Chiles en Nogada (Poblano Chiles in Walnut Sauce)

By • April 29, 2014 0 Comments

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Author Notes: Unapologetically inspired by one of my favorite novels, Like Water For Chocolate. A great number of recipes for Chiles en Nogada call for ground or shredded pork, candied citron and plenty of fruits, from raisins and dried currants to fresh peach, pear and apple. In this version, flavorful, lean grassfed beef is sauteed with a bit of Mexican chorizo (or soyrizo, if you’re so inclined) for an extra layer of savory warmth. I’ve also swapped the candied citron for dried pineapple; accessible year-round, it packs the same sugary tartness and is a natural match for the coconut we’ve snuck into both the filling and the sauce. Crisp-tender fruits keep the dish feeling fresh and light enough to earn its appetizer status. Making this dish ahead? Prep and refrigerate the chiles, filling and toppings at your leisure. Then gently heat the filling in a large skillet or Dutch oven before stuffing the chiles and topping with room-temp sauce. Tita would be so proud.Emily Stoffel - the pig & quill


Serves 4 (main) or 8 (first course)

  • 8 fresh small-to-medium poblano peppers, washed & dried
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground beef (organic grassfed, such as Panorama, if possible)
  • 3 ounces Mexican chorizo, casing removed
  • 1/4 cup cup raw almonds, chopped
  • 1 ounce dried, sweetened pineapple, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup shredded, sweetened coconut
  • 1/2 apple, diced
  • 1/2 pear, diced
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 1 1/4 cups coconut milk
  • 4 ounces queso fresco or feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup (or more) pomegranate seeds
  • 1 handful cilantro, finely chopped
  1. Preheat broiler to high. Ensure poblanos are thoroughly washed and dried, then broil until charred on all sides, about 8-10 minutes total. Place roasted peppers in a paper sack or sealed heatproof container for 20 minutes; then carefully peel and seed peppers leaving the fruit as whole as possible for filling. I find that one slice down the middle and across the top (envision a “T” down the pepper) opens it up nicely for seeding and stuffing.
  2. While peppers are resting, heat olive oil over a medium-high flame in a large Dutch oven or skillet. Add onion and garlic and saute until onion is translucent and just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add chorizo and fry a minute longer, then add ground beef, spices, almonds, coconut and pineapple, using a wooden spoon to crumble beef and scraping any browned bits from the pan as juices release. When beef is nearly cooked through — about 8 minutes, stirring ocassionally — add apple and pear. Cook another 3-5 minutes or until beef is completely cooked and fresh fruit is just tender.
  3. Arrange seeded peppers on a large serving platter or individual plates and stuff with filling. These are app portions, so overstuffing, while tempting, isn’t necessary. (You’ll relish that extra filling scrambled into some eggs tomorrow, so if you’ve got it, don’t feel too pressured to use it now.)
  4. Combine walnuts, coconut milk and queso in a food processor or blender and pulse repeatedly until nuts are thoroughly incorporated and sauce is nearly smooth.
  5. Generously top stuffed chiles with walnut sauce. Scatter pomegranate seeds and cilantro over top. Sit back and admire your purty handiwork. Enjoy.

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