Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Veracruz Bright Tomato Molli (Mole)--Tesmole


Tesmole generally means a kind of Veracruzana style stew, traditionally made with beef, though chicken can be used, if in a tomato broth, but most recipes that I've encountered on the web in Spanish, suggest switching out the ripe tomatoes with the indigenous papery and green tomatillo for pollo.  On an episode of Tony Bourdaine's No Reservations, "US/Mexico Border," a sort hybrid version of this is shown as mole, red with lots of ripe tomatoes and flavored with the local vinegar and local small dried chiles--no chocolate in sight; the meat was a home raised chicken, cut into serving pieces.  I believe this was in Durango.  So these can be varied a great deal, like just about any great dish of Mexico.  This is kind of just a hybrid of those dishes, with nods also to Zarela Martinez's beautiful book Veracruz.

For the mole like dish:

1 chicken, jointed, seasoned with salt

3 tbsp. Sunflower, Safflower or Peanut oil

6 tomatoes, ripe, cuts into pieces

6 to 10 Chiltepins, or bird chiles (some version use Chile de Arbol, others the local wild chile seco or locally comapa, according to Martinez)

1 to 2 small white onions, chopped

1 to 3 cloves of garlic (one person on the web insists no more than 1 clove of garlic should be used)

Epazote to taste (I'm putting this as taste, because for most the taste of this herb takes some getting used to it, recipes vary from 1 to 6 sprigs), minced

2 tbsp local fruit vinegar (if you find store bought Raspberry or other fruit vinegar, dilute it by 1 tbsp. of the vinegar to 1 tbsp. water.)

1.  Cover the chiles with water and cook for around 3 to 5 minutes at full boil--the liquid will reduce.  Remove from heat and let soak 30 minutes

2.  Meanwhile heat oil and fry chicken joints, brown on all sides and add water to cover in a large stock pot.  Bring to boil and simmer for 45 minutes.  If you like you can add a little, very little, epazote to the cooking water, along with a little of the vinegar.

3.  In a skillet add a little more oil saute the onion and garlic until just tender.

4.  Remove chicken to platter.  Drain the chiles (save the water).  Place chiles in blender with the tomatoes and cooked onion and garlic.  Add the vinegar and epazote (don't over due it) and blend, thinning with chicken stock as needed.  Note:  you don't want this to be too thin.  Pour this into a large skillet and heat, simmer for 20 minutes, adding stock and/or chile water if it gets thick.  Add back the chicken pieces and simmer until sauce is cooked down, but still bright red.  Serve like mole, which means rice and fresh tortillas in Mexico.  If seen one Durango cook use the sauce as a topping for tamales on the telly.  

Traditional Tesmole Stew

Most recipes that I encounter all call for beef shin meat.  But it is made with chicken.  It's fiery/tomatoey affair with some vegetables.  I've even encountered at least one version, in fact the one shown above that is made with indigenous Yucca flower (which is sometimes called a palm--it's not).

A really quick version:

Shredded beef or chicken
4 to 6 ripe tomatoes, chopped
Boiled dried chiles to taste
Onion to taste
Garlic to taste
Epazote to taste.
Salt and black pepper to taste.
Fried corn dumplings (some places add some little flour dumplings that a are like German spƤtzle, I suppose an easy way to do this would be to just buy some dried and use.)
Beef or chicken stock

Note:  this is a seriously composite recipe from several in Spanish from the web, ALL though from Veracruz.

Heat the stock and add the tomatoes, add softened chiles, and garlic, onions and epazote to taste.  Boil until the tomatoes are soft, mash or puree.  Add in the shredded meat, and cook for another 10 minutes. Add this point add fried corn dumplings, flour dumplings and chopped blossoms, if you are using them.  Boil for another 10 minutes.

This is the yucca plant in blossom.  These grow from central American all through out the desert all the way through Sonora and Arizona.  In fact, it is the national flower of Ecuador.  The flowers are delicious.  These plants are easy to grow elsewhere--I have mine pots and I live in the south.  People down here also grow them in their yards.  Up north big pots will work.  

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