Photo Credit: Ellen Silverman

“Tablecloth Stainer” Chicken and Fruit in a Red Mole Sauce

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This saucy Mexican dish is so delicious, that you might just stain your tablecloth (or your shirt) lapping it up! 

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Description

Make Ahead: Can make a couple hours ahead of time. Reheat covered, over low heat. 

We call this mole “tablecloth stainer” because you will use many napkins and possibly stain your clothes and tablecloth when you partake, so pleasurable is it to eat. The stains will come from the vivacious, deep red ancho chiles in the complex sauce that bathes chicken, sweet potatoes, pineapple, apple and plantains. 

You need more than one pot to make this dish. I am warning you also that you are bound to stain your clothes while making it, even with a good apron, or while eating it (keep the apron on!). But it is so well worth the trouble and probable change of tablecloth and extra wash of clothes. Make sure to use paper napkins!

Recipe Type: Entree
Serves: 6-8
Author: Pati Jinich, from Mexican Today: New and Rediscovered Recipes for Contemporary Kitchens

Ingredients

  • 4 ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup slivered almonds
  • 1½ pounds ripe tomatoes
  • ½ white onion
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, preferably Ceylon or canela
  • 5 whole cloves, stem removed and top crushed
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to season chicken
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt, or to taste
  • 1 cup canola or safflower oil
  • 1 large plantain, peeled, sliced about ¼ inch thick
  • 2 1-inch thick slices ripe pineapple, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 tart apple, peeled, cored and cut in 1/2-inch dice
  • 10 to 12 chicken pieces (thighs, drumsticks or breasts cut in half, in any combination) about 4 pounds
  • 2 cups chicken broth, homemade or commercial
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice

Instructions

  1. Place the ancho chiles in a bowl, cover with boiling water and soak for 10 to 15 minutes, until plump and rehydrated.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet set over medium low heat, lightly toast the almonds, stirring often until lightly browned and toasted but not burnt, about 2 to 3 minutes. Immediately transfer to a bowl and set aside. Repeat with the sesame seeds, transfer to the same bowl, and set aside.
  3. Preheat the broiler and cover a baking sheet or pan with foil. Place the tomatoes and onion on the foil and place under broiler for 4 to 5 minutes, until charred on 1 side. Flip over and roast for another 4 to 5 minutes. The tomatoes should be charred, very soft with the juices bursting, and the onion should be wrinkled and charred. Remove from the heat and when cool enough to handle core and coarsely chop the tomatoes, without discarding the seeds and juice, and chop the onion.
  4. Place the soaked chiles along with ½ cup of their soaking water in the blender along with the toasted sesame seeds and almonds, the roasted tomatoes with their seeds and juices, the charred onion, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper and 1 teaspoon salt. Puree until completely smooth. Set aside.
  5. Cover a cooling rack with paper towels. In a large casserole or wide, deep skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the plantain slices and fry for about 2 to 3 minutes per side, until nicely browned and their sugar has caramelized a bit on the outside. Remove with a spider or slotted spoon, leaving as much of the oil as you can in the pan, and place on the paper towel-covered rack. Repeat with the pineapple pieces and the apple pieces and drain on the paper towel-covered rack.
  6. In the same oil, cook the chicken in batches over medium heat. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt and black pepper to taste, add to the pan without crowding the pieces and brown for about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Remove the chicken to a sheet pan or bowl as the batches are done.
  7. Carefully pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the oil from the pan into a heatproof bowl and add the ancho chile puree to the pan. Stir, scraping the bottom of the pan, and cook for about 5 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently so that the sauce doesn’t stick to the bottom, until the sauce has thickened and become very fragrant, Return the chicken to the pan along with any juice that has accumulated in the bowl or sheet pan, add 2 cups of chicken broth or water, bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes and raisins, stir, cover partially, and simmer for another 20 to 25 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are tender and the mole sauce has thickened to coat back of a wooden spoon. Lastly, incorporate the browned pineapple, plantain and apples, stir gently, simmer for 3 to 4 minutes, and serve hot. 
  8. Meanwhile, in 4 mason jars evenly divide the ingredients by layering in order: the dressing, olives, peppers, artichoke, tuna, cherry tomatoes, pasta and cheese.
  9. Shake to combine and enjoy!
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