Chile-Fruit Mole (Manchamanteles)

  • 2 ripe medium plum tomatoes (about 8 ounces)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large white onion (about 1¼ pounds), halved then cut into thin slices (about 4 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ cup ancho chile paste (see Note)
  • 6 cups homemade or store-bought chicken broth, or as needed
  • 1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple, with juice
  • 1 mango, peeled, pitted and cut into ¼-inch dice (about 1 ½ cups)
  • 4 ounces dried apricots, cut into ¼-inch dice (about 2/3 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground clove
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Kosher or fine sea salt

Makes about 7 cups, enough to serve with the turkey and provide generous (and I mean generous!) leftovers
Make the manchamanteles up to 3 days in advance.
Core the tomatoes and cut them in half lengthwise. Heat a small, heavy skillet (preferably cast-iron) over medium-high heat until very hot. Add the tomatoes skin side down and cook, turning once, until charred on most of both sides, about 8 minutes. Set them aside.

Heat the oil in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until they just begin to take on some color, about 8 minutes. Add the oregano and continue cooking until the onions are lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cumin, then the ancho paste. Keep stirring and cooking until the onions are coated with the chile paste. Stir in 6 cups broth and heat to boiling, then slip in the charred tomatoes. Adjust the heat so the sauce is simmering and cook until the onions are very tender, about 20 minutes.

Working in batches, blend the sauce base until smooth. To avoid splattering, either cool the sauce to tepid or work in very small batches and/or use a folded-up kitchen towel to clamp the lid to the blender while it’s running.  Rinse out the pot.

Return the sauce base to the pot. Stir in the pineapple with its juice, the mango, apricot, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, ginger, and black pepper. Season lightly with salt and bring to a boil, then adjust the heat so the sauce is simmering. Cook until the sauce is slightly thickened and takes on a nice shine, about 20 minutes. The sauce may be prepared up to 3 days in advance and refrigerated.

Note:
Ancho chile paste is traditionally made by toasting dried ancho chiles until softened, seeding them and pureeing the chile until very smooth. After pureeing, the paste is pushed through a fine sieve to remove all traces of skin and any stray seeds. The new tradition in my kitchen is to order ancho paste online. An excellent ancho paste (and pastes made from other chiles) is available online from Purcell Mountain Farms through their website (www.purcellmountainfarm.com ). Alternatively, substitute dried ancho chiles for the paste: Lightly toast 6 to 8 dried ancho chiles in a heavy skillet over medium-low heat just until they change color and smell wonderful, about 1 minute per side. Pull out the stems and tap out the seeds. Put the toasted chiles in a large bowl and pour in enough hot water to cover them. Weight them with a plate to keep them submerged and soak them until softened, about 20 minutes. Drain them thoroughly, tear them into large pieces, and put them in a blender jar. Blend, adding just enough fresh water to make a very coarse puree. Any seeds and skins you may have missed will be strained out of the sauce before adding the fruit.

Luscious Leftovers:

Pick over the turkey and remove all the meat from the bones—even the nooks and crannies. Pick over the meat to remove pieces of fat, skin, or gristle and shred the meat coarsely. Put the meat in a saucepan and spoon in enough of the leftover manchamanteles to coat the turkey generously. Warm over low heat until heated through. Serve with rice or use as a filling for soft tacos, crisp corn tacos or enchiladas. For any of the above, whip up a quick batch of Quick-Pickled Onions and pass a dish of them separately. Just about any kind of seafood—shrimp comes first to mind—off the grill would be a little happier with a splash of manchamanteles to keep it company.

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