This braised beef and chocolate mole taco recipe has a deep complex flavor profile that will keep you coming back for more. It takes some time to make, but with so many flavors you can understand why. Make these savoy, sweet, spicy, and barely bitter beef mole tacos on a cool lazy weekend afternoon.
Recipe for Beef Mole Tacos
The preparation of beef mole requires time and attention, as this beef mole is made by toasting, roasting, and blending various ingredients before combining them into a flavorful and complex sauce. The beef is then braised in this sauce until it becomes tender and infused with the flavors of the mole. Nothing to fear here, just roll up your sleeves and take your time. Cooking is love and love takes time.
WTF is Mole?
Chocolate mole, usually just referred to as “mole” (pronounced MOH-leh), is a rich and complex sauce in Mexican cuisine. Mole comes in various regional styles, and chocolate mole is one of the most famous versions. For this mole, we use a combination of chocolate, chili peppers, peanut butter, and a blend of fresh ingredients, to create a sauce that is savory, sweet, and spicy.
The chocolate in mole doesn’t make the sauce taste sweet like a dessert; instead, it adds a depth of flavor and richness to the dish. Depending on what percentage of cocoa you use, the chocolate can also bring a slightly bitter flavor to the mole. The bitterness and sweetness is balanced by the heat from the chili peppers and the savory elements from other ingredients. The result is a complex beef mole sauce that you will have trouble not eating.
If you want to learn more about Mole and its history, check out this article by the Atlantic: The Colonial Origins of Mexico’s National Dish
Ingredients for Beef Mole Tacos
Here’s a list of what you’ll need to make this braised beef shoulder & chocolate mole taco recipe. You should be able to find all of these ingredients at your local super market. Check the Hispanic aisle for the dried chili’s.
- Chuck Roast: 2 to 2.5 pounds beef shoulder or chuck roast.
- White Onion: Chopped
- Garlic: Minced
- Canola Oil: Vegetable oil works fine.
- Dried Chilis: Negro, Passilla, and Mulato
- Jalapeño Peppers: Fresh
- Serrano Peppers: Fresh
- Tomatillos: Husked and washed
- Ground Cumin
- Salt and Pepper
- High Quality Dark Chocolate: The higher the coca percentage the more bitter the chocolate will be. I recommend around 75% cocoa.
- Corn: On the Cob is always best, but canned is fine in a pinch.
- Creamy Peanut Butter: It’s not weird, I promise. Okay its a little weird but it works for this beef mole recipe.
- Brown Sugar: Optional, if needed to help sweeten the mole at the end.
- Reserved Chili Water: From rehydrating the dried chilis.
- Dark Mexican Beer: Preferably Negro Modelo.
- Tortilla’s: Preferably small street taco style corn tortillas.
- Cotija Cheese: (optional garnish)
- Cilantro: (optional garnish)
- Avocado: (optional garnish)
Equipment you’ll need to make Beef Mole Tacos
Here’s a list of all the equipment you’ll need to make this beef mole taco recipe. Nothing too crazy here, you should already have everything you need.
- Heatproof bowl: To soak the dried chilis in boiling water.
- Food processor/blender: To make the chili and pepper paste.
- Dutch oven: To braise everything together in.
How to make Braised Beef & Chocolate Mole Tacos
Follow these step by step instructions to make this recipe for beef mole tacos.
Step 1: Roast peppers and tomatillos
Preheat oven to 350F. Wash your Jalapeños, Serranos, and tomatillos. Place them in an oven safe roasting dish and fill it halfway with water. Roast for 30 minutes or until
Step 2: Toast & Rehydrate Chili’s
In a dry skillet, toast the dried chili peppers over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, turning them frequently. Be careful not to burn them. Place the toasted chili peppers in a bowl, cover them with hot water, and let them soak for about 15-20 minutes until softened. Once rehydrated reserve the soaking water.
Step 3: Sear Beef
In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat canola oil over medium-high heat. Generously season the beef shoulder with salt, pepper, and cumin. Brown the beef on all sides until a golden crust is formed on all sides. Remove the beef from the skillet and set it aside.
In a blender or food processor, combine the roasted peppers, garlic, tomatillos, and blend until smooth. In the same dutch oven there should still be some canola oil. Reheat it on medium high heat. Sauté the garlic and onion.
Add the beef shoulder back to the dutch oven and pour over the blended chili mixture. Pour in the can of fire roasted tomatoes and the Mexican beer and bring to boil. As soon as it reaches a boil, cover and move to the oven. Roast for 3 hours in the oven at 325F
Step 5: Roast Corn
Half an hour or so before the 3 hours is up, add corn on the cob to the oven and roast for 15-20 minutes. Remove and cut the kernels of the cob, set aside.
Step 6: Blend and Flavor
Remove the dutch oven from the oven and stir. The beef should easily pull apart with two forks. If not, roast for an additional half hour. Stir the shredded beef to incorporate throughout the mole. Add the corn, chocolate, peanut butter, and reserved chili water.
Stir and taste. Add more of the reserved chili water or a pinch of brown sugar to get your desired balance of sweet and spicy.
Step 7: Garnish and Serve
Serve the beef mole over tortillas and garnish with cotija cheese, fresh cilantro, and sliced avocados. Enjoy!
Corn or Flour Tortillas for Beef Mole Tacos?
What kind of tortillas are best for beef mole tacos? Lets discuss.
Corn Tortillas: Corn tortillas are an obvious and traditional choice for any sort of taco. They have that classic corn flavor which pairs perfectly with the Mexican spices in this beef mole. Corn tortillas will crisp up nicely, but they do run the risk of crumbling and falling apart.
Flour Tortillas: Flour tortillas are softer and have nice chew that goes well with beef mole tacos. Flour tortillas are also more pliable, making them easier to fold. They will soak up more of the beef mole juice, which can make them soggy if you aren’t careful.
All in all, there’s no one “right” type of tortilla for making beef mole tacos, just the one you prefer.
Beef Mole Taco Leftovers
Frankie and I love making a big batch of this stuff and enjoying it thought the week. It reheats great if you get tired of tacos, the beef mole makes a great salad, nacho, or on its own as a stew, kinda like a Mexican chili.
This Beef Mole is fine to freeze. Or transfer it into an airtight container and store it in the fridge for 4-5 days. To reheat, use the microwave or slowly bring it to heat in a pot over medium heat. Add a little water to the pot so it doesn’t dry out.
More Tasty Taco Recipes
Dig these beef mole tacos and want more?! We got ya covered, check out some more of our recipes and let us know what you think.