Sunday, September 03, 2006

Time for Chiles en Nogada

I regularly have people find my blog because they googled Chiles en Nogada and I wrote about this wonderful seasonal Mexican dish last year. Once again Chiles en Nogada is on the menus in San Miguel restaurants. Last night we went back to the Correo Cafe to enjoy it.

I have a recipe for Chiles en Nogada from Barbara Mauldin who use to live here in San Miguel and had a restaurant and did some catering. I can't find her to ask permission to put her recipe in the blog but I hope she doesn't mind.

Chiles en Nogada
Chiles en Nogada
From Barbara Maulden

Here is the simplest recipe that I have used for making Chiles en Nogada. It is an adaptation from one by Rick Bayless, with some of my notes added in parenthesis. In The Best of Quintana, Patricia Quintana offers a recipe serving 16 people that is so formidable it may be directly from those nuns in Puebla who were celebrating Iturbide’s saint’s day. Believe me, you will prefer using the following.

For the Sauce:
3/4 cup walnuts
1 cup milk
1/2 cup thick cream (I use Mexican Aguascaliente or acidificada)
3 ounces queso fresco (try a crumbly ranchero)
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch nutmeg
Pinch salt, or to taste
Pinch of sugar or teaspoon of sherry to taste

For the chiles:
1 pound pork, cut into 1-inch pieces (or left over chuletas, roast loin, etc)
1/2 onion, cut in half
2 cloves garlic, cut in half
1 to 2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 pound tomatoes with their skins seeded and chopped
1 onion minced
1 tablespoon garlic minced
Pinch cinnamon
Pinch ground cloves
2 plantain, or under ripe banana, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
Scant 1/4 cup citron or candied orange peel, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
(Try using fresh fruit such as pear or mango in place of the above fruit)
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup blanched, chopped almonds
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
6 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled and deveined
Flat leaf parsley and pomegranate seeds for garnish

To prepare the sauce, place shelled walnuts in a heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water and let soak 5 minutes. Drain, then peel the thin skin from the nuts (I brush vigorously with a stiff brush, but seldom find that much skin comes off.) Place in a bowl and cover with milk and let soak for 12 hours (less time works if you are in a hurry.)

Drain the walnuts, discarding all but 1/2 cup of the milk for use in pureeing the nuts. Transfer the nuts to a blender and puree with the cream, 1/2 cup milk and the queso fresco, salt and sugar. Refrigerate.

To prepare the filling, put the meat in a saucepan with enough water to cover, and cook over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and salt. Cook for 40 to 60 minutes or until the meat is tender, skimming and discarding any foam from the surface with a large spoon. Drain the meat, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and add the onion and garlic, saute until transparent. Add the tomatoes and minced parsley and cook for 5 minutes stirring constantly. Mix in the remaining cinnamon, cloves, plantain, other fruit, raisins, almonds, pine nuts and salt, along with the pork. Cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking—the meat should begin to fall apart and be slightly moist. If it becomes too dry, add some of the reserved cooking liquid.

Stuff each Chile with the pork mixture and place them on serving plates. Pour the sauce over the chiles avoiding the bases and stems, if possible. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and fresh parsley.

(I like to process the pork in processor until it is slightly broken up, but not at all pureed. I place it in skillet with additional ingredients and let all simmer until well combined and slightly mushy. It seems to adhere better and become a mix that will blend well within the Chile.)


Jon of SMA said...

I love Chilis en Nogada, although we haven't tried your recipe. The photo looks so yummy even though we just had comida that I am hungry again!

Anonymous said...

Whenever I come around, mi suegra cooks these for me. Chili Nogadas are a sweet memory for me; one I'll always remember mi suegra for. She cooks with love and so prepares this dish for me for special occasions. My first trip to Mexico in June and also again after moving to Pahuca (on my first return trip "home" to Apizaco) I was treated to platters of these. She even calls everyone to tell them I am coming...and everyone knows I am going to get chili nogadas. LoL.
Her nut and cream sauce is to DIE for!!!!


Anonymous said...

thank you for the recipe of the chiles i just came back from mexico city and ate the chiles they were a delight now i will try your recipe oh yes San amiguel de allende is a magical place
i wish i was there
saludos y gracias

Claudia Shames said...

Thank you for the Chiles en Nogada Recipe. I live in Kuwait and love cooking. Even though I had a poor impression of the dish, (I tried it at "Cien Anios, Tijuana Mexico"), I decided to give it a chance and prepare it myself.
I followed Frida Kahlo's Recipe and found all the ingredients locally including very delicious and fresh "Nueces de Castilla from Iran", Jordanian Pomegranate and Lebanese Almonds. I had a hard time finding "Acitron" and pork meat was excluded because it is illegal its consumption here in Kuwait.
The result was good (I think) but I do not have an existing referent to compare.
I will no give up and will try your recipe as well and see what happens....
Thank you!
Claudia S.

Billie Mercer said...

Can you buy chicken? I would think that chicken would work too. I have several Mexican recipes that have fruit in the sauce with chicken.

Isn't it a fun challenge to cook in another culture? Adjusting recipes we know to what we can find and learning new ones.

Happy holidays,