Thursday, February 9, 2006

Mole Manchamanteles

El Naranjo is a world famous restaurant in Mexico that features the 7 moles of Oaxaca. The name Mole Manchamanteles (pronounced Moe-Ley) is derived from the fact that this sweet light sauce spills easy and stains tablecloths. I must pre- warn you that mole is a very time-consuming, complicated recipe. If you want to try traditional chocolate mole without the hassle, buy a jar of Doña Maria or Corona Real sauce from the grocery store and pour it over your favorite meat. ¡Buen Provecho!
5 ancho chiles
1/2 medium onion, peeled and chopped
3 medium garlic cloves, unpeeled
3 medium tomatoes
Vegetable oil
5 almonds, blanched
4 black peppercorns
4 cloves
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 medium cinnamon stick
3 sprigs parsley
Stock or water, as needed
8 pieces chicken or pork
1 quart water
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
3 medium garlic cloves
1 tablespoon salt
1-1/2 tablespoons oil
4 tablespoons butter
1 slice fresh pineapple, chunked
2 ripe plantains, sliced

Cut chiles open, remove stems and seeds, and spread flat on a baking sheet. Roast at 250° for 15 minutes or until chiles shrivel and turn slightly darker. Soak toasted chiles in hot water for about 20 minutes. In a heavy skillet, sauté onion, unpeeled garlic and tomatoes until charred around the edges. Remove garlic cloves and peel. To another pan add 1 tablespoon oil and fry the almonds, peppercorns, cloves, oregano, thyme and cinnamon until heated through and the spices release their aroma. Remove cinnamon stick and puree in a blender. Press mixture through a sieve. Transfer soaked chiles to a blender, process with just enough of the soaking water to form a thick paste. Press through a sieve. In a heavy skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil, add the chile mixture and sauté. Add pureed onion, garlic, tomatoes,almonds, herbs and spices. Simmer the mole, adding water to achieve the correct consistency: It should coat the back of a spoon. Add salt and parsley. Cook the chicken. To a stockpot add chicken, 1 quart water, onion, garlic and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and poach the chicken until tender, about 30 minutes. To finish the dish, heat the oil and butter in a skillet and sauté the pineapple chunks. Remove and set aside. Sauté the plantain slices until golden, add plantains and pineapple to the prepared mole, along with the chicken and parsley sprigs, and simmer for 10 more minutes.