MOLE MANCHAMANTELES : Red Mole With Chicken And Fried Plantains
In this simple mole, deep-flavored ancho chiles balance the sweetness of the fresh fruit that forms the base of the sauce. The name means “tablecloth stainer,” a tribute to both the gluttonous abandon induced by this luscious sauce and its deep red color. The recipe calls for chicken, but you can cook the sauce without the meat (using chicken broth for the best flavor) and serve it with roasted vegetables, turkey, Cornish hens, duck, tamales, or pork carnitas instead. Manchamanteles is usually served with plain white rice, dusted with sesame seeds and sprinkled with bit of ripe pineapple. The fried plantains (tostones) are a delicious addition. SERVES 6
INGREDIENTS 6 chicken breasts or 12 chicken thighs (about 4 pounds) 4 ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded 1 cup peeled, diced fresh pineapple (see Note) ½ apple, peeled and diced ¼ cup whole shelled almonds ¼ cup seedless raisins 3 cloves garlic, peeled ½ white onion, diced 2 small Roma tomatoes, diced ¼ teaspoon whole black peppercorns 2 whole cloves 1 tablespoon sesame seeds 1 dried bay leaf ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon 2 teaspoons whole dried Mexican oregano 2 teaspoons kosher salt 2½ cups Caldo de Pollo or water, or more as neededTO SERVE Toasted sesame seeds ¾ cup peeled, finely diced fresh pineapple (see Note, below) Fried Plantains DIRECTIONS Place all the ingredients except the chicken in a 5-quart slow cooker, and set the chicken on top. Cover and cook on low for 3 to 4 hours, or until the chicken is tender but not falling off the bone. Remove the chicken. If you like, you can remove the skin and bones now, or you can serve it as is. Set the chicken on a warm platter covered with aluminum foil to keep warm while you finish the mole. Transfer the remaining contents of the slow cooker to a blender. Blend on high for several minutes, until perfectly smooth. If the sauce seems too thick, add a little more chicken broth or water and blend again. Taste and add a pinch of salt if necessary, remembering that moles are rich and thick but are never highly seasoned. For the perfect texture, pass the sauce through a food mill, but it is perfectly acceptable straight out of the blender. To serve, liberally ladle the mole over the chicken. Lightly dust with the sesame seeds and garnish each serving with a few pieces of pineapple and fried plantain. NOTE Canned pineapple may be substituted for fresh as long as it is well drained. If you are using it as a garnish, FRIED PLANTAINS FULL RECIPE HERE For the best results, use soft, ripe plantains with black skin. 2 large, ripe plantains About ⅓ cup vegetable oil Kosher or sea salt Peel the plantains and cut into rounds 1 inch thick. Heat ¼ inch of oil in a small, heavy skillet. Working in batches, fry the plantains on both sides until a light brown crust forms. Remove and let cool slightly, then flatten gently with a spatula to a thickness of ½ inch. Return the plantains to the oil and cook until brown. Drain well on paper towels and serve warm, sprinkled with a few grains of salt.