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Got Turkey? Try Mole!

November 24, 2014
Discovering Mexican Cooking (1958) by Alice Erie Young and Patricia Peteres Stephenson. UTSA Libraries Special Collections.

Discovering Mexican Cooking (1958) by Alice Erie Young and Patricia Peteres Stephenson. UTSA Libraries Special Collections.

Young, Alice Erie. and Patricia Peters Stephenson. Discovering Mexican Cooking. San Antonio, TX: The Naylor Company, 1958. TX716 .M4 Y6 1958

For most of the year, turkey is not frequently found on dinner tables in  the United States. However, on Thanksgiving, it is a rare household that does not serve roast turkey (or at least tofurkey). And that means there will be millions Americans trying to figure out what to do with a mountain of leftover turkey this Friday. As a solution, may I suggest the following recipe for Mole.

From a 1958 cookbook published here in San Antonio, this recipe is presented in two parts: first, a basic multi-purpose red chile sauce is prepared, and then that base is supplemented with with spices for flavoring, bread and tostadas as thickening agents, and just a whiff of chocolate.  The use of tostadas (rather than simply tortillas) may speak to this book’s South Texas origin, as might the use of peanut butter rather than sesame seeds. Caraway seeds, too, are a somewhat unusual addition to the standard cinnamon and cloves.

For those interested in seeing more historic mole recipes, see these posts on recipes from from La Cocinera Poblana (1887) and Manual del Cocinero (1906). And if you still have turkey left next Monday, check back here to see the fruits of Casa Navarro’s mole-making experiments!

Red Chile Sauce (p. 25)

  • 1/2 T. fat
  • 1 T. flour
  • 2 T. chile powder or 1 cup chile paste [1]
  • 1 cup canned tomatoes, strained
  • 1 t. vinegar
  • 2 cups, or 1 can beef or chicken broth
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, mashed
  • salt and pepper to taste

Brown fat and flour in saucepan. Add chile powder or chile paste, strained tomatoes, vinegar, broth, and stir until a smooth gravy mixture. Add onion and garlic. Season well. Simmer for about 3 minutes.


[1] In the introductory text preceding all the chile-based sauces, the authors note that “the most common kinds of chile peppers used in making fresh chile sauces are Chile ancho, Chile pasilla, and Chile mulato.” Although not stated specifically, the Red Chile Sauce recipe presumably is meant to be prepared with one of more of these varieties.

Mole Sauce (p. 26)

Mole is served over meat or fowl, especially turkey. To make Mole, add these ingredients to Red Chile Sauce, page 25.

Grind and stir until well blended:

  • 1/3 cup almonds
  • 1 T. peanuts or peanut butter
  • 2 t. caraway seed
  • 1/2 t. cloves
  • 1/3 stick cinnamon
  • 2 slices toast
  • 3 corn tostadas
  • 1 oz. bitter chocolate
  • 1 medium onion


  • 1/2 cup strained tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic, mashed

Simmer for 30 minutes until it is a thick sauce.



2 Comments leave one →
  1. litbirthdays permalink
    November 25, 2014 4:26 am

    Excellent! As I struggle through my translation of endless mole recipes in El Libro de Todos Los Moles, this will be my guide. The recipe seems very straightforward and easy. I notice that the “manteca” dilemma is solved with “fat” (to butter or to lard, that is the question).

    • Juli McLoone permalink
      November 25, 2014 7:46 am

      In my experience, manteca usually seems to indicate lard. However, I have noticed that Google Translate persistently translates it as butter. I had always assumed this to be an error, but I just checked the dictionary at and apparently manteca can sometimes translate as butter:

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