Chiles in Walnut Sauce / Chiles en Nogada

This patriotic Mexican dish is one of my favorites. It is quite impressive with complex flavors, textures, and colors (the red white and green represent the flag of Mexico.) Fresh green poblano peppers add a little heat, the savory filling a bit of sweetness, the white walnut sauce topped with sparkling red pomegranate a delightful citrus crunch. Try it when pomegranates are in season.

Chiles in Walnut Sauce / Chiles en Nogada
Created in 1821 to commemorate Mexican patriotism, this dish incorporates the colors of the Mexican flag. Stuffed poblano peppers topped with red pomegranate seeds, green cilantro leaves, and white walnut sauce.

Prepare Filling
· 8 large poblano chiles, charred, peeled, deveined
· 1/2 lb ground beef
· 1/2 lb. ground pork
· 2 T. pork lard
· 1 C. onion, finely chopped
· 2 cloves garlic, diced
· 1 T. dried ancho chile powder
· 1 t. thyme
· ½ cinnamon stick
· Salt to taste
· 1 lb. peaches or apples peeled and cubed
· 1/3 C. raisins
· 1/3 C. raw almonds, chopped
· 1/4 C. cider vinegar
· 2 t. pilloncillo or brown sugar

In a heavy skillet, melt lard over med. high heat. Add the meat and brown lightly, breaking it up into small pieces. Drain off any fat. Reduce heat to medium, add the onions, garlic, chile powder, thyme, cinnamon, and salt, cook for 10 minutes. Stir in peaches, raisins, almonds, vinegar, and sugar and continue to simmer uncovered for another 15 minutes. Remove cinnamon, cool slightly, and then stuff the prepared chiles with about 1/2 C. of the filling.

To prepare ploblanos: Make a slit in the side of each chile. Remove seeds and membranes by cutting carefully around the crown, leaving the stem intact. Fill chiles. Chiles may be served as is or fried in a relleno batter. Cover chiles with nogado sauce. (Recipe follows)

Nogado Sauce

• 1 C. unsweetened heavy whipping cream or Mexican crema
• ½ cup sour cream, if using whipping cream
• 1 C. shelled walnuts ground in a spice mill or cuisinart
• 2 Tbl. fresh parsley, minced
• 2 Tbl. brandy
• ½ t. ground cinnamon
• Pinch of salt
• Fresh sprigs of cilantro for garnish
• 1/2 C. pomegranate seeds or sliced cherries for garnish

Whip the cream with a whisk until soft peaks form. Fold in the sour cream (if using) ground nuts, parsley, brandy, cinnamon, and salt. After the chile is stuffed and baked spoon sauce over and around each one. Garnish with a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds and cilantro.

Makes 2 cups

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