Day of the Dead Recipes

Day of the Dead – or Dia de Los Muertos – is a time to honor and celebrate loved ones who have died through colorful decorations and delicious food on November 1st and 2nd.  It originated in Mexico and is celebrated there, in Guatemala, and here in the U.S.  Chef and author Amalia Moreno Damgaard shares a dish and a dink for the day.

Mole de Platanos
(Pan-fried Plantains in Chili Chocolate Sauce)
Recipe by chef Amalia Moreno-Damgaard

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

3 Roma tomatoes
3 tomatillos
1 to 1 1/2 ancho chiles, seeded
3 pitted prunes or 1 tablespoon raisins, soaked in very hot water
1 tablespoon ground pan-roasted pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon ground pan-roasted sesame seeds
2 teaspoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon ground canela (cinnamon)
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 to 1/3 cup Guatemalan or Mexican artisan chocolate

Sesame seeds, berries, mint for garnish

Heat a skillet for 2 minutes over medium heat, then add the tomatoes and tomatillos. Dry pan roast until charred all over and mushy (about 8 minutes).

Separately, dry pan roast the chiles over medium heat (3 to 5 minutes). Keep a close eye on them, as they burn easily. Soak the roasted chiles in 1 cup of very hot water for 10 minutes.

Combine the roasted tomatoes and tomatillos with the soaked chiles and 1/4 cup of the soaking water, as well as the prunes or raisins, and purée in a blender to a fine consistency. The sauce should look smooth and velvety.

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan. Add the purée, the ground seeds, and the seasonings. Add the and let the chocolate melt gradually. Lower the heat and simmer the sauce for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce should be a little thinner than spaghetti sauce and should look brown,

smooth, and glossy. If it’s too thick, add a little water. If it’s too thin, cook it a little longer. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed.

Peel and slice plantains on the diagonal 1/2 inch thick. Panfry them in batches in 3 tablespoons of canola oil over medium heat until the slices are medium brown (about 1 1/2 minutes per side). Adjust the oil as you panfry each batch. Transfer the plantains to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil. Top the plantains with the sauce.


Minnesotan Paloma
Recipe by chef Amalia Moreno-Damgaard

3 oz. freshly squeezed pink or white grapefruit juice
½ oz. fine tequila (El Jimador)
½ oz. aquavit
1 oz. lingonberry drink concentrate (or to taste)
1 oz. sparkling water
Grapefruit pieces, lime slices, or mint for garnish

Combine the grapefruit juice, tequila, aquavit, and ice in a in a cocktail shaker or mixing bottle.

Add the lingonberry to the glass, then the sparkling water. Add the mixture from the cocktail shaker or bottle. Garnish.

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