• Yield: Serves 4

I absolutely love the flavor and aroma of real Mexican mole. It has an exotic quality to it from the nuts, chiles, spices, and bitter Mexican chocolate. The result is a deeply complex sauce that is rich, multidimensional, and unforgettable. I know the ingredient list looks long and intimidating, but I think you’ll agree that the results are worth the effort. Save this recipe for a special dinner with family or friends. I like to serve this dish over steamed rice with plenty of fresh cilantro and Spicy Marinated Onions.


  • 3 (6-inch) corn tortillas

  • 4 dried pasilla chiles, stemmed and seeded

  • 3 dried ancho chilies, stemmed and seeded

  • 1/2 cup dark raisins

  • 3 cups boiling water

  • 1 (3- to 4-pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more as needed

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • Olive oil

  • 2 small red onions, diced

  • 4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds

  • 1/4 cup hulled pumpkin seeds

  • 1/4 cup white sesame seeds

  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds

  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds

  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock

  • 1 large tomato, cored and coarsely chopped

  • 1 cup fresh orange juice

  • 2 strips orange zest, peeled with a vegetable peeler

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 2 discs (one 2.7-ounce package) Mexican chocolate

  • Juice of 1 lime Steamed rice, for serving

  • Chopped fresh cilantro, for serving

  • Spicy Marinated Onions (recipe follows)

Dinner Special book cover Michael Symon's Playing with Fire by Michael Symon


1. Build a nice big wood fire in a fireplace, fire pit, or grill.

2. Char the tortillas on both sides over the flames, about 2 minutes per side. When cool enough to handle, shred the tortillas into medium pieces. In a medium bowl, combine the tortillas, chiles, raisins, and boiling water. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 5 minutes for the chiles to soften. Strain and reserve the liquid. In a blender, combine the chile mixture and 3/4 cup of the reserved chile soaking liquid (discard the rest). Purée until smooth and set aside.

3. Pat the chicken pieces dry with paper towels and season liberally with the salt and black pepper.

4. When the wood has burned down to a nice hot bed of glowing embers, place a large cast-iron pot directly onto the coals. When the pot is hot, about 5 minutes, add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pot and brown the chicken on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a platter and set aside.

5. To the same pan, add the onions, garlic, and a pinch of salt and cook for 1 minute. Add the almonds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, coriander, oregano, and cumin and cook for 1 minute. Add the stock, tomato, orange juice, and chile purée and bring to a simmer.

6. Carefully pour the contents of the pan into a blender, purée until smooth, and return it to the pan. Add the orange zest, cinnamon stick, and chicken and cook, uncovered, until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160°F at the meaty part of the leg, about 45 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

7. Remove the pan from the heat, discard the orange zest and cinnamon stick, and stir in the chocolate and lime juice. Carefully pull and shred the chicken meat (discarding the skin and bones), return it to the pot, and stir to combine.

8. Serve over steamed rice with cilantro and spicy marinated onions.

Spicy Marinated Onions


  • 3/4 cup fresh orange juice

  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice

  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced

  • 2 jalapeños, thinly sliced into rings Kosher salt


In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice and lime juice. Add the onion and jalapeños and stir to combine. Season with salt, cover with plastic wrap, and allow the onion to soften and marinate until needed. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Reprinted from Michael Symon’s Playing With Fire. Copyright © 2018 by Michael Symon. Photographs copyright © 2018 by Ed Anderson. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.