Chiles en Nogada (Chiles in Walnut Sauce) Recipe

Chiles en Nogada (Chiles in Walnut Sauce) Recipe
Staff Writer
Chiles en nogada
Square 1682

Chiles en nogada

This classic Mexican dish from Executive Chef Guillermo Tellez of Square 1682 in Philadelphia is perfect to serve for a small, Mexican-themed dinner party. With the green chile, the white sauce, and the red pomegranate seeds, it’s all of the colors of the Mexican flag on a plate! — Allison Beck

Ingredients

For the nogada:

  • 20-25 fresh walnuts, shelled and soaked in cold milk for at least 24 hours
  • 1 small piece white bread, crust removed
  • 1 ½ cups thick sour cream (or crème fraîche)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
  • Large pinch of cinnamon

For the pork:

  • 2 pounds of boneless pork
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 large carrot, diced small
  • 2 stalks celery, diced small
  • ½ onion, diced small
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon salt, to taste

For the filling:

  • ½ medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 cups cooked meat
  • 8 peppercorns
  • 5 whole cloves
  • ½-inch stick cinnamon
  • 3 heaping tablespoons raisins
  • ¼ cup apricots chopped into small pcs
  • ¼ cup dried cherries chopped
  • 2 tablespoons blanched and slivered almonds
  • ¼ cup other dried fruit, like dates or prunes, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 ½ pounds of tomatoes, peeled and seeded
  • 1 pear, cored, peeled and chopped
  • 1 apple, pitted, peeled and chopped

For the chilies:

  • 6 poblanos
  • Pomegranate seeds, for garnish

Directions

For the nogada: 

Drain the soaked walnuts and place in a blender. Add the remaining ingredients and blend together until smooth. Adjust the seasoning. Set aside.

For the pork:

Cut the meat into large cubes. Put them into the pan with the onion, garlic, and salt and cover with cold water. Bring the meat to a boil, lower the flame and let it simmer until just fork tender — about 40-45 minutes. Do not overcook. Leave the meat to cool off in the broth.

Strain the meat, reserving the broth, then shred or chop it finely and set it aside. Let the broth get completely cold and skim off the fat. Reserve the fat.

For the filling:

Melt 6 tablespoons of the fat over medium-high heat and add the onion and garlic. Cook them, without browning, until they are soft, about 5-10 minutes.

Add the meat and let it cook until it begins to brown.

Crush the spices roughly in a spice grinder and add them along with the dried fruit, salt, and tomatoes to the meat mixture. Cook the mixture a few moments longer.

Add chopped apple and pear to the mixture, stir, and set it aside off the heat.

For the chilies:

Put the chilies straight into a fairly high stovetop 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 damp cloth or plastic bag and leave them for about 20 minutes. The burned skin will then flake off very easily and the flesh will become a little more cooked as they steam. 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 and the part around the base of the stem, intact. (If the chilies are too hot — picante — let them soak in a mild vinegar and water solution for about 30 minutes.) Rinse the chilies and pat them dry.

Stuff the chilies with the picadillo until they are well filled out. Place 1 chile on each of 6 plates. Warm the nogada sauce in a small saucepan and spoon over the chiles to cover. Garnish with pomegranate seeds.

Chiles en Nogada Shopping Tip

How hot is that chile pepper? Fresh peppers get hotter as they age; they will achieve a more reddish hue and sometimes develop streaks in the skin.

Chiles en Nogada Cooking Tip

There are 60 varieties of chile peppers, many of which are used in Mexican cooking. Handle them with care. When handling the spicier kinds, gloves are recommended. Always wash your hands with soap and warm water before touching your eyes.