Chiles en Nogada
This dish is quite possibly the strangest, most complicated, and most delicious thing I have ever made or eaten. It was invented to celebrate Mexican independence, and as such has the colors of the Mexican flag, red, white, and green. It consists of a chile poblano grilled and hollowed, then stuffed with a mix of ground beef, nuts, chopped apples, and pears, dipped in egg and fried, coated with a creamy pecan sauce that sometimes contains brandy (nogada), and topped with pomegranate seeds and fresh parsley.
We made this last week. I will certainly make it again.
Chiles en Nogada
2 cups roughly chopped almonds and pecans
2 - 3 cups pomegranate seeds
9 fresh chiles poblano
1.5 c chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 c ground beef and or pork
1 c chopped fresh parsley
2 - 3 tomatoes
2.5 c crema (to be found in Mexican groceries) or sour cream
1 c chicken stock
2 t bouillon powder, chicken or beef
one third cup of raisins
2 T milk
2 handfuls chopped pecans
2-3 T brandy (optional)
6 eggs, separated
1. Grill or broil chiles just until tender and flesh starts to blister. Set aside to cool.
2. In medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium high. When warm, add 1 c onions and 2chopped garlic cloves and cook, stirring occasionally. When onions begin to sweat, add ground meat and cover, lowering heat to medium or even medium low. Cook, stirring occasionally.
3. While meat cooks, work with the chiles. First remove black or charred parts of the skin. Then make a slit and get out the core, as well as as many seeds as possible. Extra seeds make it spicy, which is generally not desirable for this dish. Keep the slit as small as possible, about 2-3 inches long (needless to say I butchered mine but oh well).
4. Put 2 - 3 tomatoes, 2 T crema, 1 c chicken stock and half an onion (chopped up) in the blender. Cover and blend, about 50 seconds.
5. Add some more olive oil to the meat mixture, about 2 T, plus a generous pinch of salt and 2 t bouillon powder for flavor. Strain tomato mixture into meat mixture, stirring as you go. When all is blended, salt to taste and continue cooking on medium.
6. Peel and chop 1 apple, add to meat mixture. Peel and chop 1 pear, add to meat mixture. Add chopped nuts, one third cup of raisins. Lower heat to medium low.
7. In (clean) blender, add 2 c crema and 2 T milk. Throw in 2 handfuls of pecans and blend. You can add a few T of brandy here if you wish. Blend until smooth, then set aside.
8. Beat egg whites in (clean) blender until frothy, then add the yolks and beat again until frothy.
9. Finally, it is time for assembly. Heat a layer of oil in a skillet, or a deep fryer is even better. Take the chiles and stuff them with the meat and fruit mixture. Then dip them in the frothy egg mixture. Then fry them in the hot oil.
10. To serve, put on a plate and drizzle (more like pour) the creamy nogada over the top. Finally, sprinkle with the fresh chopped parsley and the pomegranate seeds.
11. Now EAT!
This recipe makes nine. If you do not, for some unfathomable reason, want nine chiles en nogada, adjust accordingly. Good luck!