This thick and flavorful pumpkin mole gets a fall sweetness from roasted pumpkin. Great with chicken, beef or over your favorite enchiladas.
A fall mole sauce
After our first mole, we were hooked on this silky-smooth and incredibly versatile sauce.
Pumpkin seeds (pepitas) are a common thickening ingredient in mole (like almonds, peanuts or cashews), but what about bringing the pumpkin flavor to the mole in a different way? What we found is that pumpkin makes for a silky smooth mole and roasting that pumpkin brings out the deep, smoky flavors of ancho chilies.
Simply put, it is everything a mole should be.
Making an easy mole sauce
A true mole takes a day of toasting and simmering to create the ‘true’ flavors. We’ve cut the process down a bit to make it manageable even for a weeknight dinner.
But, one very good thing about mole sauces is that they can be made ahead of time and refrigerated (or frozen) until you are ready to use them.
Our pumpkin mole recipe
We found that this mole, while bold and flavorful immediately out of the pan, mellowed into something rich and silky after being refrigerated overnight. So, don’t be afraid to make a big batch and save it for later.
It’s a great sauce to pour over baked (or leftover) chicken. And, I have found myself dreaming of black bean or shredded beef enchiladas slathered in it.
Pumpkin Mole (Sauce)
- ¼ medium pie pumpkin, seeded*
- 2 dry ancho chilies stemmed
- 2 Tbsp almonds
- 1 ½ tsp canola oil
- ½ white onion, peeled and chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 tomato, quartered
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- Pinch cloves, ground
- 1 c vegetable broth (we prefer low sodium)
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Place the pumpkin quarter, skin side down on an aluminum-foil-lined baking ban. Roast for 1 ½ - 2 hours, until the pumpkin is soft. Remove the pumpkin from the oven and let cool slightly.
- While the pumpkin is roasting, toast the ancho chilies and almonds in a large, dry sauté pan over medium heat until fragrant, 1-2 min.
- Remove from the pan and place the chilies in a medium bowl. Cover with boiling water and let the chilies rehydrate for 10-15 minutes.
- Heat ½ tsp oil in the sauté pan and add onions and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat until the onions begin to brown, 4-5 min.
- When the pumpkin is cool enough to touch, remove the skin and place the roasted pumpkin flesh in the bowl of a food processor. Add toasted almonds, rehydrated peppers, sautéed onions and garlic, tomato, salt, cinnamon and cloves. Puree until smooth, adding ½ c of chili soaking liquid, or more, to create a smooth paste.
- Heat 1 tsp oil in the sauté pan and pour the pureed mixture into the hot oil. Sauté for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, as the paste darkens.
- Add the broth and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring often, until the mole is smooth and thick.
- Serve with baked chicken, pork or beef. Or refrigerate the mole for up to 1 week.
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Sarah is one of Curious Cuisiniere’s founding duo. Her love for cultural cuisines was instilled early by her French Canadian Grandmother. Her experience in the kitchen and in recipe development comes from years working in professional kitchens. She has traveled extensively and enjoys bringing the flavors of her travels back to create easy-to-make recipes.