Crispy Chicken Wings with Quick Mole Sauce

Serves 8 to 12 as an appetizer

A traditional mole sauce can take all day to prepare, but here it is broken down into a few easy steps. You may want to serve it with a whole roasted chicken for a family feast; this is an appetizer for a party. By all means substitute 1 1/2 ounces Mexican chocolate, chopped in small pieces, for the cocoa powder. It will lend an authentic although sweeter flavor.

2 tablespoons sesame seeds, plus more for garnish
1/2 teaspoon coriander seed
1/4 teaspoon anise seed
3 whole cloves
1-inch piece of cinnamon stick
3 tablespoons chile powder, preferably from New Mexico
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup raisins
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
1 stale corn tortilla or slice of stale bread, toasted and torn in pieces 
1 can (16 ounces) crushed tomatoes in juice
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup freshly brewed strong coffee
3 – 3 1/2 pounds chicken wings, cut in half, tips discarded
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  1. In a small heavy skillet over a medium heat, toast 2 tablespoons of the sesame seeds, coriander seeds, anise seeds, cloves, and cinnamon stick until fragrant and turning dark, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Let cool and place the seed mixture in a rotary blade grinder. Grind to a powder, while holding the top of the grinder and shaking vigorously to evenly distribute seeds, cloves, and cinnamon. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the chile powder, cocoa, and sugar.
  2. In a large heavy skillet over a medium heat, sauté the onion and garlic in the oil, cooking and stirring until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the raisins and cook until plump. Add the spice and chile pepper mixture, stirring to mix well. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Place the onion mixture, almonds, stale tortilla, and tomatoes in a blender. Blend until very smooth. Pour into a medium saucepan over a medium-low heat. Stir in the chicken broth and simmer the mole sauce, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes. It should be thick and smooth. Just before serving, stir in the coffee. (The mole sauce may be prepared and refrigerated for up to a day in advance. Warm over a low heat before serving.)
  4. Rinse and pat the chicken wings dry, season them with salt and pepper and place them in a broiler pan. Broil under a preheated broiler, about 4-inches from the heat, turning them occasionally, for 10 to 12 minutes or until they are golden brown and crisp. Drain the cooked wings on brown paper to remove excess fat. Place the wings on a platter and pour the mole sauce over them. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds.