Christmas Recipe: Chiles en Nogada


Legend has it that this dish was originally created in 1821 as part of the celebration in Puebla, Mexico, after Mexican troops defeated the Spanish. The colors of the dish -- red, green, and white -- were intended to represent the Mexican flag, and they happen to be perfect Christmas colors, as well. The chile is filled with ground meat, fruits, nuts, and spices and then topped with a walnut sauce and fresh pomegranate seeds. This rendition comes to us from the chefs at La Casita Mexicana and the soon-to-open Mexicano.

Chiles en Nogada
Serves 8 generously
4Tbs vegetable oil (or as needed)
6 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 cup of diced onion
2lbs boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt to taste
½ cup of water
1lb of ripe tomato, blended and strained
½ cup of peeled and chopped almonds
¾ cup raisins
2Tbs fresh chopped parsley
2 cloves, ground
½ tsp. cinnamon, preferably freshly ground Mexican canela
30 black peppercorns (ground)
1 cup diced preserved citron or candied fruit, chopped
¼ lb pine nuts
3 medium-size plaintains, peeled and diced into ¼ -inch pieces
2 small apples, peeled, cored, and diced into ¼-inch pieces
2 small pears, peeled, cored, and diced into ¼-inch pieces
2 small peaches, cored and diced into ¼-inch pieces
1Tbs. sugar
2Tbs. white vinegar
8 roasted, peeled, and de-veined poblanos chiles
1 cup pomegranate seeds

Nogada (sauce)
5 cups cold water
1lb. goat cheese or Mexican fresh cheese
4 cups walnuts (clean)
2Tbs. sugar

For the garnish:
2 cups pomegranate seeds
Chopped fresh parsley

Place two tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat until hot, and cook the garlic and onion until they become translucent

Add the meat, salt, and a little bit of water and cook for five minutes, or until the meat is semi-cooked

Add the tomato and bring it to a boil; add the almonds, raisins, parsley, and cook for 7 minutes

Add the cloves, cinnamon, pepper, the preserved citron, the bananas, pears, apples, and pine nuts. Cook for five minutes and mix.

Add the sugar to the mix. Add the vinegar and let it cool.

Nogada Sauce
In a blender, mix all ingredients until soft and creamy.

Stuffing the Chiles:
Stuff the chiles with cooled filling, packing it in well and re-forming them in their original shape.

When ready to serve, add a little milk to the sauce if it's too thick.

Place one chile on a dinner plate and spoon the room-temperature sauce over the chile, generously covering them half way from the stem. Sprinkle the sauce generously with the pomegranate seeds, garnish with the parsley and serve.

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About the Author

Katherine's role as the Living editor at KCET.org keeps her running from farms to markets to restaurants to pop-up swaps all over SoCal. She's been living in and writing about this area for over a decade.
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