Chiles en Nogada are enjoyed on Mexican Independence Day which is September 16. Sweet, savory and smothered in a rich walnut cream sauce, no wonder they are legendary!
Chiles En Nogada Are Quite A Treat!
But let me be clear about my recipe for Chiles en Nogada – it is not authentic. Of course, the recipe is delicious, and worth your time to make, but the authentic recipes for Chiles en Nogada have approximately 50 ingredients, require 32 chiles and strongly suggest that you peel the skin from every walnut, almond and pine nut you add. My version is much simplified. Very delicious, still time consuming, but plausible.
Some Mexican recipes, such as Mole Poblano, Tamales, or Ponche Navideña call for a huge variety of ingredients. The celebration begins with the grocery shopping and everything delicious is added. But shortcuts can be helpful, especially if you don’t have command of a commercial kitchen staff or someone to watch the kids for a couple of days while you lock yourself in the kitchen.
Recipe Can Change!
I have a sneaking suspicion that even the most authentic recipes have changed over the years. Originally, Chiles en Nogada called for candied barrel cactus. Historically labeled “acitrón”, colonists converted local available foodstuffs into the delicacies they remembered from Europe. Crystalized citrus and ginger were scarce in the New World, but you could boil a slice of barrel cactus in sugar syrup, and it was the next best thing! Barrel cacti are now endangered in some parts, and it is illegal to cut them. So imported ingredients such as crystalized citrus, or even candied pineapple are now added.
In this recipe, I have even further simplified your grocery list so that you don’t need any crystalized fruit – golden raisins work very well. And, if you can’t find pine nuts, substitute for the nuts that you can find – pecans, cashews, or double up on your almonds. It’s all delicious!
Enjoy this simplified version of Chiles en Nogada. If you are curious about the most authentic recipe, look for Patricia Quintana’s recipe. It is amazing, challenging and the best you will ever taste. Set aside a full day for shopping and 2 full days for making them. Good luck!
Chiles en Nogada
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
4–8 chile Poblano, roasted and peeled*
2 tbsp. olive oil (30ml)
2 tbsp. chopped onion (20g)
¼ cup chopped parsley (8g)
8 oz. ground pork, (250g)
8 oz. ground beef (250g)
¼ cup slivered almonds (12g)
¼ cup pine nuts (12g)
1 small apple or pear, peeled and chopped
¼ cup golden raisins (37g)
1 clove garlic
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon (.5g)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup walnuts (4oz/115g)
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp. chopped onion (20g)
1 cup half & half (240ml)
4 oz. cream cheese (125g)
¼ tsp. cinnamon (.5 gr)
2 tbsp. sherry (30ml)
Pinch of salt
1 cup heavy cream (240ml)
Pomegranate seeds for garnish
Prepare the chiles by roasting and peeling. You can find more detailed instructions here.
Heat the olive oil in a 10” (25cm) skillet. Add the onion, parsley along witht the ground beef and pork. Break up the ground meat with the back of your spoon. Brown the meat for 10 minutes over medium heat. Add the almonds, pine nuts, apple or pear, golden raisins, garlic, ground cinnamon and season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and set aside.
For the sauce:
Place the walnuts, garlic, onion, half & half, cream cheese, cinnamon, sherry and salt in the container of a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour the sauce into a medium sized bowl and stir in the heavy cream. The sauce is ready to serve, or you can hold in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve the chiles.
Finishing the Chiles en Nogada:
Stuff each chile with some of the meat mixture, but do not overstuff. I prefer to serve the stuffed chiles with the opening underneath so that the sauce pours smoothly over the top.
Right before serving, pour over the walnut sauce and garnish with pomegranate seeds.
*Chile poblano can vary greatly in size, from 3″ long (7.5cm) to 6″ long (15cm) or even longer. So find the freshest, best chiles that you can, and estimate if they can hold either 2oz of filling (56g) or 4oz (115g) Your ground meat filling recipe yields a little over 16 oz (500g).
Also, don’t substitute other chiles for the chile poblano, an absolutely necessary ingredient.
- Serving Size: 1 chile