Chiles en Nogada is probably my favorite Mexican dish of all. I had have versions at Restaurants in the past but nothing has compared to this homemade version. My wife and I were first inspired to make this after reading a post on Chowhound last year.
Agustin de Iturbide was a military commander who fought in Mexico's War of Independence, and later went on to become Emperor of Mexico in 1822. Agustin signed the treaty of Cordoba that granted Mexico its Independence. On his way to Mexico City, Agustin stopped in the city of Puebla where the townspeople decided to hold a feast to celebrate the Independence from Spain and Iturbide’s saint’s day, August 28th. The Augustinian nuns of Santa Monica convent were in charge of creating a special dish for the occasion. Using local ingredients that were in season they came up with a dish that proudly bore the colors of the Mexican flag; in this dish were the green chilies, the white sauce, and the red pomegranate seeds.
10 Large Poblano Chiles, charred, peeled, seeds and veins removed
1 Pound of Ground Pork
1 Pound of Ground Beef
Salt to Taste
2 Bay Leaves
Pinch of Oregano
1 Whole Crushed Garlic
1 Chopped White Onion
1/2 Chopped jalapeño (optional for extra spice)
1 Chopped Apple core removed
1 Chopped Peach pit removed
1 Chopped Pear core removed
1 Ripe Plantain peeled and chopped
1 stick of Cinnamon
3oz chopped dried Pineapple
The Walnut Sauce (Nogada)
1 lb of Mexican Crema
¼ - 1/2 Cup Milk
¾ Pound Queso Fresco
½ Ounce Chopped Pecan
2 Ounce Chopped Walnut
1 Cup Pomegranate Seeds
½ Cup Cilantro
Cover tomatoes with water and simmer until soft about 10 minutes, Remove skin from tomatoes and blend.
Line large pot or skillet with cooking oil; add whole crushed garlic, onions, and jalapeño. Stir in ground pork and beef and cook over medium low heat until meat is browned. Salt to taste, add pinch of oregano, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf. Add the tomatoes and salt to taste.
Stir in the raisins and chopped walnuts. After several minutes add the chopped pear, apple, plantains, and mix well, continue cooking over medium-high heat until most of the moisture has evaporated. Stir often let cool, cover, and set aside.
Smear a light coating of vegetable oil on the poblano chile, directly place chile over an open flame. Turn the chiles from time to time to allow skin to blister and char lightly. Place them immediately into a plastic bag or seal with plastic wrap and leave them to sweat for about 10-15 minutes. This allows the skin to moisten. Remove skin and clean off with the edge of a spoon. Make a slit in the side of each chile and carefully remove the seeds and veins. Gloves are recommended; we also recommended you do not rinse the chilies.
Stuff the chiles with the picadillo until they are full, place seam on bottom of plate
Blend the crema, milk, queso fresco, pecans and walnuts until smooth. You can play with the amounts of cheese and milk until you get your desired consistency. Cover the chiles in the nogada sauce and sprinkle with fresh cilantro and pomegranate seeds.
Here is a video from last year which was made with the help of the author of the original post from chowhound. We pretty much stuck with the same recipe with exception of the nogada was made with water instead of milk on the video.
Chiles en Nogada is a very complex dish that maintains a pleasing balance between the savory and sweet. We love serving it to guest and have them guessing the ingredients. If you have any questions regarding the preparation feel free to leave a comment.
Chiles en Nogada