My Aunt Consuelo’s Mole de Olla

mole de olla

Submitted by MariCarmen Ortíz Conway

I find one-pot meals like this mole de olla—and also like Dominican sancocho or Puerto Rican arroz con pollo—to be the epitome of how practical and creative human beings can be. Mole de olla offers all you need for a complete meal in a bowl. It is economical, filling and so tasty.

All cultures have their ways of making stews. In Mexico, mole de olla is dearly loved but it is a stew that, unfortunately, hasn’t become popular abroad … yet.

Its name translates as mole in a pot, though it has little to do with the mole sauce so many people outside of Mexico equate with mole poblano—a delicious, super thick sauce made of dried chiles, seeds, nuts, spices, tomatoes, onion, garlic, chocolate, and numerous other ingredients ground together. 

As with many Mexican stews, the first step for a mole de olla is making a broth with the beef, along with onion, garlic and herbs. I particularly like to add fresh mint to mine. The meat is cooked until it is practically falling apart, and the broth is as flavorful as can be. The simmered herbs and veggies are then removed, as by then they will be extremely mushy and most of their flavor has already transferred to the broth.

The second step is to take that rich-tasting broth to a higher dimension of flavor. A seasoning sauce is made with ancho and pasilla chiles, toasted sesame seeds, and tomatoes. Usually, xoconostles (a very tart and sour fruit of the cactus plant) are used, but since they are quite hard to find in the U.S., I substitute tomatillos, which are tart and not as sour as xoconostles—but hey, they do the trick. The meat broth then simmers a second time as it marries with the seasoning sauce, adding so much depth of flavor: a gentle but addicting heat, a lovely acidity and a whisper of nuttiness.

As the third step, fresh veggies are added: corn, zucchini, chayote squash, green beans. The veggies are cooked just until tender and crisp and, of course, full of flavor.

This one-dish meal is typical of Puebla’s preparation and is inspired by the Spanish Andalusian region puchero or stew. Lo recomiendo—I recommend you make it, maybe this weekend? I also heartily recommend you serve your mole de olla acompañado by a good tequila reposado, which will complement the nutty flavors of the beef broth. Enjoy!

Ready to make my Aunt Consuelo’s Mole de Olla recipe?

My Aunt Consuelo’s Mole de Olla

5 from 1 vote
Recipe by MariCarmen Ortiz Conway Cuisine: Mexican
Servings

6

servings
Prep time

20

minutes
Cooking time

2

hours 

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs 3 boneless lean beef chuck, cut into 1.5 -inch cubes.

  • 1 1 beef shank with bone or chamberete con hueso, about ¾ lb

  • 8 cups 8 cold water

  • 1 Tbsp 1 salt

  • 1 sprig 1 epazote

  • 1 to 2 sprig 1 to 2 mint, optional

  • 5 cloves 5 garlic

  • 3 3 chiles anchos

  • 2 2 chiles pasilla

  • 3 3 roma tomatoes

  • 1/2 1/2 onion, peeled and quartered

  • 1 clove 1 garlic (optional), for chile salsa in blender

  • 2 Tbsp 2 oil

  • 1 1 chayote, peeled and cut in 6 pieces

  • 2 ears 2 corn, each cut in 3 chunks

  • 1 lb 1 zucchini, cut into large chunks

  • 4 oz 4 green beans

Directions

  • Place the two kinds of beef in a large pot or pressure cooker and cover with water, garlic, salt, mint (if you are using it) and the sprig of epazote. Cook at a medium-low simmer until the meat is tender—about an hour.
  • Discard the seeds and membranes of the chiles. Roast the chiles and the tomatoes in the oven for about 15 minutes at 400°.
  • Place the roasted chiles and tomatoes in a blender. Add the onion and 1 more clove of garlic (optional). Blend thoroughly.
  • Heat the oil in a skillet and add the blended chile salsa puree. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.
  • Add this puree to the water with the two types of stewed beef. Add more salt, if you wish, to taste. Cook covered for 30 min
  • Add the chayote and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Add corn, zucchini and green beans. Cook 10 more minutes.
  • It’s ready! Serve VERY HOT, accompanied by tortillas.

Notes

  • I particularly like to add fresh mint to my mole de olla. It wakes up the flavors and brightens the sabores of this beloved stew.
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