Chiles en Nogada

August 20, 2010

The smell of meat cooking has my cat Hobbsie screaming outside the kitchen door. But I won’t let him in right now… I am making Chiles en Nogada, a signature dish from the state of Puebla. There’s no special occasion,  it is just “that time of year”

Chiles en Nogada (Chiles in Walnut Sauce)

The Picadillo (Meat filling)

Saute 1 kilo of ground pork with:

     1 medium onion, finely chopped          
     5 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped     

     Add salt and pepper to taste

 When the meat is cooked, use a  molcajete (mortar and pestle) or coffee grinder to pulverize:
                    8 peppercorns
                    5 whole cloves
                    1/2 inch stick cinnamon

 Add the ground spices to the meat mixture with:           

                    2 heaping Tbsp blanched and slivered almonds
                    2 heaping Tbsp dried citrus fruit peel    and    salt to taste

 Cut in tiny pieces:
                     1   1/2 pounds of tomatoes,
                     2 pears, cored, peeled and chopped
                     2 peaches, pitted, peeled and chopped

                     Add whole: 100 grams of raisins

 Mix everything together

 The Chilies:

Put  8 chiles poblanos (and you MUST use this type of chili) straight into a fairly high flame or under a broiler and let the skin blister and burn. Turn the chiles from time to time so they do not get overcooked or burn right through. Wrap the chiles in a plastic bag and leave them for about 20 minutes. (they will sweat and the skin will be easier to remove)Make a slit in the side of each chili and carefully remove the seeds and veins. Be careful to leave the top of the chili, the part around the base of the stem, intact. Rinse the chilies and pat them dry.

Stuff the chilies with the picadillo until they are well filled out. Set them aside on paper towels then put them in the fridge to chill (If you wish, they can be refrigerated until the next day)

 The Nogada (walnut sauce)

 The day before you plan on eating the chilis, soak 2 cups of walnuts overnight in cold milk

 On serving day:

Drain and pulverize the nuts, then blend them with:
1 small piece white bread without crust
1/4 lb queso fresco
1 1/2 cups cream
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
Large pinch of cinnamon

 When the sauce is smooth, refrigerate it until it is cold.

 To Serve

Set the chilies on a plate and cover with the walnut sauce. Then, sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley leaves and pomegranate  seeds.

 You can accompany this dish with guacamole, rice and tortillas.

Note: Although the original recipe calls for walnuts, I often substitute pecans. The difference in flavor is there but   barely.

 Let me know how you make out!



Filed under Vida Latina

6 responses to “Chiles en Nogada

  1. mcm

    Hello Joanna — this is a nice clear recipe — this time of year recipes for Chiles en nogada seem to pop up all over the web, but yours is quite easy to follow…I may actually give it a try this year!

    One thing — in the section on chiles, I think that the last sentence (take off the skin and remove the veins), should be in the next paragraph — AFTER putting the chiles in the plastic bag.

    • Aha! Thanks… I’ll change that. And do try the recipe. It’s labor intensive but not difficult. I like to make Chiles en Nogada with friends; we whip up a whole bunch of them and each of us gets to take some home.

  2. Loretta

    Yummy. My favorite and one of the first Mexican recipes I learned to make — might as well start at the top, right? I learned to cheat by putting the batter over the whole tray of chilies rather than covering each one and frying it. That I bake it, again, instead of frying.

    Love those chiles


  3. Fantastic! This is one of my all-time favorite dishes, from any country. It’s also one of the few that I’ve prepared enough times to feel that I have “mastered” it. And, like you, I don’t need a holiday for an excuse to have chiles en nogada.

    I’m glad you include soaking the walnuts in milk overnight. It’s one of those small extra steps (I believe favored by Alice Waters) that give it just that much extra goodness.

    I added a quote, photo and link to your post on the “Food in the Yucatán” page at ( Let me know if that’s ok with you. I’m hoping you’ll think it puts you in good company! 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s