Main Dishes Salsas and Sauces — By Ben on 27 October 2008
Chiles en nogada


Like I mentioned on my 24, 24, 24 post yesterday, chiles en nogada is my parents’ favorite dish. Immediately after foodbuzz accepted my dinner proposal I called my parents to get the recipe from them. I always helped at the restaurant during the season, but I had never made them all by myself so I had to make sure I had all the right ingredients and amounts. This recipe is my mom’s recipe that she inherited from my grandma, which she probably inherited from her mom. There are only a couple of ingredients that I didn’t find here in Ohio, but the rest are the ingredients and amounts necessary for 12 chiles along with some notes from my mom, dad and I.

Chiles en nogada

Chiles en nogada Makes 12 chiles Please note that the preparation of this dish needs to start two or three days in advance For this recipe you will need:

  • 12 poblano peppers (Personal note: Make sure they are very fresh and big enough to stuff)
  • 3 to 4 cups vegetable or deep frying oil
  • 1 filling recipe (See below)
  • 1 batter recipe (See below)
  • 1 walnut sauce recipe (See below)
  • 1 pomegranate
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley

Method:

  1. Up to one day before you make this dish clean the pomegranate and refrigerate. Here’s an easy way to do it: Click for video.
  2. Prepare the filling recipe
  3. I could try to explain how to prepare the peppers, but these videos will be a lot more help: Roast. Steam. Clean skin. Remove seeds.(Mom: Keep the stems on for presentation. They also help when you dip them in the batter.)
  4. When the peppers are roasted and cleaned spoon in some of the filling. You can also follow the instructions on this video. Just make sure to squeeze the filling very well and don’t overfill them. Set them apart on a baking sheet and sprinkle some flour over them.
  5. Prepare the egg batter recipe.
  6. Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet or if you are lucky enough to have a deep fryer, get it ready.
  7. Grabbing the peppers by the stem dip them in the egg batter making sure you get it all around. You can achieve this with a spin motion of your wrist. Be careful not to spill the filling in the batter.
  8. Deep fry the chiles until the batter is cooked. It will turn golden brown. (Mom: Some people don’t make the chiles this way. They don’t use batter or deep-fry them, but this is the original recipe that my ancestors from Puebla have always made. Me: I believe you, mom.)
  9. Place the chiles over paper towels and place some paper towels on top to absorb the excess oil.
  10. Prepare the walnut sauce recipe.
  11. Place one chile on a plate, spoon some of the nogada sauce on top, only enough to cover it, and garnish with pomegranate seeds and chopped parsley.
  12. Enjoy with a cold dark beer. Negra modelo is my favorite Mexican dark beer.

Filling: Ingredients:

  • 1 kg (2 lbs) ground beef (Dad: Use the best quality beef you can find. Some people use ground pork, but I don’t because it is of lesser quality)
  • 1 white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic head, cloves finely chopped
  • 3 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 ripe plantains, cut in small cubes
  • 4 red apples, cut in small cubes. (Personal note: Some people peel them before cutting them, but I like to preserve the fiber and flavor of the skin)
  • 1 to 2 cups of raisins, depending on your taste.
  • 150 to 200 grams (about 6 oz) acitron, cut in small cubes (Mom: If you can’t find acitron, use a small can of pineapple tidbits, well drained. That’ll do the trick)
  • 100 gr (about 4 oz) blenched almonds, chopped. (Mom: You can also use piñones (pine nuts), but they are optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • I also added: 1 TBSP ground cumin, 1 TBSP ground cinnamon, 1 tsp oregano.

Method:

  1. In a large pot sautee onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent. Add ground beef and cook until browned. Transfer to a strainer and let drain very well.
  2. Transfer back to pot. Add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well and let cook for 6-8 minutes. Set apart without a lid so the remaining liquids evaporate. (Mom: You can prepare the filling and stuff the chiles up to one day in advance, but make sure to deep-fry them right before you serve them.)

