Los Angeles restaurateur Soledad Lopez shares her recipe for a traditional Oaxacan chicken dish that includes Mole.
In a large dry skillet over medium heat, toast ancho, guajillo, and cascabel chiles in batches until fragrant but not burned, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl, add 6 cups hot water, and let soak for 1 hour.
In the same dry skillet, toast sesame seeds, shaking pan constantly, until golden brown and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Repeat process with peanuts, almonds, and pecans. Add raisins to skillet, and cook for about 30 seconds. Add to bowl with nut mixture.
Raise heat under the skillet to medium-high, and add onions and garlic. Cook until slightly charred; add to bowl with the nuts.
In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add plantains, and cook until golden; add to bowl with nut mixture.
Place tortilla directly over a medium flame, turning it until blackened. Add to bowl with nut mixture.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add tomatoes, and cook for 3 minutes; use a slotted spoon to transfer to bowl with the nut mixture. Add tomatillos to boiling water, and cook for 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to bowl with nut mixture.
In a large stockpot, cook cinnamon stick, peppercorns, and cloves over medium heat until fragrant, 10 to 20 seconds. Add the soaked chiles with their liquid, the nut mixture, the bread, thyme, and oregano. Remove from heat.
Use an immersion blender to puree (or puree in batches in a blender). Strain through a medium sieve into a second stockpot. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally and taking care not to burn, for 2 hours. Add chocolate, stirring, until completely melted. If using for tamales, thin with chicken stock to a pouring consistency.