For Christmas I had received a couple of Amazon gift cards and one of the goodies I got myself was The Mexican Slow Cooker cookbook. I’ll admit, I’m slightly disappointed with it. Even though its title includes the word “slow cooker” not all of the recipes are actually prepared using one, hence the disappointment. I selected the book as I was immediately taken with the idea of exotic slow cooker recipes as opposed to your more generic dishes like chili and stews. It certainly won’t go to waste since it is after all a Mexican cookbook, Mexican being one of my favorite cuisines. But I guess this is a perfect instance where the demise of the traditional brick and mortar bookstore really resonates-in a bookstore I could have flipped through the pages of the book and seen before buying it that it actually didn’t include all slow cooker recipes. C’est la vie…
I made Mole Manchamanteles (red mole with chicken and fried plantains). The name means “tablecloth stainer,” which the author writes is “a tribute to both the gluttonous abandon induced by this luscious sauce and its deep red color.” The author notes that the sauce also works when serving it with roasted vegetables, turkey, Cornish hens, duck, tamales or pork carnitas.
recipe courtesy of The Mexican Slow Cooker by Deborah Schneider
6 chicken breasts or 12 chicken thighs
4 ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
1 cup peeled, diced fresh pineapple or canned pineapple that has been well drained
1/2 apple, peeled and diced
1/4 cup whole shelled almonds
1/4 cup seedless raisins
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 white onion, diced
2 small Roma tomatoes, diced
1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2 whole cloves
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 dried bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons whole dried Mexican oregano
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 1/2 cups chicken broth or water, more as needed
Toasted sesame seeds
3/4 cup peeled, finely diced fresh pineapple or canned pineapple, well drained
Place all of 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 lade the mole over the chicken. Lightly dust the sesame seeds and garnish each serving with a few pieces of pineapple and fried plantain.