Chiles en Nogada
Servings: 6 to 8 peppers
The name comes from the Spanish word for the Walnut tree - Nogal
This dish traditionally is served at room temperature with cold cream walnut sauce, a “sweet spicy” pepper filled with meat, fruit, nuts, simply a delicious dish that is hard to find in restaurants due to the time it takes to prepare and the wide selection of ingredients, but if you like to venture into making this dish at home, you will fall in love and you will agree with me that it is worth all the time and effort invested to make these amazing Mexican stuffed peppers.
1 pound ground pork shoulder
1 pound of ground beef
4 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 small white onion, diced
1 ½ cup of tomato sauce
3 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 generous tablespoons raisins
2 generous tablespoons dried mango
1 cup of candied Biznaga cactus or Citron, cut into 1/4inch dice
1 small pear, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4inch dice
1 small Jonathan or McIntosh apple, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4 inch dice
2 medium fresh peaches (or extra pears or apples), peeled, pitted and cut into 1/4inch dice 1 ripe, medium small tomato, seeded and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, preferable freshly ground Mexican canela
Salt, about 1 generous teaspoon
1/3 cup (about 1 3/4 ounces) slivered blanched almonds
1 ripe, medium size plantain, peeled and cut into 1/4inch dice
1½ cup of walnuts
1 to 1 1/2 cups milk
1 slice firm white bread, crusts removed
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt, about 1/4 generous teaspoon
1 teaspoon dry sherry
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, preferable freshly ground Mexican Canela
1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream or Mexican Crema
8 sprigs flat leaf parsley
Cook and shred the meat.
Place oil in a pan and bring it to a medium heat, add ½ of the onion and garlic and cook to a translucent stage. Follow with the beef and pork, add salt and cook until is done, about 12 minutes, turn off and set to the side.
Roast the chiles. The open flame method: Place chiles directly over the gas flame or on a medium hot charcoal or gas grill. Roast, turning occasionally, until blistered and blackened on all sides but not soft, about 5 minutes. The broiler method: Lay chiles on a baking sheet set about 4 inches below a preheated broiler. Roast, turning occasionally until blistered and blackened on all sides but not soft, about 10 minutes. Peel the charred skin off the chiles and rinse them if necessary. Make a long slit in the side of each chile and carefully remove the seeds and veins.
Before you start cooking, complete all the initial peeling, coring, chopping and so forth of the stuffing ingredients (a little oxidizing of the apples and pears won’t spoil the appearance of the dish.)
Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil in a very large (12 inch) skillet over medium high. When quite hot, add the remaining half of the onion and meat in a thin layer and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain off any excess fat. Add the tomato sauce and let it simmer for few minutes.
Stir in the raisins, candied fruit, pear, apple, peach, the tomato, herbs and cinnamon. mix well, reduce the heat to medium low, cover the skillet and simmer until the apple and pear are tender (but not mushy) and the flavors are blended, if it need moisture add a little water but do not add to much. Season with salt, usually a generous teaspoon. While the meat mixture is simmering, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a medium small skillet over medium heat. Add the almonds and fry, stirring nearly constantly, until they are a deep golden color, about 3 minutes; remove with a slotted spoon and cool. Add the diced plantain to the skillet and stir it frequently until nicely browned and sweet, 3 or 4 minutes. Add to the meat mixture along with the almonds. Remove the filling from the heat and let cool uncovered. (There will be about 6 cups).
Stuff the chiles.
Stuff the chiles with cooled filling, packing it in well and reforming them in their original shape. Place on a baking sheet and cover with foil.
Complete the sauce. Within a couple of hours of serving, prepare the sauce. Put the walnuts into a blender jar along with 1 cup of milk, the bread, sugar, salt, sherry and ground cinnamon. Blend until a drop of the puree no longer feels gritty when rubbed between your fingers (this will be more successful with the maturegreen walnuts); if the mixture should clog in the machine or if only the mixture at the bottom is moving through the blades, add more milk a little at a time, until all the mixture is moving through the blades again. Finally add the cream and blend for just a few seconds; add additional milk if necessary to achieve a medium consistency.
Taste for salt and sugar; the sauce should have a slightly sweet edge with just enough salt to bring up the flavor of the walnuts. Set aside at room temperature. 7. Finish the dish. Half an hour before serving, place the chiles in a 250degree oven to heat through. Break the pomegranate apart, pick out all the seeds and place them in a small dish. When you are ready to serve, add a little milk or cream to the sauce if it is thicker than a medium consistency custard sauce. Place 1 or 2 chiles on each warm dinner plate. Spoon the room temperature sauce over the warm chiles, generously covering them half away from the stem. Sprinkle the sauce generously with the pomegranate seeds, garnish with the parsley, and serve at once.
The chiles may be prepared and the stuffing made a couple of days in advance; store them separately, covered and refrigerated.
Batter Personal note:
You also have the option to prepare the peppers with a light egg batter as shown in pictures, However this will add an additional step to the dish and If you are not a fan of fried food, you can totally skip this step.
The peppers are just as delicious without the batter.
Prepare this batter after peppers have been stuffed.
1/2 tsp lime juice
4 eggs, yolks and whites separated
2 to 3 TBSP all-purpose flour
In a large bowl beat with a mixer at high speed egg whites with lime juice until stiff
The juice of the lime will make the egg whites stiffer.)
Reduce speed to medium and add egg yolks one by one. Add flour and keep beating until all the ingredients are well mixed.
Roll the stuffed peppers in flour and then dip them in the egg white batter to cover and fry directly in a medium heat skillet with oil to a golden color.
Again, these peppers take time to prepare but they are worth every bite!
Enjoy the flavor and the culture.
Chef Martin Lopez