

6½ teaspoons salt, plus more if needed

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

2 whole cloves

¼ teaspoon coriander seeds

¼ teaspoon aniseed

¼ cup avocado oil

5 dried pasilla chiles, stemmed and seeded

4 dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded

½ medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped

2 garlic cloves, smashed

¼ cup blanched raw almonds

¼ cup raisins

2 tablespoons pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)

1 tablespoon coconut sugar

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

5 whole black peppercorns

2 corn tortillas, lightly charred and torn into pieces

1 canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, seeded

2 ounces dark chocolate (see Tip), chopped

3 cups chicken broth

Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish (optional)

Season the chicken thighs with 4 teaspoons of the salt and set aside.

Set the Instant Pot to the Sauté function on Normal. When the Instant Pot is hot, add the sesame seeds. Toast the sesame seeds, stirring frequently, until they are lightly browned, about 1 minute. Add the cloves, coriander, and aniseed. Toast the seeds and spices, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove the toasted seeds and spices from the Instant Pot and set aside.

Increase the Sauté setting to More and add the avocado oil to the pot. When the oil is hot, add the pasilla and ancho chiles. Fry them in the oil until they have softened a bit, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the chiles from the Instant Pot and set them aside with the toasted seeds.

Add the onion to the hot oil and cook, stirring, until tender, 6 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.

Return the toasted seeds and fried chiles to the Instant Pot. Add the almonds, raisins, pepitas, coconut sugar, cinnamon, peppercorns, tortillas, chipotle, chocolate, broth, 2 teaspoons salt, and the chicken thighs to the pot. Set the Instant Pot to Poultry on More, lock the lid into place, and cook for 60 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally.

Carefully remove the chicken and set aside. Working in batches, if necessary, carefully transfer the sauce from the Instant Pot to a blender and add the remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Blend on high speed until smooth. Taste and season with additional salt, if necessary. Return the sauce to the Instant Pot and set to Sauté. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened slightly. Return the chicken thighs to the Instant Pot and simmer for 5 minutes more to heat them through. Garnish with cilantro, if desired, and serve. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

TIP: Find the darkest chocolate possible for this recipe. I used an 86% cacao chocolate bar for this recipe and loved the results. You can also substitute 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder for the chocolate.

Excerpted from THE WHOLE SMITHS REAL FOOD EVERY DAY © 2020 by Michelle Smith. Photography © 2020 by Michelle Smith and Jennifer Skog. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.  

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