The state of Puebla, just southeast of Mexico City, is home to the Chile en Nogada (Chile in Walnut Sauce) - an iconic Mexican dish which is typically served during Mexican Independence Day celebrations in September. It features poblano chiles stuffed with meat, fruit, and nuts, and covered in walnut sauce and pomegranates, all combining to represent the colors of the Mexican flag. So beautiful, it’s almost a shame to eat it.
Today, I'm sharing the recipe for Chile en Nogada by Margarita Carrillo Arronte from her beautiful cookbook Mexico: The Cookbook.
Preparation Time: 45 minutes, Plus 15 minutes soaking
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
4 tablespoons corn oil
½ white onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 (1-lb) boneless pork loin, diced
3 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced
2 cups Beef Stock
⅛ teaspoon saffron threads
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 yellow apple, cored and diced
1 cup blanched almonds, chopped
1 candied citron, chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
6 large poblano or romano chiles, dry-roasted
Sea salt and pepper
Seeds of 2 large pomegranates, to garnish
½ bunch parsley, chopped, to garnish
For Walnut Sauce:
1 cup shelled fresh walnuts
½ cup cream cheese
1 cup heavy (double) cream
1 cup milk sea salt
Soak the raisins in hot water for 15 minutes then drain.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan or skillet. Add the onion and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic. Add the meat, increase the heat to medium, and cook, browned. Add the tomatoes and stock, reduce the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes until meat is tender and the cooking liquid has almost all evaporated.
Stir in the saffron, cloves, cinnamon, apple, peaches, pear, raisins, almonds, and the candied citron. Add the sugar, season with salt to taste, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove the pan from heat and let cool slightly.
Carefully stuff the chiles with the mixture and set aside.
To make the walnut sauce - a maximum of 1 hour before serving - put the walnuts, cream cheese, cream, and milk into a food processor or blender and process until thoroughly combined. Season with salt. If the sauce is thick, add a little more milk or cream.
Divide the chiles among individual plates and spoon a little of the walnut sauce of each. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and chopped parsley. Serve at room temperature.