Tender carnitas meat is layered with corn tortillas and an easy Mexican mole sauce. This version of the sauce combines sweet plantains and dried cherries with spicy ancho chiles and savory pumpkinseed kernels; a touch of Mexican chocolate adds depth. Substitute Pork Carnitas for the beef, if you prefer.
2 dried ancho chiles
1 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup (1/2-inch-thick) slices soft black plantains (about 4 ounces)
1/2 cup chopped onion
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup less-sodium beef broth
2 tablespoons dried sweet cherries
2 tablespoons salted pumpkinseed kernels
1/2 ounce Mexican chocolate, chopped (such as Abuelita)
To prepare mole, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chiles, and cook 2 minutes on each side or until fragrant. Combine chiles and 1 cup boiling water in a small bowl; cover and let stand 10 minutes. Remove chiles from liquid, reserving liquid. Remove and discard stems and seeds from chiles. Set chiles and soaking liquid aside.
Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add plantains; sauté 2 minutes. Add onion and the next 4 ingredients (through garlic); sauté for 5 minutes. Stir in chiles, soaking liquid, broth, cherries, and pumpkinseed kernels; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Add chocolate, stirring until chocolate melts. Transfer mixture to a blender, and add 1 cup water. Process until smooth.
Preheat oven to 350°.
Spread 1 cup mole in bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish lightly coated with cooking spray. Arrange 6 tortillas over mole; top with Beef Carnitas. Arrange remaining tortillas over Beef Carnitas. Spread remaining sauce over tortillas; sprinkle with queso fresco. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until cheese begins to melt and casserole is thoroughly heated.
Mole is traditionally used with chicken. There is no such thing as beef carnitas. Carnitas by definition is pork. Carne de res means beef, There are much easier and better recipes for mole and they don't require a lot of ingredients.
I am torn about this recipe. I made it as is for the second time and no doubt the meat is delicious and so is the sauce. But there seems to be something missing (heat for me), and like there is too much tortilla so it is slightly dry. I think next time I will make actual enchiladas with some queso fresco rolled inside with the meat (and some red pepper for heat), and make a bit more sauce to cover the enchiladas, then top with queso fresco. Won't quite be as light, but I think will be more balanced.
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