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Cranberry Mole

October/November 2005

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Making mole (a traditional Mexican sauce) doesn't have to be an all-day process - and eating it doesn't have to be a dietary nightmare, especially if you use sweet cranberries for flavor, cut down on the oil and reduce the huge quantity of nuts and seeds often used. This recipe makes more than you may need for Thanksgiving dinner, but the leftovers are delicious on Southwestern-style turkey sandwiches or quesadillas.


Cranberry Mole Recipe

Makes: About 4 1/2 cups, enough for 12 servings plus leftovers

Active Time:

Total Time:

Ingredients

  • 5 cups water
  • 10 dried chiles, any combination of New Mexico, pasilla and/or ancho (see Ingredient notes)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 4 tomatillos, papery husks removed, rinsed and halved (see Ingredient notes)
  • 2 plum tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 small, very ripe, almost black plantain, (about 10 ounces), peeled and thinly sliced (see Ingredient notes)
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Preparation

  1. Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stem and seed chiles, then tear the skins into large chunks. Place the chiles and dried cranberries in a large bowl; cover with boiling water. Set aside to soften.
  2. Position rack at top level of oven; preheat broiler. Lightly oil a large baking sheet with a rim. Place tomatillos and tomatoes cut-side down on the baking sheet. Broil until the skins char, about 6 minutes. Transfer the tomatillos, tomatoes and any juices to a food processor or blender.
  3. Meanwhile, toast almonds in a dry medium skillet over medium heat, stirring, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer to the food processor or blender.
  4. Heat oil in the same pan over medium heat. Add plantain and cook until lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes, turning the slices once. Transfer to the food processor or blender.
  5. Place garlic in the same pan over medium-low heat; cook, stirring occasionally, just until golden, about 3 minutes. Add to the food processor or blender.
  6. Drain the chiles and cranberries; transfer to the food processor or blender. Add cinnamon, allspice and cloves. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary, about 3 minutes.
  7. Pour the puree into a large saucepan. Stir in broth, chocolate, salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the mole begins to bubble, 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce heat and gently simmer, stirring constantly, until the mole is steaming and slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Ingredient Notes: Dried New Mexico, pasilla and ancho chiles are used in Southwestern cooking to add moderate heat and a rich flavor to sauces, soups and stews. To give the mole the most flavor, use at least two different varieties. Find them in the produce section of large supermarkets or online at www.melissas.com.
  • Tomatillos are tart, plum-size green fruits that look like small, husk-covered green tomatoes. Find them in the produce section near the tomatoes.
  • Plantains are a starchy, less-sweet relative of the banana. They are typically sold underripe, with yellow skin, but are best when the skin is almost completely black. Buy underripe plantains about one week in advance and ripen on the counter.

Nutrition

Per 2-tablespoon serving: 41 calories; 1 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 8 g carbohydrates; 1 g protein; 2 g fiber; 44 mg sodium; 177 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (20% daily value).

Carbohydrate Servings: 1/2

Exchanges: 1/2 other carb



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