Are you ready to celebrate Mexican Independence Day in Puerto Vallarta this on Sept 16th? How about by making one of the most traditional dishes of Mexico for your guests to enjoy: Chilies en Nogada. Hailing from the city of Puebla originally, this dish is said to been served for the first time to Agustin de Iturbide, a famous general, politician and central figure in the Mexican War of Independence.
Now this red, white and green dish which beautifully reflects both the colors and flavors of Mexico is served around the country as part of Independence Day celebrations. Here’s how to make Chilies en Nogada in your Banderas Bay home kitchen:
FOR THE FILLING:
8 oz. pork loin
2 cloves garlic, peeled, plus 2 finely chopped
1 large white onion, halved
Salt, to taste
2 tbsp. lard or canola oil
2 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
3 plum tomatoes, cored, peeled, and finely chopped
2 tbsp. raisins
2 tbsp. finely chopped blanched almonds
Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and finely chopped
Medium ripe plantain or banana, peeled and finely chopped
FOR THE WALNUT SAUCE:
4 oz. walnuts
½ cup milk
6 oz. queso fresco
1 cup crema or sour cream
2 tbsp. sherry
3 tbsp. sugar
Salt, to taste
FOR THE CHILES:
12 poblano chiles
2 cups canola oil, for frying
1 cup flour
5 eggs, separated
2 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. distilled white vinegar
Seeds of 1 pomegranate
1. Make the filling: Bring pork, 2 whole cloves garlic, half the onion, and 2 cups water to a boil in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat; season with salt, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, covered, until pork is tender, about 1 hour. Transfer pork to a cutting board, and pour cooking liquid through a fine strainer into a bowl; reserve ½ cup cooking liquid, and discard any remaining along with solids. Once cool, finely chop pork, and set aside with cooking liquid. Return saucepan to medium-high heat, and add lard; finely chop remaining onion, and add to pan along with minced garlic, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 8 minutes. Add parsley and tomatoes, and cook, stirring, until tomatoes break down, about 5 minutes. Return pork and cooking liquid to pan along with raisins, almonds, apple and plantain, and cook, stirring occasionally, until fruit is cooked through and mixture is thick, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and season with salt; set aside.
2. Make the walnut sauce: Place walnuts in a 2-qt. saucepan, and cover with water; bring to a boil, and cook for 5 minutes. Drain, and use a stiff-bristled brush to peel away most of the skin from walnuts; set aside. Bring milk to just under a boil in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat, and add walnuts; let sit, covered, to soften nuts, about 30 minutes. Transfer walnuts and milk to a blender along with queso fresco, crema, sherry, and sugar, and puree until very smooth and thick, at least 2 minutes. Season with salt, and transfer to a bowl; cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
3. For the chiles: Heat broiler to high. Place poblano chiles on a foil-lined baking sheet and broil, turning, until blackened all over, about 20 minutes. Transfer chiles to a bowl, and let cool. Peel and discard skins, stems, and seeds, and cut a slit down the length of each chile. Remove and discard seeds and ribs, keeping chile intact. Place about 3 tbsp. filling inside each chile, and close chile around filling to form a tight roll. Refrigerate until ready to use.
4. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, place flour on a shallow plate, and set aside. Beat egg whites in a bowl until soft peaks form; whisk in egg yolks, salt, and vinegar. Working in batches, dredge each chile in flour, shaking off excess, and then coat in egg batter. Place in oil, and fry, flipping once, until golden brown and filling is heated through, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer chiles to a wire rack to drain. Transfer to serving plates, and spoon walnut sauce over chiles to cover completely; sprinkle with pomegranate seeds before serving. Serves 12.
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