Friday, October 21, 2011

Rosie Makes Chiles En Nogada.

I have a bucket list of recipes I want to try. And ever since I saw this recipe for Chiles En Nogada, it's been on my list. It's from a very pretty food blog, Our Life In Food, which I really should have paid closer attention to, and they got the recipe from Homesick Texan.
Chiles en nogada is a traditional dish from Puebla, Mexico, and just about everybody there has a family recipe for it, all running along the lines of a sweet and savory filling with roasted poblanos and a creamy walnut sauce, topped with cilantro and glistening pomegranate arils. I read a half dozen or so recipes for Chiles en Nogada so I pulled a little something from each one and created my own filling. Some of the ingredients are seasonal - several recipes called for apple and pear. If I'd had a pear, I would have put that in. Several called for nuts in the filling - pecans and almonds. Since I'm having the walnut sauce, I didn't think the filling needed more nuts. Traditionally, dried fruits are added. Most recipes called for raisins. For some reason, I can't find my raisins. (I can't be out! Can I?) But I did find 5 packages of dried cranberries. Yes. Five. So I substituted craisins for raisins which I thought was a nice ruby touch to go with the pomegranate seeds. A lot of recipes called for spicier seasonings than the single piece of cinnamon stick that I used. Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cumin, oregano, parsley, and thyme are all mentioned. I'll start with the cinnamon and work my way up. One step at a time. Other recipes use tomatoes. I didn't. Still other recipes say to blend the walnut sauce. I opted against this, since I wanted a creamy sauce, not grainy with walnut pieces. I like biting into the nuts and getting the full flavor of the walnuts. Some cooks batter and fry their chiles. Others don't. I don't have to tell you which side of the fence I'm on for that one, do I? The dish is said to have been created by Pueblan nuns back in the 1820's. Because of the seasonality of the dish and the Mexican flag color scheme of green, red, and white, this dish is traditionally served on September 16, Mexican Independence Day.
Rosie's ingredients for her chile stuffing:
1/4 pound ground pork
1/4 pound ground hamburger
 1/2 onion, chopped
1 apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 stick cinnamon
1 garlic clove
I minced the garlic and chopped the onion and apple.
Melt a teaspoon or so lard in a hot pan and add the meats.
Add in the onion, garlic, apple, and cinnamon stick.
Add in the craisins.

Brown the meat and set aside to cool. Remove the cinnamon stick.
Next, I charred my poblanos.
Immediately drop the charred poblanos into an ice water bath. Rub off skin with fingers.
Slit poblanos down the side ...
... and clean out seeds.
Stuff the peppers with the meat mixture.
Secure peppers with toothpicks. Blot dry. I prepared the chiles up to this point, then refrigerated them while I took a break. (Cleaned up kitchen, cut grass, vacuumed, did the laundry down at the creek, steamed cleaned the wooden floors, etc.) Next, I'm making the Walnut Cream Sauce.
I soaked 1/4 cup walnuts in milk to cover.
Ingredients for Walnut Sauce:
 2 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup walnuts, soaking in milk to cover
 pinch cinnamon
Mix all ingredients and heat through.
After tasting, I gave it an extra pinch of cinnamon.
Not all recipes I found for chiles en nogado called for frying,
 but I loves me some chili rellenos, so I'm going to batter fry.
Separate three eggs and whip whites until stiff peaks form.
Whip the yolks and fold into the whites.
Coat chiles in egg batter and ...
... heat oil to 350-375 degrees ...
... and fry 2 at a time.

Fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
For the garnish, I have pomegranate arils and cilantro.
I poured the walnut sauce on my plate,
topped it with the fried chile,
and sprinkled the pomegranate seeds and chopped cilantro over top.
Oh my. This is pretty!
 I liked everything about this.
I liked the savory filling.
 I liked the sweetness of the apples and craisins.
 I liked the tart bursts of pomegranate arils.
 I liked the nutty and creamy sauce.
 I liked the cilantro.
 And what's not to love about fried?


Carrie said...

So glad that you tried this out and enjoyed it! Your variations sound wonderful. I always love how a dish is so unique depending on the person who makes it.

And thanks for the nice words about my blog! :)

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Hi Carrie,
Thanks for stopping by. I've been checking out your blog and have seen several things I want to try. Lovely photography.