Kabocha Mole Stew

This is a simple mole made with mild dried chiles.  The squash simmers in it and absorbs the complex flavors.  You can just eat the stew over rice or quinoa, or stuff it into corn tortillas and make enchiladas.

Place 3 dried New Mexico and 3 dried Pasilla or Ancho chiles in a pot with 4 C. of water and bring to a boil then push down into the water and cover.  Cook on low boil for 10 minutes, until the chiles are completely soft.

Remove the chiles from the cooking liquid, reserving it.  Run the chiles under cool water and remove the seeds and stems.  Add them to a small food processor or blender along with the zest of 1 lemon or mandarin orange, and puree with enough of the cooking liquid to liquify them completely.

Dice 1 onion and mince 3 cloves of garlic.  Heat 3 T. olive oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven and add the onion and 1/2 t. dried sage leaves, cooking until it is soft.  Add the garlic, saute for 2 minutes, then add the chile puree and cooking liquid.

Cut 1 kabocha squash into slices, following the scalloped lines on the rind.  Peel the slices and remove any seeds and pith, then dice each slice into 1″ cubes.  You want 4 C.  If you have squash leftover, leave it unsliced and unpeeled.  Store in the fridge covered with plastic.

Add the squash cubes to the chile broth and bring to a boil, then simmer for 30-40 minutes, until the squash is tender but not falling apart.  Add vegetable broth if necessary to keep the stew from getting too thick.  Season with salt and pepper.

To make enchiladas:  spoon a thin layer of the mole sauce in the bottom of a pyrex baking dish.  Heat corn tortillas and fill with squash, then lay them side by side in the dish.  When the dish is full, spoon more chile over the top and cover with grated Monterey Jack.  Bake at 350 until the dish is bubbling and the top is light brown.

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