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MOLE DE OLLA CON BOLITAS : Beef Soup With Chile, Vegetables, And Dumplings

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This mole is not a thick sauce but a classic Mexican soup, aromatic with dried chiles and epazote and loaded with chunks of meat and vegetables. A proper mole de olla alwaysincludes pieces of fresh corn and ejotes (green beans). This version also includes delicious little masa dumplings called bolitas. SERVES 4 to 6
INGREDIENTS 4 ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded 1 cup hot water 6 tomatillos, husked and washed ½ white onion, diced 2 cloves garlic 2 teaspoons vegetable oil pounds lean stew beef, cut into 1-inch cubes 7 cups water 2 kosher teaspoons salt 2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds 4 ounces green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1 cup) 1 zucchini, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1½ cups) 1 ear fresh corn, husked and cut into 6 (1-inch) wheels 12 fresh epazote leaves
TO SERVE Bolitas Hass avocado wedges Warm corn tortillas DIRECTIONS Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chiles and toast on both sides, turning occasionally and pressing down with a spatula, until they soften and blister. Remove from the pan. When the chiles are cool enough to handle, tear them into small pieces and place in a heatproof bowl. Add the hot water and soak the chiles, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. While the chiles are soaking, place the tomatillos in a small saucepan, cover with water, and simmer for 5 minutes, or just until tender. Drain. In a blender, combine the chiles and their soaking liquid, tomatillos, onion, and garlic and puree until very smooth. (For a smoother texture, you can press the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, if you like.) Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet. Add the puree and cook, stirring, until the sauce is thickened and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a 5-quart slow cooker along with the beef, water, salt, cumin, green beans, zucchini, and corn. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.   BOLITAS ¼ cup milk 1 tablespoon butter, melted 1 large egg 1 teaspoon kosher salt About cup dry masa harina (preferably Maseca brand) In a bowl, combine the milk and butter. Stir in the egg and salt until thoroughly combined. With a fork, stir in the masa harina to form a dough that is soft but not sticky. With damp hands, form small teaspoonfuls of the masa into balls. Flatten each ball slightly, and indent lightly on both sides with your thumb and forefinger. Drop into the simmering soup. When they float, they are done. VARIATION • Instead of making bolitas, about 30 minutes before you’re ready to serve the soup, ladle 1 cup hot soup from the slow cooker into a bowl and stir in ¼ cup dry masa harina. When the mixture is well blended, whisk into the soup and cook another 30 minutes

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