Chiles en Nogada
Anyone ever make this at home?
I first had it at a local Mexican joint that was serving it as a special, and only for a week.
It was the most divine thing I'd ever eaten. It was spicy, savory, sweet, creamy (but not heavy), and oh so delicious. We went back like 3 times just because I knew it was limited. The same place still has great food, but have not made this dish yet.
The manager said it was a very time consuming recipe made only on special occasions.
I've been thinking about trying to make this, but I'm hoping to hear from someone out there who's done this at home.
Yes, yes. One of my favorite dishes! I'll link to a picture I took in Mexico. It's basically a roasted poblano chile stuffed with picadillo - a mixture of pork, dried and fresh fruit, and nuts. The sauce is made from pureeing fresh walnuts, crema, cinnamon, a little sugar, sometimes cream cheese, queso fresco, or milk. I use a recipe from "Mexico: The Beautiful". The one I've linked is very similar (same author, different book). I've never had the patience to do it the authentic way, using fresh walnuts which have to be peeled by hand, however. It's easier if you do one of the components (sauce and/or filling) a day ahead.
Here's a picture from a trip to Playa del Carmen:
Diana Kennedy has a recipe in her Cuisines of Mexico cookbook.
She mentions that these are made at the very beginmning of walnut season with fresh walnuts--that is, when the meats are mature but still pliable, not dried and crisp. It must be the ultimate labor of love to get the skins off the meats! I made the recipe once with regular home-cracked, but not peeled, nuts and it was good. I can only imagine the REAL thing!
Traditionally, Chiles en Nogada (Chiles in Walnut Sauce) are usually prepared and eaten here in Mexico during the month of September, as part of the Fiestas Patrias (Independence Day) celebrations. Not coincidentally, September is also the month when both walnuts and pomegranates are at the height of their season here.
When the dish is presented at table, the dark green chiles, the creamy white walnut sauce, and the deep red pomegranate seeds show the colors of the Mexican flag.
I've made the dish several times, using shredded pork picadillo as the stuffing. But shhh, don't tell anybody--I always use ready-to-use walnuts for the sauce. You can too.
I have had Chiles en Nogada on 2 occasions, the first time at one of the famed restaurants of México, D.F.. La Hostería de Santo Domingo; the second time at a small restaurant in San Miguel de Allende, "Aquí es México". (I don't know if that restaurant is still in operation.)
The first occasion, unfortunately, I found the dish to be cloying and excessively rich, not helped at all by its tepid serving temperature. I could eat only about half before giving up. It was very disappointing.
The second time, the chiles were a more spartan version, lacking the excess of creamy sauce, and only one or two walnut halves atop for a garnish. That one was better, yet I would never order this dish again.
Then again, I am not a big fan of the typical Chiles Rellenos, mostly because I dislike when the egg batter coating gets soggy with the caldillo de tomate. however, I will eat them once in a while.
As a rule, the chiles for *chiles en nogada* are not battered and fried. Sometimes you see them that way, but not usually. The point of the dish is the green chile peeking out from the creamy white walnut sauce, garnished with brilliant red pomegranate seeds: the green, white, and red are the colors of the Mexican flag.
The dish is traditionally served either at room temperature or slightly chilled.