Clay's Kitchen : Recetas Mexicanas (Mexican Recipes)

Recetas Mexicanas (Mexican Recipes)

© Copyright 1995-2017, Clay Irving <>, Manhattan Beach, CA USA

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Chiles En Nogada (Chiles In Walnut Sauce)

Recipe from: The Cuisines of Mexico by Diana Kennedy ISBN 0-06-012344-3
Servings: 6

This is one of the famous dishes of Mexico: large, dark green chiles poblanos stuffed with a pork meat picadillo and covered with a walnut sauce. It is decorated with red pomegranate seeds and the large-leafed Italian parsley.

The recipe is said to have been concocted by the grateful people of Puebla, who were giving a banquet in honor of Don Agustin de Iturbide's saint's day, August 28 in 1821. He and his followers had led he final revolt against Spanish domination; as self-proclaimed emperor he had just signed the Treaty of Cordoba. All the dishes at the banquet were concocted of ingredients of the colors of the Mexican flag; in this dish were the green chiles, the white sauce, and the red pomegranate seeds.

It is almost worth a special journey to Mexico City or, better still, to Puebla toward the end of August. By then it is well on in the rainy season, and the fresh crop of walnuts will have been gathered. The peasants come in from the country with them, and you can see them sitting on the sidewalks at every street corner selling little piles of a dozen walnuts. Sometimes they are crammed into small paper bags, but the top one will always be cracked open so that you can see its quality. The flesh is tender, almost milky, with a very delicate flavor, and the papery skin around it can be peeled off easily. Practically every restaurant will have chiles en nogada on the menu, and no family fiesta will be complete without them during their short season.

6 chiles poblanos
1 small bunch Italian parsley
seeds of one small pomegranate

3 pounds boneless pork
½ onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon salt
6 tablespoons lard or the fat from the broth
½ medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
8 peppercorns
5 whole cloves
½ inch stick cinnamon
3 tablespoons raisins
2 tablespoons almonds, blanched and slivered
2 tablespoons acitron or candied fruit, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1 ¼ pounds tomatoes, peeled and seeded
1 pear, peeled and chopped
1 peach, peeled and chopped

Nogada (Walnut Sauce):
25 fresh walnuts, shelled
1 small piece white bread, without crust
¼ pound farmer cheese
1 ½ cups Thick Sour Cream, See recipe
½ teaspoon salt,
large pinch powdered cinnamon

The Stuffed Chiles:

6 chiles poblanos, prepare the chiles as for Chiles Rellenos

The picadillo, prepare the picadillo as for Chiles Rellenos with these few minor changes: chop the meat finely and add a chopped pear and peach to the stuffing

The Nogada (Walnut Sauce):
One day ahead:

20 to 25 fresh walnuts, shelled
cold milk to cover

Remove the thin papery skin from the nuts, it should come off quite easily. Cover the walnuts with cold milk and leave them to soak overnight.

On serving day:

A blender
The soaked and drained nuts
1 small piece of white bread, without crust
¼ pound queso fresco
1 ½ cups Thick Sour Cream (see recipe)
½ teaspoon salt or 1 ½ tablespoons sugar (see below)
A large pinch of powdered cinnamon (optional)

Blend all the ingredients until they are smooth

Assembling the dish:

The chiles
The sauce
A small bunch of Italian parsley
The seeds of one small pomegranate

Cover the chiles with the sauce and garnish with parsley leaves and pomegranate seeds.

You really have to use chiles poblanos for this dish. The walnuts should be very fresh.

Many people like a slightly sweet sauce, while others prefer a little salty, It is a matter of taste.

One of the points most vehemently discussed among Mexican cooks is whether the chiles for this dish should be capeados (covered with beaten egg and fried) or not. I agree with those who say no; I think the rich sauce and batter together is too much. They are served warm with the cold sauce poured over them at the last moment. But if you personally prefer them capeados, then do it that way.

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