Mole de Olla

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(Mexican Kettle Stew)

Mole means “mixture” in Spanish. This word crops up in recipes that have nothing to do with the well-known traditional chocolate mole sauce. Olla is a big, fat-bellied clay pot—hence the name of this hearty stew, which is good served with cornbread for lunch or a light dinner.

Mole de Olla
Recipe type: Main Dish Stew
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced or pressed
  • 1-2 tablespoons minced chiles
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 4 small potatoes, cut into chunks (about 2 cups)
  • 3 cups undrained canned tomatoes, chopped (28-ounce can)
  • 2 cups cut green beans
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 2 cups cut corn (frozen or fresh)
  • 1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
  • salt to taste
  • grated cheddar cheese or sour cream
  1. In a stewpot or large saucepan, sauté the onions, garlic, and chiles in the oil for about 5 minutes.
  2. Include the seeds from the chiles if you like a hotter stew, discard them if you don't.
  3. Add the cinnamon, cloves, and the potatoes and cook, covered, for another 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes and the green beans, cover, and cook 5 minutes more.
  5. Add the zucchini and corn and simmer, covered, on low heat until all the vegetables are tender.
  6. If the stew seems too dry, add tomato juice or water.
  7. Add cilantro, if desired, and salt to taste.
  8. Serve topped with plenty of grated cheese or sour cream.