Friday, September 26, 2008

Red, white and green

I missed it! I love to make Chilies En Nogada. This is the Independence Day treat for Mexico. But I missed September 16th. I think If I hurry I can make it before the end of Sept. The dish has Red, white and Green the colors of the Mexican flag in it.

This Dish is a lot of fuss! Now that I've said that you must be told how really tasty it is. Here is my very old recipe from a sunset magazine with a few twists I got from a Rick Bayless PBS show I once saw a few years back.

Take this step by step.......

OK here is all the ingredients... I will separate them into working groups shortly.

8 very large fresh poblano chilies (try for some with stems which looks cool on the plate) (you can use canned large chilies, plan for 2 per person)

1 med sized onion, diced

1 or 2 cloves garlic minced or mashed

1 to 2 tablespoons cooking oil (if this was Mexico this would be lard)

1 cup of diced cooked pork (directions below)

1 large tomato, peeled, seeded and diced

1 large apple,cored, peeled and chopped

1 small pear, peeled, cored and cut up small

1 banana separated and diced Or use a plantain

2 med. fresh peaches, peeled, pitted and diced

2 tablespoons of dried mango, or candied cactus (you may not find this ingredient)

2 tablespoons raisins (I plumb them in hot water, drain and dry on paper towels)

1/3 Cup slivered almonds

1/4 teas salt

Tiny dash of ground cloves

1/2 teas dried thyme

1 teas dried marjoram


2 cups of walnuts

1 slice firm white bread, crusts removed

1/2 teas cinnamon

1 tablespoon sugar

1 to 1 1/2 cups milk

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream or Mexican crema


1 pomegranate

sprigs of flat leaf parsley.

Are you in shock? yes a big list. You will not see this dish at a Mexican restaurant except for the Sept. Celebration and they will have differences and so you too can adjust ingredients to make your Chiles En nogada with what you have.

You will be stuffing the chilies with the pork and fruit mixture and topping it with the walnut sauce and tossing on pomegranate seeds and parsley. See red, white and green!

Prepare the pork:

You can pre-cook the pork a couple of days a head.

1 pound boneless pork shoulder cut into cubes

Place pork in medium saucepan, cover with water. Add half the onion, and a shake of salt. Bring to a gentle boil, skim off grayish foam that appears. Partially cover and simmer over med-low heat for about 1 1/2 hours or until tender and thoroughly cooked. You can cool it in the broth. Save broth and pork separately. If you make this ahead chill until used.

Prepare the fruit filling: This will brown so prepare just before heating.

Peel, core, and cube the following:

tomatoes, apples, pears, banana and peaches

The night before or the morning of the meal prepare and stuff the chilies:

Using a large skillet saute' the other half of onion in oil until transparent. Add pork, tomatoes, apples, pears,peach,garlic,cloves, marjoram, and thyme, and cloves. Stir as you heat this mixture and then add 1/4 cup of the pork broth you had left over from cooking. Your goal is tender fruit not mushy, work carefully not to mash any of this. When it is ready (no liquid in pan) add the 1/4 teas salt, banana, Raisins and sauteed almonds below,stir in. cool before stuffing chilies. If using plantain saute' with almonds, directions below.

In 1 tablespoon oil fry almonds until golden remove nuts and if sauteing plantain add another 1 tables of oil and cut up plantain and stir until browned and sweet about 3-4 minutes. Add to fruit mixture above.

Prepare chilies

If canned are used just rinse out seeds and any pith. You do not cook these.

If fresh chilies are used roast over an open flame, turning occasionally until blistered and blackened on all sides but not soft. Takes about 10 minutes. I slip them into a plastic bag to sit and steam a bit. It helps in removing the skin. Rub off the charred skins and rinse if needed. Make a long slit in the side (leave the top nice and pretty) of each chili and carefully remove the seeds and pith. (the long vein type bits)

If you only have an electric range you can lay a wire cookie rack over the element and heat chilies on that. Or put chili's on a pan and heat right under the broiler of your oven. Use tongs to turn chilies. All chilies should not be touched by hand if you can help it. You might touch your face and not know why it stings. Gloves, tongs and towels are good for handing chilies.

If you like your chilies softer you can put them in boiling water and let sit for about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove, dry and cool then stuff. Other wise they are just fine heated after stuffing

Stuff the chilies carefully, fill those chilies up until nicely full. Make those chilies look like their original shape. Place on baking sheet cover with foil. You may chill these until serving time but cover well. Avoid putting foil under the chilies it sticks horribly.

Making the walnut sauce: (the sauce is from the PBS show I watched, I like it better) Are you weary. I peel my walnuts, you don't have to but do blend them well. Make this up to 2 hours before serving or it changes color.

Put 2 cups walnuts in the blender and 1 cup of milk, crumble in the white bread, sugar, salt and ground cinnamon. Blend until a drop no longer feels gritty when rubbed between your fingers. If you are having trouble with the blender add more milk a little at a time, Finally add the cream and blend for just a few seconds. You need a medium consistency we are going to pour this like gravy over the chilies, add milk as needed. Add salt and additional sugar as needed. It should taste slightly sweet with a touch of salt. Walnuts are very acidity. Set aside at room temperature.

Serving: About 30 minutes before dinner place stuffed chilies in a 300 F. degree oven. Heat until hot all the way though but you aren't really cooking this.

Add a little milk or cream to the sauce.

Place two chilies on each plate, Spoon room-temperature sauce over the hot chilies, cover them well in sauce letting the top 1/4 with the stem show. Toss pomegranate seeds over the top and toss a bit of parsley on the very top. Serve at once.

This is so very good! If you want I'll make it for you and you can come enjoy it with me! I love this dish.

Notes: Poblano are not hot chilies but if you get the wrong kind they may end up hot. Removing the seeds and pith helps or soaking in salted water over night if you know you got hot chilies.

I peel pomegranates under water. Cut in half, put it in a bowl of water and begin pulling it apart. This saves the splashing of red all over you and the kitchen. Just drain on paper towels and chill. I like them nice and cold. Can be done a couple of days a head.

WOW that was a big job typing that recipe. I know you may never make this Or you may find it a challenge. Broken into several days really helps. I do love this dish!

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