This year we found ourselves with an unbelievable craving to prepare Chiles en Nogada. The gravity of this whim made us jump from one idea to another, over and over again. First, we wanted to repeat last year's recipe. Because, in our humble opinion, it was a delight, since it was a compendium of all the recipes that my kitchen team and I knew. The we thought: "Why not replicate the authentic Chile en Nogada?" so we escaped to Calpan, Puebla.
There we met Freddy, a purveyor of all the fruits needed for a legitimate Chile en Nogada. He told us "the true story" about the origin and preparation of the famous Chiles. While he was doing it, he showed us the milk pears, the pomegranates, the "panochera" apples, the poblano peppers, and best of all, the walnut; That moment was the most beautiful in my experience on this trip. sometimes we are so far removed from the raw material's natural processes that seeing it in its purest state is simply astonishing.
Freddy showed us the walnuts that they had just collected and that were still in their skin, so he shared one with each of us to strip it of its 2 shells. We were all excited with our nuts in our hands, cracking them and taking photos simultaneously. Everything was very poetic, magical, but I thought: "Thank heaven they sell us the nuts already clean! Because after peeling 10 walnuts, I can imagine and feel our asses getting kicked in the kitchen.
On a roll and hungry, we went to meet Doña Raque, a traditional cook and famous for her Chiles en Nogada. While there was a palpable excitement in all those present at her place, suddenly some were walking through the corridors, others carefully read the Talavera dishes that delicately congratulated and honored Doña Raque for her participation in the town's fairs. Another one chatted up Doña Raque, watching her beat the egg whites to batter the chiles; I only heard the sound of everything that was happening: the oil boiling and bubbling, the mixer hitting a clay pot, the danzón music and, in the distance, the greeting exclaimed by every good Mexican when he or she enters an establishment where the food and the atmosphere makes you feel at home: "¡Provecho!" Without a doubt, we Mexicans are beautiful, and so are our customs.
At the end and after our arduous field research (that's what we like to call our escapades where we can indulge ourselves in gluttony at ease), we came to the conclusion that the best thing to commemorate this national month was, in fact, to dedicate a tribute to the Chiles En Nogada; So we decided to create three different proposals inspired by the roots that make us Mexican, that is, our Indigenous, Spanish and African roots. Respecting, of course, the structure of a legitimate chile: the Chile Poblano, the Nogada or walnut sauce, the meat filling with dried and fresh fruits, and finally; the acid touch that the pomegranate gives us.
Each process is based on ingredients of origin or that are used in their native gastronomy. For example, we make the Indigenous Chile en Nogada with a Poblano Chile stuffed with guajalote/turkey meat, mamey, papaya, sunflower seeds, tomato, and an infusion of pixtle and guava. Sautéing pumpkin flower with pulque, peanuts, and vanilla bean to make the sauce. To substitute the flavor of the pomegranate, we use xoconostle prickly pear.
The Spanish Chile en Nogada is also a Poblano Chile stuffed with pork, crystallized figs, dates, red wine, nutmeg, almonds, cinnamon, and golden raisins. We prepare the sauce with walnuts, sherry, goat cheese, pepper, and stale bread; in this one, we leave the pomegranate intact.
We fill El Africano Chile en Nogada with beef, ripe plantains, yucca, tomato, prunes, and an l touch of dried guajillo peppers. We cook the nogada with pumpkin seeds, peanuts and sesame seeds, molasses, and aged cheese. Finally, to substitute the pomegranate's acid touch, we use fried hibiscus flowers covered with sugar crystals.
As you can read and surely smell, we strive to celebrate the most Mexican month, delving into our culinary history to offer you an experience that is delicious, purposeful, and perfectly paired by Cristhian Bustos, our mixologist. Welcome Lovers of this traditional dish, enjoy each ingredient, let HOUSE pamper you and… Buen Provecho!
Ana Karina Rodríguez
HOUSE Restaurant | Las Casas B+B Hotel
Tricolor Delight! 3 Chiles en Nogada Representing Our 3 Mexican Roots: Indigenous, Spanish & African. Which One Will Be Your Favorite?
Las Casas B+B The Most Centric Boutique Hotel In Cuernavaca!
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