To make mole poblano, the sweet, smoky, deep, mysterious sauce of Mexico, one need not dive into a history book or spend four days at the stove. It's a sauce that's easily pulled beyond lore, rules, and tradition—into the slow cooker, even.

Start by building smoky flavor—charred smoky, not barbecue smoky. Then impart sweetness and body; I use starchy-sweet ripe plantain for that. Savory notes come from the turkey itself, richness from nearly charred pecans. The liquid-to-stuff ratio is important. You're not looking for something pasty, but a smooth, just-viscous-enough gravy of the gods. Smoky. Sweet. A little spicy. Plenty savory. Toasty. Mad delicious.

Keith’s Recipe Breakdown(click the image below to enlarge)

Slow Cooker Turkey MoleHands-on: 45 min. Total: 6 hr.

Shred meat and return to sauce for ease of serving, or place drumsticks on a platter as in the photo above. Serve over rice or with corn tortillas. To prepare the dish stovetop, simmer in a Dutch oven 4 hours or until meat pulls away from the bones.

Follow These Steps:

1. Combine orange juice, ¼ cup lime juice, and turkey; refrigerate 30 minutes. Remove turkey from marinade; discard marinade. Pat turkey dry.

2. While turkey marinates, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chiles; toast 2 to 3 minutes or until lightly charred. Cool slightly. Remove and discard stems; keep seeds.

3. Bring stock to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add plantain, chiles, and pecans; simmer 20 minutes or until chiles are very soft.

4. Reduce heat to low. Add chocolate, stirring to prevent scorching. Add oregano, salt, and cumin; simmer 10 minutes.

5. Pour sauce into a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure lid on blender. Place a towel over opening in lid. Blend until smooth.

6. Heat skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add turkey; cook 10 minutes, browning on all sides.

7. Scatter celery, garlic, and onion in a 6-quart slow cooker. Top with turkey and sauce; cover and cook on LOW for 5 hours or until meat is very tender.

8. Remove turkey. Shred meat; discard bones and skin. Stir meat, remaining lime juice, and sugar, if desired, into sauce. Top with cilantro and radishes.


Keith’s first Cooking Light cookbook, Mad Delicious: The Science of Making Healthy Food Taste Amazing!, is a 2015 James Beard Foundation Book Award winner for Focus on Health.

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