Chiles en Nogada

September  9, 2021
4 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland.
  • Prep time 1 hour
  • Cook time 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

Chiles en Nogada is considered the national dish of Mexico and showcases the colors of the Mexican flag: green, white, and red. Created by nuns in Puebla in 1821, this dish was presented to the visiting Army General Augustin de Itrubide after signing the treaty giving Mexico its independence. The nuns used the late-season harvest including poblanos, peaches, pears, apples, and walnuts grown in farms near Puebla. The original dish was stuffed, battered, and fried making a more hearty meal. In this version, unbattered poblanos are charred to lightly cook the peppers and loosen the skin before they are stuffed. This dish is eaten at room temperature and is served throughout Mexico during the month of September to celebrate independence. —Rick Martinez

What You'll Need
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Chiles en Nogada
  • Picadillo & Chiles
  • 2 tablespoons lard
  • 1 pound ground pork, preferably not lean
  • 1/2 medium white onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 1/2 sweet, tart apple such as Winesap or Pink Lady, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1/2 firm, sweet pear such as Bosc or Anjou, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1/2 firm-ripe plantain, peeled and chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • 1 pound roma tomatoes
  • 1/2 peach, peeled, pitted, and chopped
  • 1/4 cup unroasted whole almonds, chopped
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1/3 cup pitted Spanish green olives
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 8 large poblano peppers
  • Nogada Sauce & Garnish
  • 2 1/4 cups walnuts, unroasted
  • 3/4 cup crema ácida or crème fraiche or sour cream
  • 3/4 cup crema natural or heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds, for garnish
  • 1/2 cup parsley leaves and tender stems, for garnish
  1. Make the picadillo. Line a large skillet, preferably cast-iron, with a sheet of foil and heat over high heat. Add the tomatoes and cook, tossing frequently, until charred on all sides, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer tomatoes to a heatproof bowl and let sit. When cool enough to handle, crush with your hands, a potato masher, or fork until no large pieces remain.
  2. Remove and discard foil from skillet and heat lard on high. Spread pork in an even layer and cook undisturbed until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Toss and continue to cook, breaking up any clumps with the back of a spoon, scraping up any browned bits from bottom, until meat is lightly browned on both sides, 4 to 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the browned meat to a large bowl and set aside.
  3. Reduce heat to medium and cook onion, garlic, apple, pear, plantain and 2 tablespoons (Diamond Crystal) salt, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Add oregano, clove, cinnamon, black pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until very fragrant, 1 minute. Stir in sherry and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated and no longer smells of alcohol, 2 minutes. Stir in reserved tomatoes, peaches, almonds, raisins and cook, stirring occasionally until most of the liquid has evaporated, 5 to 7 minutes. Add cooked pork, olives, lemon zest, 1 cup water and cook, stirring occasionally until all the liquid has evaporated, the vegetables and fruit are tender and the pork is cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in parsley and lemon juice, season with salt and pepper and let sit until ready to use.
  4. Meanwhile, roast the chiles.

    To roast the chiles on a gas stove: Turn all of the burners to high and set 2 chiles poblanos on each grate. Char, using tongs to turn them occasionally, until all sides are charred, about 4 minutes per side.

    To roast the chiles in the broiler: Arrange a rack in the top position and preheat the broiler to high. Set the chiles poblanos on a sheet pan and position under the broiler, turning occasionally, until all sides are charred, 2 to 3 minutes per side.

    To roast the chiles on a grill: Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for high heat. Set the chiles poblanos directly on the grate and grill, using tongs to turn them as they char on all sides, about 4 minutes per side.
  5. Transfer the chiles to a large bowl, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap (or the leftover foil you used for the tomatoes), and let the chiles steam for 5 minutes.
  6. When cool enough to handle, peel skin from chiles leaving stem intact. Chiles should be still be firm, bright green and hold their shape. Using small sharp knife, make a 2-inch cut (about 1 inch from the top) lengthwise down the side of poblano and carefully remove seeds and ribs. Repeat with remaining poblanos.
  7. Place the poblanos cut-side up on a rimmed baking sheet and fill each with 1/2 cup picadillo, gently pressing the filling into the peppers with the back of a spoon, being careful not to overstuff and split the sides. Set aside until ready to serve.
  8. Make the sauce: Puree walnuts, crema ácida, crema natural, 1 cup water, sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt in a blender until completely smooth and consistency of heavy cream. Season with salt and thin with more water if necessary.
  9. Serve stuffed chiles at room temperature topped with some nogada sauce, arils, and parsley leaves.

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Rick Martinez

Recipe by: Rick Martinez

Rick Martinez is currently living his dream—cooking, eating and enjoying the Mexican Pacific coast in Mazatlán. He is finishing his first cookbook, Under the Papaya Tree, food from the seven regions of Mexico and loved traveling the country so much, he decided to buy a house on the beach. He is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit, New York Times and hosts live, weekly cooking classes for Food Network Kitchens. Earlier this year, he was nominated for a James Beard Award for “How to win the Cookie Swap” in Bon Appétit’s holiday issue.

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