Viva Mexico! In honour of Mexico’s independence (celebrated every 15 and 16 September) we are going to share with you one of its most popular dishes! Chiles en Nogada is enjoyed by Mexicans around the country on this patriotic holiday.
In fact, it is rumoured that the dish was created in honour of the new nation. The nuns at Santa Monica Convent (in Puebla) decided to show their Mexican pride by cooking a big banquet. And the dishes were made with the colours of the new flag: green, white and red.
The classic Mexican dish uses pork filling with dried fruit and spices, but if you’d like you can use ground chicken or turkey. And although it is a little complicated, you will be rewarded for your efforts with one of Mexico’s most iconic dishes.
The Walnut Sauce:
- 1 heaped cup of shelled walnut halves
- Milk (about 2 cups)
- 1/4 lb queso fresco (or fresh cheese)
- 1 1/2 cups thick sour cream (or creme fraiche)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 6 large poblano chiles (use only poblanos, not another type of chile, for this dish. Contours Travel resident Mexican confirmed that they are available at Coles around this time of year, so keep an eye for them)
- 1 1/4 pounds ground pork, chicken or turkey thigh meat
- 4 Tbsp olive oil or canola oil
- 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 cup of crushed, roasted tomatoes
- 1/2 cup of golden raisins
- 2 Tbsp blanched and slivered almonds, roughly chopped
- 1 apple, peeled, cored, chopped
- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
The night before you will have to remove the bitter skins from the walnuts. You may need to blanch them for one minute in boiling water first, to loosen the skins. Place the peeled walnuts in a bowl, cover them with milk to soak, and chill them overnight in the refrigerator.
The next day:
Roast the chiles directly over the flame of your gas stove, or on the bbq. Char them on all sides until their skin is blackened. Then, place them in a bowl, cover with clingfilm and let them “sweat” for around 20 minutes. After, their skin will be easy to peel off. Carefully remove the seeds while trying to keep the chiles shape. Rinse and pat them dry.
The walnut sauce:
Drain the walnuts and place them on the blender. Mix together with the fresh cheese, sour cream, and the cinnamon until it gets a smooth texture.
For the filling:
- Place the meat in a large pan with previously hot oil, brown the meat and add salt to taste. Place the meat aside in a bowl and add more cooking oil to cook the onion until soft. Add cinnamon, black pepper, cloves, and garlic and cook for a minute.
- Melt the butter in the pan and return the ground meat carefully breaking any clumps. Then, add the crushed tomatoes, golden raisins, and the chopped slivered almonds. Add a bit of water is it looks too dry. Add the chopped apple and adjust spices to taste.
To assemble the dish:
Stuff the chiles with the filling and [lace them on individual plates. Now, over the stuffed chiles with the walnut sauce. Finally, sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and a bit of parsley or coriander.
Are you a huge fan of Mexican food? Why not talk to us about arranging a culinary tour of Mexico today? Check out our sample Flavours of Mexico tour for inspiration!