To prepare Picadillo: In a large skillet, saute the onion, garlic and bay leaves in oil over moderate heat, stirring, until the onion is softened. Add the beef, and continue to cook until the beef is no longer pink; breaking up any lumps with a wooden spoon. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in oregano, cloves, and cinnamon. Pour out any excess fat and stir in the tomato paste until thoroughly incorporated. Add chipotles, raisins, almonds, and olives; salt to taste. Remove from heat. When mixture is cool, add cheese and mix well.
Char the flesh of the peppers over a gas flame, under a broiler or on a grill. Alternatively, set a rack over an electric burner or use a very hot heavy frying pan. Cook, turning frequently, until the skins are blistered all over. Take care not to overcook and burn right through the pepper. Put peppers in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let sweat for about 10 minutes to loosen the skins. Rub off as much skin as possible and cut a slit along the side of each pepper, keeping the stems and tip intact. Carefully remove the seeds and inner membranes, but do not rinse with water.
Heat 1-inch of oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat until very hot. Place flour in a shallow platter and season with salt and pepper. Beat egg whites until foamy, add a pinch of salt, and whip to stiff peaks. Lightly beat the egg yolks and fold into the whites. Stuff the chiles with picadillo, leaving enough room to close the opening. Overlap the seam slightly and gently squeeze closed. Secure with wooden toothpicks if desired. Pat the peppers dry and lightly coat in the seasoned flour. Pick the chile up by its stem and dip into the egg batter, making sure they are well covered, tap off excess. Fry until evenly browned, about 3 minutes each side. The egg burns easily so take care not to cook too long. Drain on paper towels. To serve, ladle a pool of Tomato Ranchero sauce on plates and set chiles rellenos on top, serve immediately.
Combine and puree the tomatoes, onion, cilantro, cumin, and garlic in a food processor.
Heat the oil in a saucepan or skillet and fry the tomato puree over high flame. Add broth, and salt. Simmer for 10 minutes until the sauce thickens slightly and is heated through. If sauce tastes somewhat bitter, add a pinch of sugar. Sprinkle with a dash of hot red pepper sauce. Sauce may be served hot or cold.
Yield: about 2 cups
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