Manchamanteles (Chicken and Fruit Stew)

Ancho (Ahn-cho) Chile (Capsicum Annum) means Wide Chile Pepper. This chile ranges from 3 – 4 on a heat scale of 1 to 10. An Ancho is the dried form of a Poblano Pepper and often is mislabeled as a Pasilla or Mulato Pepper. Anchos have sweet fruity flavor with hints of cherry, prune, and fig. Anchos, combined with the Pasilla and Guajillo, form the Holy Trinity of chiles used to prepare the traditional mole sauces. Scoville heat units are 1,000 to 3,000.

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For the chicken:

2 chickens, cut into serving pieces
1 medium white onion, studded with 2 cloves
2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
4 large cloves garlic, peeled
2 sprigs each thyme and marjoram
salt, to taste
water, to cover

For the sauce

2 Tbsp. lard or oil
8 ancho chiles, seeded and deveined
2 oz. blanched almonds
1-1/2-inch stick cinnamon
4-6 roma tomatoes, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 small white onion, sliced
2 large cloves garlic, peeled
2 plantains, peeled and sliced
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
3 thick slices fresh, sweet pineapple, cut into chunks
1 small apple, peeled and cut into chunks
1 small pear, peeled and cut into chunks
1-1/2 tsp. sugar
salt, to taste


Put the cut-up chickens in a stockpot with the onion, carrots, garlic, herbs, salt to taste and water to cover. Bring the pot to a boil, then lower the heat and cook, covered, until tender.

Allow the chicken to cool in the broth, strain the broth and reserve. Cover chicken pieces and set aside.

Heat a tablespoon of lard or oil in a large, heavy saucepan or cazuela and saute the chiles, stirring constantly, just until their fragrance is released take care not to burn them, since this will result in a bitter flavor. Put them in a bowl with broth to cover for 20 minutes.

Add another half tablespoon of lard or oil to that remaining in the saucepan where the chiles were sauteed, and fry the almonds, cinnamon, cloves, tomatoes, onion and garlic until the tomato just begins to release its juice.

Put this mixture in a blender with the chiles and the broth in which they were soaked and puree until smooth, using the highest setting. This will probably need to be done in two batches.

Heat the remaining half tablespoon of lard or oil in the same saucepan and pour in all the blended ingredients through a wire mesh strainer, using a spoon to push through as much of the sauce as possible. Cook, stirring, for 10 minutes, gradually adding 4 cups of the reserved broth. Add the plantains, sweet potatoes, fruit, sugar and salt to taste and continue cooking, covered, over low heat for another 20 minutes.

Add the cooked chicken and heat through. Serve in bowls, accompanied by white rice and warm tortillas.

Yields 8 servings.

Recipe from Mexico Connect.