Meat and vegetable stew: Mole de olla de res
Ancho, pasilla and guajillo chiles give this stew its deep color and rich flavor. If using the Mexican field corn most often sold in the mercados, cook the corn with the meat. If using sweet corn, cook it with the other vegetables.
For the meat:
- 2 quarts water
- 1 pound stewing beef or pork, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 medium onion, quartered
- ½ head garlic, unpeeled, cut across the grain
- salt to taste
For the stew:
- 3 ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded and soaked in hot beef broth until soft
- 4 guajillo chiles, stemmed, seeded and soaked in hot beef broth until soft
- 1 pound tomatillos, husked
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- ½ medium onion, peeled
- 1 sprig fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 small zucchini, cut into 1 inch chunks
- ½ pound green beans, cut in half
- 2 chayotes, peeled and cut into quarters
- 2 ears of corn, each cut into quarters
- masa para harina (corn flour for tortillas) optional
Place the water, meat, onion, garlic and salt in a stockpot, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, until the beef is tender. When the beef is cooked, strain the broth, reserving the broth and the beef.
Soak the chiles in beef broth until soft. Place them in a saucepan with their soaking liquid, tomatillos, garlic, onion and cilantro, and cook until the tomatillos are just soft. Place this mixture in a blender and puree until smooth.
Heat the oil in a saucepan, strain the puree into the hot oil and cook over medium low heat, stirring, until the mixture has reduced by about a third.
Return about 4 cups of the broth to the stockpot, depending upon how thick you want the the stew, add the puree and the vegetables. Cook until vegetables are tender. Return the meat to the stockpot and heat through.
If a thick stew is desired, mix a bit of masa with some of the stock, according to the thickness desired, and stir the mixture into the pot, cooking for a few minutes until thickened. If a thinner stew is desired, add more broth.
To serve, ladle into deep soup dishes. Serves 4.
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Mexican stews: healthy winter comfort food