There are more than 60 varieties of chiles that are grown only in the state of Oaxaca and nowhere else in Mexico. We have suggested substitutions here to reflect varieties more commonly available north of the border. You can use oil instead of lard, but the flavor will change dramatically.
The chiles, tomatoes, and squash seeds make this a very New World dish, as squash has been a staple of the Mexican diet since it was domesticated millennia ago. Typically, cooked chicken or turkey is added to this sauce from southern Mexico.
This subtle blend of chocolate and chile is from Puebla, where it is known as the “National Dish of Mexico” when it is served over turkey. This sauce adds life to any kind of poultry, from roasted game hens to a simple grilled chicken breast. It is also excellent as a sauce over chicken enchiladas.