Mexican winter fruit mole with hazelnuts: Manchamanteles con avellanas
This seasonal adaptation of a traditional manchamanteles — "tablecloth stainer" — uses the fall season's apples and pears instead of the usual pineapple; sweet potatoes instead of plantains; prunes instead of summer's tomatoes; and hazelnuts instead of almonds. Mexican winter fruit mole with hazelnuts is a good example of a recipe that can be adjusted to take advantage of seasonal ingredients.
For the meat:
- 2 chickens, cut into serving pieces, or use cubed pork if you prefer
- 1 medium onion, studded with 2 cloves
- 6 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
- 6 large cloves garlic, peeled
- 2-3 sprigs each thyme and marjoram
- salt to taste
- water to cover
For the sauce:
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 8 ancho chiles, seeded and deveined
- 4 ounces peeled, chopped hazelnuts
- 1 ½ inches stick cinnamon
- 4 whole cloves
- 4 whole allspice
- ½ cup pitted prunes, chopped
- 1 small white onion, sliced
- 2 large garlic cloves, peeled
- 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 Gala apples, peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 pears, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- salt to taste
Put the chicken or pork in a stockpot with the remaining stock ingredients. Bring to a boil, lower heat and cook, covered, until the chicken or pork is cooked through.
Strain and reserve the broth. Set the chicken or pork aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large, heavy saucepan or cazuela. Sauté the chiles, stirring constantly, just until their fragrance is released. Take care not to burn them, since this results in a bitter flavor. Put them in a bowl with 2 cups of the broth to cover for 20 minutes.
Add another ½ tablespoon of oil to the saucepan in which the chiles were sautéed and add the nuts, spices, prunes, onion and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the onion is transparent.
Place the contents of the saucepan in a blender, add the soaked chiles with the broth in which they were soaked, and puree until smooth.
Heat the remaining ½ tablespoon of oil in the same saucepan and pour all the blended ingredients. Cook, stirring, for 10 minutes, adding broth ½ cup at a time until about 4 cups have been added.
Add the sweet potatoes, apples, pears, sugar and salt and continue cooking, covered over low heat until fruit is tender. Add the chicken or pork and heat through.
Serve in bowls, accompanied by warm tortillas. Serves 8-10.
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