Are you familiar with the seven moles of Oaxaca? Similar to the French “Mother Sauces“, these moles represent the foundation of Oaxaca cooking….and also prove my point that Mexican gastronomy is every bit as complex and sophisticated as any in Europe, but that’s a post for another time. Let’s just start with one for now: Manchamantel Mole Sauce.
What is Manchamantel?
There is the classic mole negro made lots of chiles and bittersweet chocolate. There are moles in white, green, and yellow, then there is a real beauty called Manchamantel. Literally translating to tablecloth-stainer. This is a sweet and spicy mole made from chipotle chiles, pineapple, peanuts, and plaintain. It is commonly made more like a stew where thick pieces of pork or chicken or chorizo are cooked as part of the sauce then the served together with tortillas or rice.
I wanted to make it to stuff in this year’s Christmas tamales with chicken and roasted pieces of pumpkin for our tamalada. This recipe makes a ton so I figured (or had high hopes) that there would be plenty leftover after making the tamales to have around for the week to come. I’m not sure what I was thinking. After everyone had packed up and gone home, there wasn’t a single drop of mole to be had! Make some more I must, but there are worse fates in life.
Here’s the deal with Manchamantel mole sauce
I made it in conjunction with the chicken that I cooked for the tamales. If you are not making the tamales and want to make the mole anyway, substitute store-bought chicken broth where it calls for the cooking liquid from the chicken. You could also make it vegetarian and use the water the chiles are soaked in instead of the chicken broth. If you are going that route however you are going to need more liquid than that, so I would also buy a container of vegetable broth as well.
I made this mole to go with my chicken and roasted pumpkin tamales so I used the cooking liquid from the chicken to make the mole sauce. If you are making the mole on it's own without the chicken use store-bought broth where it says to use the chicken cooking liquid. Mole is better the longer it sits. Make a day or two in advance for the best flavor. Mole will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
- 3 dried ancho chiles
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 5 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 cups fresh pineapple, diced
- 1/4 cup raw peanuts
- 1/4 cup raw almonds
- 2 whole cloves
- 3 black peppercorns
- 1 inch piece Mexican cinnamon stick (canela) or regular cinnamon stick
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil or lard
- 1 small ripe plantain (about 8 ounces), peeled and cut in thick slices
- 3 chipotles en adobo
- 3 cups broth from chicken cooking liquid or store-bought chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Remove stems from ancho chiles and shake out the seeds. Tear into thick strips so they can lay flat. Heat a dry comal, cast iron skillet, or frying pan over medium heat and lay chile strips in pan. Toast on both sides until darkened and fragrant, but not burnt. Remove as they are toasted.
- Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Add toasted chiles and remove from heat. Use a plate to submerge completely under water. Let sit 30 minutes.
- Heat broiler to high. Line a baking sheet with foil and place onion, garlic, and pineapple on prepared sheet. Broil until charred on all sides, about 15 minutes. Remove garlic as it gets toasted, it will cook much quicker than onion or pineapple.
- Toast peanuts and almonds separately in a dry frying pan over medium heat, stirring frequently so they don't burn. Let both cool slightly, then grind in a spice or clean coffee grinder until finely ground, but not a paste. Set aside.
- Grind cloves, peppercorns, and cinnamon in a coffee grinder until finely ground. Set aside.
- Heat oil or lard in a large pot (large enough to cook mole in--I used a 4-quart Dutch oven) over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add plantain slices and fry on both sides until golden. Use tongs or slotted spoon to remove to a plate, leaving oil in pot.
- In a blender combine drained, soaked chiles, ground nuts, a third of the charred vegetables, and about a cup of the cooking liquid from the chicken. Blend until very smooth. Pour into a large bowl and repeat with remaining charred vegetables, ground spices, fried plantains, and chipotles adding enough chicken broth to get things moving but not too much to make it runny (you'll use about 3 cups total). You may have to do this in two more batches depending on the size of your blender.
- Return pot with oil to medium heat. Once shimmering, add pureed sauce (careful it will spatter). Stir continuously to cook the sauce in the oil. Add salt and reduce the heat to low. Cook until thickened slightly, about 15 minutes. Taste and add more salt if needed.
- Serve with roasted chicken or pork or in tamales.
Did you love this recipe? I want to know! Leave me a comment and snap a photo for Instagram! Tag @holajalapeno so I can see your beautiful creation! Your feedback is super important to me. Besos! Kate