Cook the Book: Goat Mole Rojo

Cook the Book: Goat Mole Rojo

[Photographs: Marcus Nillson]

Goat shows up on menus all over Mexico and if you're particularly lucky, at your local taqueria in the form of tacos de cabrito or tacos de chivo. We thought we'd start out our week of goat-centric cooking with Goat Mole Rojo from Goat: Meat, Milk, Cheese by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough. The rich, chile simmered stew is a wonderful introduction into the world of cooking with goat.

Unlike darker, more chocolaty moles, this one is based around an herby, smoky ancho chile paste. It begins, as many great dishes do, with onions and garlic softened in rendered bacon fat. Chunks of goat stew meat are added and browned and left to simmer in the puréed chile paste with oregano (one of the unsung heros of Mexican cooking), thyme, bay, Worcestershire, a bit of vinegar, and chicken stock. The sauce cooks down deep red and the goat releases all of its lightly gamey fat into the sauce. Ripe plantains are added for the last hour of cooking, adding a banana-like sweet-starchiness to the mole.

Spicy, dark, and just a little bit sweet, this mole is just waiting for a scoop of rice to be served over it and plenty of warm tortillas to scoop up all of that great goaty sauce. And if you'd like to take a cue from those fantastic goat tacos, you can serve it with a sprinkle of chopped cilantro and a handful of diced raw or even pickled onions.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Goat: Meat, Milk, Cheese to give away this week.

Adapted from Goat: Meat, Milk, Cheese by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough. Copyright © 2011. Published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.

  • Yield:4
  • Active time: 45 minutes
  • Total time:3 hours


  • 6 ancho or dried New Mexico red chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • Boiling water
  • 4 tablespoons (¼ cup [60 ml]) rendered bacon fat, divided
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1½ pounds (680 kg) boneless goat stew meat, cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) cubes
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup (240 ml) reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 ripe plantains, peeled and cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces


  1. 1.

    Tear the chiles into large pieces, then cook them in a dry skillet set over medium heat until lightly browned and very aromatic. Transfer them to a large bowl, cover with boiling water, and set aside for 20 minutes.

  2. 2.

    Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat in a large Dutch or French oven over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic; cook, stirring often, until wilted, about 3 minutes.

  3. 3.

    Push the onion and garlic to the sides of the pot, then add the meat chunks in batches, browning them well in the residual fat. As they brown, transfer them to a plate and add more until all are nicely done.

  4. 4.

    Take the pot off the heat. Scoop out the onion and garlic and place them in a blender or in a food processor fitted with the chopping blade. Drain the chiles in a colander set in the sink, then add them to the blender or food processor. Also add the Worcestershire sauce, thyme, oregano, cloves, pepper, and bay leaf. Blend or puree until smooth.

  5. 5.

    Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons bacon fat in the pot set back over medium heat. Scrape the chile paste into it and fry for 3 minutes, stirring almost constantly.

  6. 6.

    Return the meat and any juices on the plate to the pot. Also add the broth and vinegar. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally; then cover, reduce the heat to very low, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.

  7. 7.

    Add the plantains to the pot and continue cooking, stirring once in a while, until the meat is falling-apart tender, 1 to 1½ additional hours.