Chiles en Nogada - alternate filling
- paulj Oct 11, 2007 07:46 PM
It appears that the traditional filling for chiles in nogada (stuffed poblanos with a creamy walnut sauce) is a pork picadillo. Has anyone heard of a non-meat alternative? Obviously poblanos get stuffed with cheese for chile rellenos, but chiles in this case are not batter fried.
I'm think of this dish as part of a vegetarian (not vegan) Thanksgiving meal.
I also found one that included plantains and chestnuts along with the meat and fruit. I can imagine dropping the meat from that and still having something tasty and interesting.
Also, any thoughts on how 'cooked' the poblanos should be, since they are served at room temperature. One recipe simmered them a bit an vinegary liquid for about 5 minutes. How I 'roast' and peel them also makes a big difference in texture. If I use a broiler they get quite soft. If I impale a poblano on a fork and blister the skin over a gas flame, it remains quite crisp.
You can pretty much use any kind of filling for chiles rellenos. However, i think your dish would taste most like chiles en nogada if you stuck with a pork picadillo recipe but experimented with substituting something like TVP or tofu for the pork. If you go too far afield from the picadillo filling, you may end up with delicious rellenos, but it won't be "chiles en nogada."
That said, the creamy walnut sauce would probably be delicious with a squash or pumpkin filling.
I took my first stab at this dish.
For the filling I used left over roasted pork tenderloin, reconstituted dried fruits, chopped walnuts, and some steamed squash. To go vegetarian I could omit the pork, and make sure the squash was still a bit firm (e.g. diced butternut).
The sauce was blended evaporated milk, Greek style yogurt, walnuts, romano cheese, half a flour tortilla, bit of sugar, cinnamon, dash of salt, a bit of sherry. There was a thread about such a sauce being too thin. With the nuts and tortilla in mine, consistency was just right.
I no problems stuffing the poblanos since I had blistered the skin with a gas flame, so they were still quite firm. Since this batch was on the hot end for poblanos I tried to temper that a bit by simmering them in salted water with some lime juice.
I also used a peeled red bell pepper for a guest who does not like hot peppers.
I've had a delicious version of chiles en nogada using quinoa, and basically the same other ingredients. The quinoa has a nice toothsomeness that makes it a good substitute for ground meat.
I had an AMAZING chile en nogada in Santa Fe at a local restaurant that was vegetarian. It was stuffed with a mix of raisins, apples, onions, and perhaps a few other morsels. The nogada sauce was made with walnuts and goat cheese, rather than the traditional queso fresco, and it was of course topped with pomegranate seeds. Delicious. The restaurant was called Cafe Pasqual and I think they have a cookbook with the recipe.