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Hearty, warming and completely delicious, this Mexican chicken stew, known as clemole, is a tomato broth and vegetable concoction. Red guajillo chili, lime and epazote add plenty of rich south of the border flavor, along with garlic.
Although clemole is usually described as a stew, the tomato broth mixture makes it rather soup-like. In either case, it’s perfect for those chilly evenings or to lift your spirits if you’re feeling a bit under the weather.
Sometimes made with beef and other times with chicken this hearty Mexican stew is famed for its array of vegetables. In many Mexican households, whatever meat happens to be in the refrigerator and whatever vegetables are in the vegetable crisper drawer are what goes into the mix, along with the chilies.
- 6 chicken thighs
- 2 chayotes
- 2 ears white corn in chunks
- 4 guajillo chilies
- 6 roma tomatoes
- 1 white onion
- 2 zucchini in chunks
- 1/3 pound green beans
- 8 cups water
- 2 sprigs fresh epazote or 2 tablespoons dried
- 1 garlic bulb
- Salt to taste
- 4 chopped limes to serve
- 18 warm corn tortillas to serve
- Cut open the chilies and discard the veins and seeds.
- Put them in a pan and cover with water.
- Turn up the heat to bring the water to a boil and then turn it off.
- Let the chilies soak for 15 minutes.
- Now add the tomatoes to the pot whole and add more water to cover.
- Simmer for 15 minutes.
- Blend the chilies and tomatoes with a little bit of the cooking water so you get a runny paste.
- This will be your chili base. Set it aside for now.
- Put the chicken in the pot and add the whole onion and garlic as well as 8 cups water.
- Cook for 15 minutes.
- Add the corn, epazote and chayote and cook for 15 minutes.
- Add the zucchini and beans then strain the chili base into the pot too.
- Bring the stew to a boil and skim off any foam on top.
- Simmer for 20 minutes then add a teaspoon salt or to taste.
- Discard the onion, garlic and epazote then serve with lime wedges and corn tortillas.
- For a more intense chili flavor, increase the amount of guajilla chilies. You can also add a couple of pasilla peppers which are not spicy but do contribute to the flavor.
- You should be able to find epazote at a Mexican market. It adds an aromatic flavor to Mexican dishes. You could even try growing your own but bear in mind it’s invasive so best grown in a pot.
Mexican chicken stew, or clemole, is a delicious blend of chicken, vegetables and more. Served with corn tortillas or crusty bread, it makes a warming, satisfying supper.