Cooking Like A Mexican

BY: ALEJANDRA SARACHAGA

 

Chiles en Nogada

This dish is especially significant because of its ties to Mexican history, specifically Mexico’s independence from Spain, celebrated in September. Created in Puebla, this dish displays the three colors of the Mexican flag, using chile for the green, a walnut cream sauce for the white, and pomegranate for the red. It is believed the nuns of Santa Monica prepared this creation for the new emperor Agustine de Inturbide. The result was a blend of ingredients for an explosion of flavor on the palate.

A dish that’s very popular during the traditional Mexican independence celebrations because it’s green, white and red like the bandera of the RepublicThe chile seeds and veins must be removed. After that they are stuffed with finely chopped pork meat cooked with various fruits, vegetables and spices such as peach, apple, banana, raisins, tomato, onion, garlic, cinnamon, oregano, almonds, thyme, and cloves. The nogada, or walnut cream, has about 120 pieces per12 chilies, and once prepared it is served with pomegranate seeds on top.

Chiles en Nogada is traditionally served this time of year, when the pomegranates are ripe and festivities begin to celebrate Mexican independence. Try cooking it yourself to surprise your friends and family.

INGREDIENTS:

For 12 poblano chiles regular size:

Filling:

1lb. ground beef

1 lb. ground pork loin

2 cloves garlic finely chopped

¼ cup finely chopped onion

4 tablespoons lard (you can substitute oil)

1 quince

2 yellow apples, 2 pears, 2 apples and 2 peaches (all diced and peeled)

1 tablespoon raisins

1 tablespoon chopped pecan

1 tablespoon pink pine nuts

1 diced citron (candy made from the heart of the sweet barrel cacti. Acitrón in Spanish)

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon grated nutmeg

Salt and pepper

To cook:

4 tablespoons wheat flour

8 eggs

3 cups oil or shortening

Salt to taste

Traditional walnut sauce:

½ cup of peeled almonds

1 cup of peeled walnuts

1 lb. of goat cheese (you can substitute for double cream cheese)

Milk and sugar

To serve:

1 cup parley

1 cup pomegranate seeds (more if you like)

PROCEDURE:

Peel the chiles and remove the seeds. (If you bought them frozen, they come already peeled; just remove the seeds from the inside by opening the chile very carefully by the side).

Heat the lard in a skillet, fry the garlic and onion until they look translucent, pour all the meat, and start adding the diced fruit. Go in hardness order, the citron first, the pear, the apples and the peach, raisins, nuts and pine nuts. Mix everything well and remove from fire. Season with pepper and nutmeg.

Fill the chiles with this mixture by the cut you did to remove the seeds and close it with a toothpick. Spread the flour on the chilies so the egg will stick (I use a strainer for this).

Beat the whites until stiff add the yolks and then dip the chiles. Put them in a pan with oil very hot. You have to turn them often to brown evenly. Once they are a golden color, put them on a paper towel to absorb the excess oil.

To prepare the walnut sauce, liquefy all the ingredients. Taste it often, it doesn’t have to be too sweet, too thick or too light. It has to have a creamy consistence.

To serve, pour some walnut cream on a plate, then put the stuffed chile, then cover with more walnut cream, spread the pomegranate seeds on top, and sprinkle some parsley leaves.

Serve hot, and expect compliments for your cooking. Viva Mexico!