Discover the mole poblano: the Mexican chocolate turkey

To continue revealing the culinary traditions of Christmas around the world, we have taken tickets for you to Mexico! Come and discover the country that mixes turkey and chocolate… in the same dish!

Summary

  • 1. Chocolate, long before mole poblano
  • 2. The genesis of the “mole…
  • …poblano” !
  • 3. Mole poblano with chestnuts, our “French” recipe
  • – The ingredients
  • – Preparation

25 degrees, clear skies, aperitifs and sunsets with your feet in the sand… The month of Mexican December seems so far from ours! However, on New Year’s Eve, these differences are eclipsed as families gather around large Christmas tables.

So, nothing else matters than enjoying those you love for a magical evening. Nothing else matters except maybe… what’s on the table, and on our plates! Seafood platter, foie gras, salmon, turkey, log: the Christmas meal is one of decadence! But culinary traditions are obviously not the same all over the world.

After discovering the history of Italian panettone , then the origins of gingerbread across Europe , discover a surprising new recipe: chocolate turkey from Mexico!

Come and taste the legendary origins of mole poblano , while savoring the historical anecdotes of its origins.

1. Chocolate, long before mole poblano

If mole poblano – the chocolate sauce usually poured over pieces of turkey – was born in the 17th century, the history linking Mexico and chocolate turns out to be much older.

Mole poblano, chocolate turkey

Photo credit: Shutterstock – NoirChocolate

You have to go back to the Olmec, Aztec and Mayan civilizations to understand the origin of its consumption. Coming from the Nahuatl language like guacamole , “xocolatl” as we know it does not yet exist. During this period, chocolate was consumed only as a drink and its taste was extremely bitter. Indeed, cocoa is only mixed with herbs and spices.

But already, its many “medicinal” properties are highlighted… so much so that the chocolate drink is considered a medicine! It was also believed at the time that cocoa was a gift from the gods.

Black gold:
For the Olmec civilizations, the cocoa bean is a real treasure. And for good reason, the latter cost… more than gold! Symbol of abundance par excellence, its aphrodisiac virtues and its stimulating effect were particularly appreciated by Olmec warriors.

Later, the arrival of great European explorers such as Christopher Columbus or Hernan Cortés will promote the arrival of this drink in Europe. Over the years, its composition will change. From a very bitter and spicy set, the chocolate will become much sweeter, with the addition of sugar and then milk.

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Long prepared only in convents, chocolate is therefore the basis of our story, just as it is in the sauce of the Mexican “chocolate turkey”.

2. The genesis of the “mole…

Mole poblano

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Marcos Castillo

Many are the legends that surround the creation of this mythical dish that is mole poblano , considered today by some as the most representative dish of Mexico. If each of these versions diverge, they nevertheless overlap on many points in common.

The most popular version of them reveals a tale worthy of Christmas movies. Here we are then immersed in the dawn of the 17th century, when convents flourished all over the Mexican territory. One convent in particular, that of Santa Rosa, is at the center of the story.

While the Archbishop and Viceroy of Mexico Tomás Antonio de la Serna y Aragón was passing through Puebla, he fell under the spell of the small Mexican village, which has now become a veritable metropolis. Located about a hundred kilometers north of Mexico City, the one nicknamed Puebla de los Angeles should be a must during your next trips to Mexico. Moreover, its historic center happens to be classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as its architecture is a delight.

Puebla, Mexico

Cathedral and alley in Puebla, Mexico – Photo credits: Shutterstock – Luis I. Sanchez & Diego Grandi

Won over by the narrow streets of this village, the archbishop decided to stay there for a few days, in the convent of Santa Rosa. Hungry, he warns the nuns of his imminent arrival, and asks that the best of their dishes be served to him. Surprised and totally disoriented, the latter appeal to the only one of them who really masters culinary associations: Andrea de la Asunción .

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Thus, the Dominican has the cupboards in the kitchen emptied, the better to see that they are almost empty. Before her eyes, only spices and peppers appear… So she sets about preparing a sauce, called mulli , or “mole” that she will serve to accompany a turkey from the convent gardens. As the preparation draws to a close, one of the Franciscans in the convent stumbles while putting away the spices.

…poblano » !

In his clumsiness, he spills hot pepper in the preparation of the young Andrea, suddenly making the dish much too spicy. Realizing that it was impossible to serve this dish to the Archbishop, Andrea then had

“the” revelation: add the sweetness of the chocolate to counter balance with the excess pepper.

Mole Poblano

Revisiting the “mole poblano” way chicken enchilladas & Convent of Izimal, one of the most famous in Mexico – Photo credit: Shutterstock – Larisa Blinova & Schaub

Indeed remember: at the time, chocolate was almost exclusively made in convents! So, the Dominican nun does not hesitate for a second, sure of her idea and the balance of tastes. No time to taste his new mole as the Archbishop is already at the table.

Then the young woman places two pieces of turkey on a plate accompanied by a little rice. She covers everything with this chili and chocolate sauce, then sprinkles the plate with a few sesame seeds to make it seem less bland. Results ? The viceroy is satisfied, and asks that this dish be served to him every day, for a week!

He would also, upon his return to the kingdom, establish the reputation of this dish, which has since become one of the festive dishes in Mexico. Chocolate turkey has been eaten for many decades on holidays, whether Christmas or the “Day of the Dead”, an extremely symbolic holiday for Mexicans.

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This version of the story is inevitably disputed, perhaps jealous in view of the notoriety of the dish. The names of the protagonists diverge, as well as the will or not to incorporate chocolate into the recipe. However, the city of Puebla, the presence of an archbishop and the recipe of the convent seem to be points common to each of these versions.

3. Mole poblano with chestnuts, our French recipe

Mole Poblano

Photo credit: Shutterstock – VG Foto & Dasha Petrenko

Ingredients

  • 1 beautiful turkey
  • 500g natural chestnuts
  • 10 poblano peppers
  • 10 mulato peppers
  • 5 pasilla peppers
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 2 chopped onions
  • 100g of almonds
  • 100g sesame seeds
  • 4 peeled tomatoes
  • 2 tortillas fried in oil and cut into pieces
  • 2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 5 cloves
  • 40g dark chocolate (preferably Mexican)
  • 200g of butter
  • This
  • Pepper

The preparation

  • Clean and cook the turkey in boiling water; continue the preparation during the cooking time;
  • Cut the peppers and cook for one hour in boiling water;
  • Once cooked, save the water and discard the stems and seeds;
  • Mix the peppers, garlic, onions, almonds, peeled tomatoes, tortillas, cinnamon, cloves, salt and pepper;
  • Add sparingly the soaking water for the peppers, half a liter of broth and let everything thicken, leaving it in your saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly so that the sauce takes on a nice appearance;
  • Once the turkey is cooked in boiling water, cut it up and finish cooking in butter in a large pot;
  • In another saucepan, put your chestnuts to cook in a previously buttered pan;
  • Incorporate your “mole” sauce into the pot, add broth to your liking, and incorporate the chocolate. When the latter is melted, your sauce will be ready;
  • Serve your turkey and its “mole poblano” sauce, and accompanied by your cooked chestnuts. Sprinkle with some sesame seeds.

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Mohamed SAKHRI
Mohamed SAKHRI

I am Mohamed SAKHRI, the creator and editor-in-chief of this blog, 'Discover the World – The Blog for Curious Travelers.' Join me as we embark on a journey around the world, uncovering beautiful places, diverse cultures, and captivating stories. Additionally, we will delve into mysterious and, at times, even bizarre destinations.

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