Mexico: One Plate At A Time Episodes

Complete Episode: The Soul of Mole

Mole is an idea that's half pre-Columbian, half European, and 100% Mexican -- a sauce, a preparation and a national dish that rivals the culinary masterpieces of the world's greatest cuisines.

Rick and his daughter, Lanie, set off on a culinary journey to explore the mysteries of mole that takes them from the mile-high piles of dried chiles in Mexico City's vast La Merced market to stalls selling towering mounds of concentrated mole paste.

Back in Chicago, they're on a mission to make mole from scratch. It's an all-day labor of love to be sure, but Rick breaks the complex process down into easy steps, giving tips on all the ingredients -- from sesame seeds and tomatillos to chiles and chocolate -- that give mole its richly layered flavor.

As the sauce simmers over a wood fire in the backyard, Rick and Lanie use some of it to make a succulent laquered chicken in classic red mole and whip up some classic mexican white rice with sweet plantains and a Mexican crudite platter.

As the sun sets, family and friends gather in the garden for a taste of true Mexican soul food: homemade mole in all its slow-simmered glory.

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