Chiles En Nogada: My New Culinary Best Friend.

20 Mar

I’ve been a little lazy about writing the past few days but I like to think it’s ok since the time I would usually spend writing, I am spending exploring, enjoying and relaxing.  (‘Relax’ is not generally a word in my vocabulary, though not for my want of trying.)  Anyway, point is, I’m not avoiding you.  So calm down.

When I first arrived in San Miguel last year about this time, I didn’t know what I was in for.  This city reveals itself to you slowly and it made no exception for me.  But all it takes, really, is a good drink and a great meal and I’ll get on board with anything.  Seriously.  Write that down.  Needless to say, both were delivered on my first night in the form of a margarita and Chiles en Nogada.  And I was more than happy to repeat that moment in my life the other night, in the same restaurant, at the same table, with the same amount of excitement.

This dish celebrates the colors of the Mexican flag, the bold flavors of the country and is all around awesome.  Roasted poblano chiles are stuffed with ground pork and/or beef, cinnamon, garlic, onion, raisins and so forth.  They are then covered in an amazing creamy walnut sauce and finished with beautiful and crunchy pomegranate seeds.  WHAT?!  Yeah.  Badass.  I’ll be sure to try it on my own when I get back home to the States but I will always get excited about a visit to El Pegaso on my visits here for what I now deem one of my favorite all-time meals.

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Chiles en Nogada (Recipe taken and modified from Our Life In Food)

For the chiles

4 poblano chiles

1/2 lb. ground pork an/or beef

1/4 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon thyme

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1 Roma tomato, cored and chopped

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and chopped

1/4 cup golden raisins

Salt and pepper, to taste

For the walnut sauce

1/2 cup raw walnuts, chopped

1/2 cup sour cream

4 oz cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup milk

For serving

Pomegranate seeds

Chopped walnuts

Fresh chopped cilantro (if you like that sort of thing…which I don’t…at all…but I promise not to stand in your way)

1. Roast the chiles under the broiler until blackened. Be careful. Be a good judge of this. And yeah, s**t is already getting real. Place the chiles in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let these bad boys steam for about 20 minutes.

2. While that magic happens, add your ground meat to a saute pan and cook until it is cooked through and just starting to brown.  Add the onions and cook until they have softened.  Stir in garlic, cinnamon, oregano, thyme and allspice. (You’re doing great.) Add the tomato, apple and raisins.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. To make the sauce (I hope you’re reading this ahead of time), place walnuts in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.  Remove from the heat, allow them to cool and then rub them to try to remove as much of their skin as possible.  Place the walnuts in a food processor with all the other mentioned sauce ingredients above and mix it all up until smooth.

4. Peel the skin from the chiles. Cut a lengthwise slit in each and remove the seeds.  Stuff each chile with the meat mixture.  Top the stuffed chiles with sauce, garnish with whatever you like from the list and serve!

Stay tuned for lots more from my visit to Mexico…but in the meantime, I’m off to SHOP.  Psssst, if you want to keep up with all my goings on, follow me over on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (@thrillofthechaise)!

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