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Chilies en Nogada

Jon
Recipe by

Ingredients

For the Sauce:

  • ¾ cup walnuts
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup thick cream (I use Mexican Aguascaliente or acidificada)
  • 3 ounces queso fresco (try a crumbly ranchero)
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • Pinch salt, or to taste
  • Pinch of sugar or teaspoon of sherry to taste

For the chiles:

  • 1 pound port, cut into 1-inch pieces (or left over chuletas, roast loin, etc)
  • ½ onion, cut in half
  • 2 cloves garlic, cut in half
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 pound tomatoes with their skins seeded and chopped
  • 1 onion minced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic minced
  • Pinch cinnamon
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • 2 plantain, or under ripe banana, peeled and cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • Scant ¼ cup citron or candied orange peel, cut into ¼-inch cubes (Try using fresh fruit such as pear or mango in place of the above fruit)
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup blanched, chopped almonds
  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 6 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled and deveined
  • Flat leaf parsley and pomegranate seeds for garnish

Instructions

  1. To prepare the sauce, place shelled walnuts in a heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water and let soak 5 minutes.  Drain, then peel the thin skin from the nuts (I brush vigorously with a stiff brush, but seldom find that much skin comes off.)  Place in a bowl and cover with milk and let soak for 12 hours (less time works if you are in a hurry.)
  2. Drain the walnuts, discarding all but ½ cup of the milk for use in pureeing the nuts.  Transfer the nuts to a blender and puree with the cream, ½ cup milk and the queso fresco, salt and sugar.  Refrigerate.
  3. To prepare the filling, put the meat in a saucepan with enough water to cover, and cook over medium heat.  Add the onion, garlic and salt.  Cook for 40 to 60 minutes or until the meat is tender, skimming and discarding any foam from the surface with a large spoon.  Drain the meat, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.
  4. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and add the onion and garlic, sautéing until transparent.  Add the tomatoes and minced parsley and cook for 5 minutes stirring constantly.  Mix in the remaining cinnamon, cloves, plantain, other fruit, raisins, almonds, pine nuts and salt, along with the pork.  Cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking—the meat should begin to fall apart and be slightly moist.  If it becomes too dry, add some of the reserved cooking liquid.
  5. Stuff each Chile with the pork mixture and place them on serving plates.  Pour the sauce over the chiles, avoiding the bases and stems, if possible.  Garnish with pomegranate seeds and fresh parsley.

Comments: I like to process the pork in processor until it is slightly broken up, but not at all pureed.  I place it in skillet with additional ingredients and let all simmer until well combined and slightly mushy.  It seems to adhere better and become a mix that will blend well within the Chile.

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