Manchamanteles with Chicken

Manchamanteles

Manchamanteles literally translate as “tablecloth stainers”. The vibrant red colors from the dried chiles and tomatoes would definitely leave some permanent stains on a white tablecloth….or shirt. The origins for this recipe come from Puebla, where they are famous for their Mexican Molé. Many people recognize this sauce as another variation of a molé sauce and some argue that it’s not that at all. This recipe for Manchamanteles was adapted from Zarela, who I have been a long time admirer and let’s not get on the subject of her chef son Aaron Sanchez…oh boy! Lol! Yes, I am a big fan of both.

The ingredients that make this dish stand out are the sweet fruits used to prepare the sauce. Fruits that include pineapple, plantains, apples, raisins and apricots. I have always loved the flavors of pineapple and chiles, especially tacos al pastor, so I knew I would enjoy this recipe as well. Instead of raisins, I decided to add craisins because of there sweet/tart flavor.  Most often, the recipe is prepared with chicken, pork or a combination of the two. I ladled the sauce over chicken that had been poached and then seared until brown. I am looking forward to the leftovers tonight!

Manchamanteles with Chicken

Ingredients

For Chicken
5 pound whole chicken, cut into pieces (you want at least 6 or more pieces)
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
1 large white onion, cut in half
1 whole bulb of garlic, divided in half
1 tablespoon peppercorns
4 bay leaves
3 chile de arbol or 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
Salt to taste
Water

For Manchamanteles Sauce
6 chile ancho peppers
3 pasilla peppers
*Remove the stems and seeds from dried peppers and tear them into smaller pieces
Olive oil
*Reserved half of onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapeños, diced
1 green plantain, peeled and diced
Salt and pepper to taste
1/8 cup blanched almonds
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground clove
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
28 ounce can of whole, peeled tomatoes
4 cups chicken stock
1 full cup of fresh pineapple, diced, plus more for garnish
1/3 cup green apple, diced
1/3 cup dried apricots, diced fine
1/3 cup craisins or raisins, roughly chopped

Garnish Options
Toasted sesame seeds

Fresh pineapple, diced

Fried plantain chips or tostones
*Serve with warm tortillas and a side of rice

Manchamanteles with Chicken

Directions

1.  First you want to make your chicken stock. In a large pot, add chicken, carrots, celery, half the onion, half the bulb of garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns and chile de arbol. Cover with water and add 2 teaspoons of salt .Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and continue cooking for 45 to 55 minutes. Skim the top as needed and turn now and then. Remove the chicken pieces and strain the stock, set aside.

2. In a medium pot, add 5 cups of water and bring to a simmer. At the same time, in a skillet, heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil to medium heat. Add the dried chile pieces and cook just until they become aromatic, turning as needed. Never leave the peppers unattended because they can burn easily and become bitter. When peppers are aromatic and slightly soft, add to pot of simmering water and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and transfer to blender. Add 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock and blend on high until smooth. Strain the adobo through a wire mesh strainer and set aside.

3. In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil to medium heat. Add the reserved onions, garlic, jalapeño and plantain. Season lightly with salt and pepper and cook for 6 to 8 minutes. Add in the almonds, cumin, oregano, clove, cinnamon, tomatoes and 1 cup stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, taste for salt and cook for 20 minutes. Transfer to blender and blend until smooth. Be extra careful when blending hot liquids. Make sure lid is tightly secured and hold down with kitchen towels as you blend. If you have time, let it cool before blending.

4.  Add tomato sauce back into pot, along with adobo sauce and remaining 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock. Cook at a low simmer for 15 minutes. Add in the pineapple, apricots, craisins or raisins and green apple and cook for another 25 to 30 minutes. While the sauce is simmering, brown the reserved chicken pieces in a little olive oil. This will help develop even more flavor.

5.  Now you have three options here: You can add the browned chicken to sauce, you can shred the chicken and add to sauce or you can ladle the sauce over chicken when you get ready to plate. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds, diced pineapple and fried plantains. Serve with warm tortillas. Yields up to 6 servings.

Tips and Notes~ I would highly suggest making this sauce one or two days ahead of time. The flavors are just that much more delicious after is has time to merry! I would have like to have included the fried plantains in the picture, but I only had one and added all to the sauce….next time!

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