Batter Peronsal note: Prepare this batter after peppers have been stuffed. Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tsp lime juice
  • 4 eggs, yolks and whites separated
  • 2 to 3 TBSP all-purpose flour

Method:

  1. In a large bowl beat with a mixer at high speed egg whites with lime juice until stiff. (Mom: The juice of the lime will make the egg withes stiffer.)
  2. Reduce speed to medium and add egg yolks one by one. Add flour and keep beating until all the ingredients are well mixed.

Walnut sauce Ingredients:

  • 250 gr (about 9 oz) peeled walnuts (Mom: If you can’t find fresh walnuts in the shell, you can buy the dry kind, but you won’t be able to peel them and the sauce will have a brownish color. Dad: The sauce will be of lesser quality if you use dried walnuts)
  • 1 bolillo (Personal note: You can use 1/4 to 1/3 of a French bread loaf. Don’t use whole-wheat bread)
  • MIlk (Mom: Only use the necessary milk to cover the walnuts and bolillo)
  • 150 – 200 gr (about 6 oz) queso doble crema (Me: I have never seen queso doble crema up here. Mom and Dad: Use cream cheese instead. It will be tastier with it, anyway)

Method:

  1. To peel the walnuts skin off, warm 1 cup of water and turn heat off right before it starts boiling. Pour over walnuts and let it cool to the point where you can take them out of the water and start peeling them. Please note that this process is very tedious and takes a long time, but this is what separates the authentic, delicious nogada (walnut sauce) from the rest. You might peel the walnuts up to 2 nights before you are planning your dinner (strongly recommended). Place the peeled walnuts in a container along with the bread (cut in small pieces) with just enough milk to cover them and refrigarate. (Mom: If you get dried walnuts, pre-soak them in milk, along with the bolillo, the night before you are planning to prepare the dish)
  2. Right before you are ready to serve the chiles blend together milk, bread, walnuts and cheese until you get a white, smooth sauce. Do not cook or warm up this sauce. (Mom: Some people add salt, pepper or cinnamon to this sauce, but that “destroys” the flavor. The point is that you can taste the walnuts in the sauce.)

The preparation of this dish requires a lot of time and work (the original one, anyway), but it is well worth it. Maybe that’s why I haven’t found a single restaurant in Columbus that prepare them. Have you ever had chiles en nogada before? ¡Buen provecho!

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About Author

grew up around food. His family owned a restaurant in Mexico City and he spent a big deal of his childhood helping and learning after school the art of creating delicious dishes from simple ingredients. He created this blog to share his kitchen adventures with the world.

(25) Readers Comments

  1. That is a long recipe, but it looks s if it was worht it. Im curious about the walnut sauce. Is it mellew or slightly bitter? This looks like a good dish for the holidays.

  2. Wow! when exactly would your mum like to visit me here in Paris?!!…..

  3. Such a beautiful presentation! I love the comments from your mom & dad

  4. Ben, thanks for sharing an inter-generational recipe and it has lots of elements that a Greek would love too. I love the negra cerveza…good choice.

    Also, for Mexican ingredients…come up to Toronto…you’ll be in heaven.

  5. How beautifully complicated! I’m determined to find acitron (never heard of it before today) before I attempt to make this :)

  6. I love the comments from your mom and dad and can just hear them. I can see why this would take so long, but I also know that’s why it’s so tasty. I actually love to make involved dishes — it gives me a sense of accomplishment much like completing a project instead of just making food. I’m truly wondering what that walnut sauce must taste like….And cheers to you for getting this recipe done after all the cooking. It’s like pulling teeth to get me to write something like this!

  7. I love the colors on the plate. Nice presentation. That must be really good.

  8. That, my friend looks divine! I love anything stuffed and can only imagine the crispness of the batter covered in that beautiful sauce. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Ben, thanks. I always wanted an authentic walnut sauce. This is great. I’m going to try it. I even got a couple of pomegranates this past weekend too. Gracias Chico.

  10. Thank you for sharing this recipe! I read that chiles en nogada is one dish that is highly prized. Looks delicious!

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