Chiles en Nogada

It’s THAT time of year again… during August and in September, Mexicans savor one of the country’s most famous dishes: Chiles en Nogada (Chilies in Walnut Sauce.)

The recipe comes from the state of Puebla, and is tied to the independence of the country since it is said they were prepared for the first time to honor the Emperor Agustin de Iturbide when he was crowned Agustín I.

Some Mexican historians believe the inventors of this dish were the Poor Claire nuns and others think they were the Contemplative Augustines of the Convent of Santa Monica in Puebla.

I’m making this dish tomorrow… and my family can’t wait!

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 small 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 chilies from time to time so they do not get overcooked or burn right through. Wrap the chilies 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 chilies, 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 drizzle them 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.



Filed under Family and Friends, Vida Latina

10 responses to “Chiles en Nogada

  1. If one wanted to eat this wonderful dish in a restaurant, do you have any suggestions?
    I can’t imagine that it would taste anywhere near as good as yours, but maybe there is a restaurant that does a fairly good job.

    • The Hacienda X´canatun makes wonderful Chiles en Nogada during the month of September. Also here in town the sweet little place called “Frida” does a nice job too. I am going to post a photo of the ones I served today. They really are not hard to make… just time consuming. When the Life Long Learning program is in session this winter, we will be making the dish. Check on the LLL page (under the header) for the date of the Cuisine of Puebla workshop

      • Thanks, Joanna! I didn’t know they served it–and their restaurant IS so lovely as well. Some of their dishes are even inspirational–I now add Wasabi to mashed potatoes, thanks to them.

        Let me add, I was impressed with those served at the Sanborn’s at Fiesta Americana Plaza last year.

        One variable might be whether one wants the dish served at room temperature (traditional, I gather) or a bit warm.

      • Actually I serve mine chilled. Many people eat them at room temperature. Heating is difficult because when you pour on the cold nogada and the heating is rendered pointless

  2. Husband and I were just discussing chiles en nogada. We were trying to decide who in town would be serving the best ones. We decided our waistlines wouldn’t survive a taste test where we ate them at various places and rated them. I will definitely try out the recipe, thanks!


  3. One of my favorite dishes! I think I’ll probably never make them myself since it is difficult and there are so many good cooks that make them this time of year. I thought you had to peel the walnuts? That was a step that initially put me off making them myself. I think it is time for dinner at Frida’s.

  4. Thanks, Joanna–I will keep that recipe in the event that I ever want to try it again. But let me add, for the NON-cooks out there, that Superama, and possibly Walmart, now have a delicious FROZEN version of this as well. I’m sure it’s not as good as your’s, but believe me, it is yummy.

    That is one of my favorite Mexican dishes. I first had it in the city of Zacatecas, and I was tempted to order a second one, at the same sitting! The last time I tried the recipe, I’d developed a vegetarian version, froze the filling, and then the hurricane Isadore hit–I lost everything in my freezer and refrigerator, so….

  5. Mmmm-mmm-mmm.

    My mouth is watering. It IS that season again, isn’t it? Thanks for the recipe.

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