Celebrate Mexican Independence at Grand Residences this month by trying a signature dish always served during the festivities, Chiles en Nogada (Chilies in Walnut Sauce). We will be cooking them up at Flor de Canela, along with many other tempting Mexican dishes.

The time-honored recipe for Chiles en Nogada features poblano chilies with a sweet-savory filling topped with a creamy walnut sauce and sprinkled with pomegranate seeds and parsley, the colors of the Mexican flag, red, white and green.

A patriotic culinary creation

A sophisticated dish that is a celebration of Mexican bounty, there is a fascinating story behind Chiles en Nogada. History tells that in 1821, General Agustín de Iturbide visited the city of Puebla after signing the Treaty of Córdoba, the agreement that gave Mexico its Independence from Spain. He decided to celebrate his saint’s day in the city: August 28, the day of St Augustine, and the city’s elders held a banquet in his honor. The nuns of Santa Monica Convent were so caught up in the patriotic fervor of his visit that they decided to create a special dish to commemorate his visit and the birth of a nation, using the colors of the new flag: red, white and green.

They prepared Poblano chilies with a filling of ground pork and beef mixed with raisins, citron, peach and apple, spices, garlic and onion. A creamy white sauce made from ground walnuts, almonds and sherry was poured over the chilies. Pomegranate seeds and chopped cilantro and parsley completed the color sequence.

To this day, the inhabitants of Puebla pride themselves on this patriotic dish and every August chefs compete in a contest to prepare the best Chiles en Nogada.

Recipes for Chiles en Nogada vary from family to family, some cooks put pears and apple in the stuffing or use citron peel, pineapple, prunes or banana. Some swear by nutmeg, pine nuts and add a dash of rum, while others scorn the use of cream or cheese in the sauce, relying on nuts to create the creamy consistency. The staples, however, are pomegranates and walnuts and these are only in season during late August and September, coinciding with Independence month. And whatever the interpretation, the results are always delicious.

Here’s our chef’s recipe for this classic dish if you would like to make it yourself.

Chiles en Nogada

For the stuffing

  • 100g lard
  • 350g onion
  • 4g fresh garlic
  • 300g ground beef
  • 300g ground pork
  • 4g salt
  • 2g freshly ground black pepper
  • 600g tomato
  • 1g ground cinnamon
  • 1g ground nutmeg
  • 1g ground cumin
  • 1g ground cloves
  • 1 pear
  • 1 peach
  • 1 plantain
  • 30g shelled almonds
  • 30g pine nuts
  • 8 Poblano chilies
  • 30g raisins

For the Nogada sauce

  • 50g goat cheese
  • 60g walnuts
  • 10g sugar
  • 500ml sour cream
  • 750ml milk
  • 100g sherry
  • 2g salt

The seeds from a pomegranate
1g chopped parsley

Sauté the poblano chilis to soften them, clean them and remove the seeds
Dice the onion, tomato (deseeded), pear, peach and plantain and finely chop the garlic, almonds and parsley.
Extract the pomegranate seeds and set aside.

For the stuffing
Heat the lard and fry the onion, add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute; add the ground beef and pork with salt and pepper, cook for 10 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients, mix and cook for 5 minutes more. Fill the chilies and set aside.

For the Nogada sauce
Blend the softened goat cheese, walnuts, sugar, cream, milk, sherry and salt.

Place the stuffed chili on a plate, add the sauce and garnish with pomegranate seeds and parsley.