Chiles en Nogada

Chiles en nogada is a traditional Mexican dish typically served in the month of August or on special occasions. The dish consists of a stuffed poblano pepper covered in a walnut sauce and topped with pomegranate seeds. The colours of these ingredients represent the Mexican flag. Authentic Mexican food is elaborate, sophisticated and full of flavour and spice. It is one of my favourite cuisines. This dish represents the best of Mexico and reminds me of my trip last August to its capital, Mexico City.

I made adjustments to the traditional recipe to suit my dietary restrictions and taste including swapping the ground beef and pork with lean turkey, removing the milk and cheese from the walnut sauce and removing the raisins from the stuffing and replacing it with a jalapeno.

RECIPE + INGREDIENTS

Serves 4

  • 4 poblano peppers

For the filling:

  • 1 pound ground lean turkey
  • 2 tbsp. avocado oil
  • ½ medium white onion
  • 4-5 cloves garlic
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp Himalayan salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp epazote
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • ½ granny smith apple
  • ½ peach
  • ½ roasted plantain
  • 1 cup strained tomato sauce

For the walnut sauce (salsa de nogada):

  • 1 cup walnuts soaked in water overnight
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tsp salt to taste
  • 1 tsp arrowroot powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 pinch of cinnamon

For the topping:

  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Chopped cilantro

DIRECTIONS

  • In a 375 degree oven, roast the poblano peppers and plantain on a cookie sheet for 20 – 30 minutes. The skin of the poblanos should blacken and blister. The plantain should be soft to the touch and turn bright yellow throughout. Remove from the oven and set both aside to cool.
  • Rinse soaked walnuts and place in a blender. Add all other ingredients for the salsa and blend until smooth and creamy. Transfer salsa to a small saucepan on low heat to warm. Keep on the stovetop on low until ready to serve. Add water, if consistency gets too thick.
  • In a large saucepan on medium heat, add the avocado oil and sauté the chopped onions until glassy. Add the turkey, constantly stir and break up the meat to avoid clumping. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until meat turns a light brown. Add the spices and garlic. Stir again until fragrant.
  • Add chopped fruits and jalapeno. Place the lid on the pan and let simmer for another 5-7 minutes. Once fruit has softened add the tomato sauce. Stir, cover again and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Take the poblano peppers and remove the blistered skin. Cut them lengthwise on one side to add the turkey and fruit stuffing. Use a few tablespoons of the stuffing per pepper.
  • Place peppers on a serving dish and pour walnut sauce on top. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds and chopped cilantro. It is now ready to serve!

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