Main Dish

Chicken Mole Tostadas with Farm Cabbage and Cotija Cheese

Russian River Vineyards

5700 Hwy. 116 N.
Forestville, CA 95436

  • RECIPE YEAR: 2014
  • RECIPE BY: Ruben Gomez, Executive Chef at Corks
  • PAIRS WELL WITH: Estate Grown Merlot

Mole is a rich chicken stew with dried chiles and chocolate. I remember the tremendous pots of mole that my mother, aunts and grandmothers prepared. When I make my mole, it may have changes here and there, but I will never forget the beautiful people who taught me this recipe, which I write to honor them.You can prepare the chicken and salsa roja sauce in advance. Any leftover mole freezes well.


  • 2 chickens
  • 2 cups onions, cut into wedges
  • 1 cup celery, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 garlic head
  • 4 quarts cold water
Put the chickens in a large, deep pot. Add the onion, celery, carrots, bay leaf and garlic and cover with the cold water. Place over medium heat and bring to a gentle simmer (there should be small bubbles). Cook at just above a simmer for  1 1/2 to 2 hours. Transfer the chickens to a cutting board and let cool. 

Strain the chicken stock and reserve for later use. Remove the chicken from the bones, discarding the skin and bones. Cut the meat into bite-size pieces. Refrigerate the stock and chicken until ready to use.

Salsa Roja

  • 10 dried guajillo chiles
  • 10 dried New Mexico chiles
  • 8 dried ancho chiles
  • 6 dried chipotle chiles
  • 4 cups chopped onions (large dice)
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons coriander
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 cup garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 corn tortillas
  • 3 quarts cold water
  • 3/4 cup golden raisins
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
If you prefer a hot mole, use all of the seeds from the chiles; for less heat, use fewer (or no) seeds. You may want to wear gloves because the chile oil will get on your hands; don't touch your face while working with chiles. (To remove the chile oil from your hands, wash them with sour cream and salt.) 

Remove the stems from the chiles and shake out the seeds into a bowl. Place a cast-iron fry pan or cast-iron flat grill over low heat. Turn on your hood vent or open a window when toasting the chiles. Place the chiles in the pan and let them toast slowly until they turn from brick red to a brighter red; they will become glossy with the chile oil and become malleable. They should get a little bit of color but not turn black (black is burnt) Transfer the chiles to a large pot. 

Then toast the chile seeds (using as many as desired) along with the cumin, bay leaves, coriander and cinnamon sticks, using a spatula to stir them. Toast until they have a little color but are not black. Transfer to the pot with the chiles. 

Toast the garlic and then the tortillas. Transfer both to the pot. Cover with the cold water, then add the raisins. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat so the mixture simmers and cook until the chiles become bright red and the raisins have plumped up, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat. 

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chile mixture to a blender, filling it half full, and add about 1 cup of the liquid. Remove the center cap on the lid to allow steam to escape, and cover the blender top with a towel. Blend until the chiles are finely  ground and a smooth sauce forms. Repeat to grind the remaining chile mixture. Pass the salsa roja through a fine-mesh sieve. Season with salt and pepper. 


  • 1 pound Mexican chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 cup almonds, toasted
  • 1/2 cup peanuts, toasted
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds, toasted
  • 5 cloves
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons pipicha
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • Crumbled cotija cheese
Place the chocolate in the top pan of a double boiler and heat until melted and smooth. Temper the chocolate by letting it cool to about 98°F. To test, put a dab of chocolate on your bottom lip; when you stop feeling the warmth of the chocolate, its temperature is about 98°F. 

In a blender, combine the pine nuts, almonds, peanuts, sesame seeds, cloves, pipicha and the 1 tablespoon pepper. Blend until smooth and creamy. Add the tempered chocolate and blend until well combined. Set aside. 

In a large pot, bring 6 cups chicken stock to a simmer. Mix in the salsa roja and bring to a simmer. Slowly drizzle 1/2 cup of the hot salsa roja into the chocolate mixture. Stir until it is slowly incorporated into the chocolate mixture. When you have added half of the salsa roja to the chocolate mixture, add the chocolate mixture to the salsa roja. It is very important at this point to not boil the mole. If you do, it becomes grainy. Now add the chicken pieces and bring the mole to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. 

Tostadas and Serving

  • Corn tortillas
  • Oil for cooking
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Shredded carrots
  • Slivered kale
  • Shredded cabbage
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Olive oil
  • Crumbled cotija cheese
Fry the tortillas in oil, then sprinkle the tostadas with a little salt while they are still hot. In a bowl, toss together the carrots, kale and cabbage. Add lime juice, olive oil, and a pinch each of salt and pepper and toss again.  

To assemble, place a nest of the cabbage salad on each tostada. Top with a heaping spoonful of the chicken mole and garnish with cotija cheese.