Chiles en Nogada is one of Mexico’s most cherished culinary traditions. Although there are several versión of the story of how this unique creation came to be, just about everyone agrees that it was created in the city of Puebla.
The most widely accepted version of the story claims that the delicacy was developed by nuns at the Santa Mónica convent, in honor of the then Emperor of Mexico Agustín de Iturbide in the early 17th century.
The dish is extremely seasonal and is rarely found on restaurant menus outside of the month of September, except in Puebla. This is because Chiles en Nogada are traditionally enjoyed during and leading up to Mexican independence day on Sept. 16.
Though they can be found on the menus of restaurants, including large national chains like Samborns and VIPS — they are of course best enjoyed at home. To this end we present to you a step-by-step recipe to try your hand at Chiles en Nogada.
We have created a video which can be found below to help you along and perhaps offer some inspiration.
Picadillo (Meat filling)
Sauté 1 kilo of ground pork with:
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 bell pepper, finely chopped
2 Roma tomatoes, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
Add salt and pepper to taste
When the meat is cooked, add, ½ tsp. each of cinnamon, nutmeg
1 tsp. each of cumin, oregano, basil, and black pepper
Add the ground spices to the meat mixture with:
2 heaping Tbsp blanched and slivered almonds or pine nuts
2 heaping Tbsp dried citrus fruit peel and salt to taste
Cut in tiny pieces, then add:
1 pound of tomatoes
2 pears, cored, peeled and chopped
2 peaches, pitted, peeled and chopped
Add: 100 grams of raisins. Mix everything together
Put 20 poblano peppers (and you MUST use this type of chili) straight onto a high flame and let the skin char. Turn the chiles from time to time so they do not get overcooked or burn right through. Wrap them in newspaper and leave them for about 30 minutes. (this will make them sweat and the skin will be easier to remove). Once the skins have been peeled off, make a vertical slit down the side of each chili and carefully remove the seeds and veins. Be careful to leave the top of the chili, (the part around the base of the stem) intact. Rinse the chilies and pat them dry.
Stuff the chilies with the meat mixture until they are well filled out. Set them on paper towels, cover with parchment paper and then put them in the fridge to chill (I prepare, and stuff the chilies, the day before I plan on serving them).
The Nogada (Pecan Sauce)
Also on the day before you plan on eating the chilis:
Soak 4 cups of chopped pecans, overnight in cold milk
On serving day (about 5 hours before eating)
Drain the nuts, then stir in:
3 cups heavy cream plus 1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar, 1 /2 tsp. grated nutmeg and ½ tsp. of ground cinnamon
When the sauce is smooth, refrigerate it until it is cold.
Set the chilies on top of a dollop of the Nogada, then drizzle with more sauce. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and pomegranate seeds.
Accompany this dish with guacamole, rice or tortillas, and artisanal bread.