Estofado de frutas (chicken and fruit stew)

Yield: 4 -6

Measure Ingredient
3 ounces Tablet of Mexican chocolate
4 pounds Chicken; cut in serving pieces
\N \N Salt and black pepper; to taste
¼ cup Vegetable oil
1 cup Sesame seeds
4 larges Ripe tomatoes
2 mediums Onions
8 \N Garlic cloves
6 larges Sprigs fresh thyme; or 1 teaspoon dried
4 \N Sprigs fresh marjoram; or 1/2 teaspoon dried
4 \N Sprigs fresh oregano; or 1/2 teaspoon dried
\N \N Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon Ground black pepper
1½ \N Inch stick Mexican cinnamon
¼ teaspoon Ground cloves
¼ cup Chicken stock or water; as needed, up to 1/2, up to
2 \N Tart; firm green apples, peeled, cored and sliced in 8 wedges
1 large Ripe plantain; peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
½ cup Blanched whole almonds

From "The Food and Life of Oaxaca" (Macmillan, $32½) by Zarela Martinez.

Make this dish in a Mexican lidded clay casserole or an old-fashioned American Dutch oven.

Grate the chocolate on a straight-sided grater; set aside.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat until not quite smoking. Lightly brown the chicken, allowing about 3 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and set aside. Pour off and discard all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the pan; set the pan aside.

Place the sesame seeds in a medium skillet over medium heat. Toast just until golden, stirring constantly or shaking the pan. Immediately scrape out the seeds into a small bowl before they darken and overcook.

Heat a heavy ungreased griddle or cast-iron skillet over medium low heat until a drop of water sizzles on contact. Place the tomatoes (stem side down), the unpeeled onions and individual unpeeled garlic cloves on a griddle. Cook, turning frequently, until the tomatoes are blackened all over and the onion and garlic are somewhat softened, about 15 to 20 minutes for the tomatoes, 20 to 25 minutes for the onions and 8 minutes for the garlic. Remove the tomatoes, onions and garlic from the griddle; when cool enough to handle, peel them over a bowl to catch the juices.

Place the roasted tomatoes, onions, garlic and toasted sesame seeds in a blender with the herbs and spices and process until smooth. Over medium high heat, reheat the reserved fat in the Dutch oven until rippling. Add the pureed mixture and bring to a boil, stirring frequently to keep it from spattering. Add the chocolate and stir well to combine. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Thin with some chicken stock if the sauce has gotten too thick. Return chicken pieces to the Dutch oven. Add apple wedges and plaintain rounds, spacing them evenly.

Scatter almonds over the top. Cover and cook over medium heat until the chicken is tender, about 20 minutes. Alternately, you can transfer the dish to a lidded casserole and bake it in a pre-heated 350-degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes.

Posted to CHILE-HEADS DIGEST by Judy Howle <howle@...> on Jan 09, 1999, converted by MM_Buster v2.0l.

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