Why This Recipe Works: Mole sauce is a rich blend of chocolate, dried fruit, nuts, spices, and chiles. Add in the rich flavor of dried figs for a twist on mole sauce recipes to add to your repertoire. This riff is great for weeknights or to make any night festive.
Mole in a Flash
An authentic mole has complex layers of flavor and an extensive ingredient list, but we found that we could get surprising depth of flavor in much less time with a combination of chili powder, chipotle chiles (which are smoked jalapeños), and peanut butter. Simmering the chiles, spices, and chocolate developed their flavors even more.
Using Dried Figs in Mole Sauce
Figs accentuated the chiles’ flavor and added a subtle sweetness. We used Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid Mission California Dried Figs for their depth of sweetness, but you could always use California Golden Dried Figs.
A Cooking Tip to Keep Things Smooth
Downsizing to a 10-inch skillet prevented the sauce from burning. For a smooth, velvety texture, we processed the sauce in a blender, then poured it over chicken breasts and baked them until they were tender and flavorful. Take care not to burn the spice and chocolate mixture in step 2; add a small splash of water or broth to the skillet if it begins to scorch. If using kosher chicken, do not brine. If brining the chicken, do not season with salt in step 3.
Chicken with Fig Mole Sauce
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 small onion , chopped fine
- 1/2 ounce bittersweet, semisweet, or Mexican chocolae , chopped coarse
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch ground cloves
- 1 garlic clove , minced
- 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
- 1 tomato , cored, seeded + chopped
- 1/4 cup Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Mission Figs , stemmed and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds , toasted, plus extra for serving
- Salt and pepper
- Granulated sugar
- 2 (12 ounce) bone-in split chicken breasts , skin removed, trimmed + brined if desired
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Heat oil in 10-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Reduce heat to medium-low, stir in chocolate, chili powder, chipotle, cinnamon, and cloves; cook, stirring frequently, until spices are fragrant and chocolate is melted and bubbly, about 1 minute. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in broth, tomato, figs, peanut butter, and sesame seeds. Bring to simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is slightly thickened and reduced to about 1¾ cups, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer sauce to blender and process until smooth, about 30 seconds. Season with salt, pepper, and sugar to taste.
- Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Place chicken, skinned side down, in 8-inch square baking dish and pour pureed sauce over top, turning chicken to coat evenly. Bake chicken for 20 minutes. Flip chicken skinned side up and continue to bake until chicken registers 160 degrees, 15 to 25 minutes. Let chicken rest in sauce for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with extra sesame seeds and serve.