At Blue Pacific, we are proud to be a multinational family of employees from around the world! Every month brings new opportunities to share in the culture and traditions of our team members. In September we join our Regulatory Compliance Associate, Leslie Cazarez, as she celebrates the Mexican Independence holiday.
Although Mexican Independence Day was officially September 16th, Leslie shares that in Mexico, people celebrate all month long. A major centerpiece of the festivities is – of course – FOOD!
“There are many dishes which I grew up eating some examples including chalupas, molotes, tacos árabes, cemitas, pambazos, tacos al pastor, tostadas, pozole and more,” Leslie recalls. “I specifically picked Chiles en Nogada for a few reasons. One of the main reasons being its history/origin, which relates directly to the place and country where I lived 10 years of my childhood and the variety of ingredients used to prepare the dish. The traditional Chile en Nogada is from Puebla, a state in Mexico, and it is tied to the independence of this country. It is said they were prepared for the first time by nuns to present to a Mexican army general and future emperor of Mexico, who went to town to sign the treaty that would establish Mexican Independence from Spain.”
“The traditional season for making and eating this dish in Central Mexico is August and first half of September, when pomegranates, walnuts, and all fruits used in the filling are in season and the national independence festivities begin. The colors of the dish—green chile, white sauce, red pomegranate—further the patriotic associations, as these are the main colors of the flag of Mexico. While in my case it was not often made at home, since it is rather laborious and often made only once a year, I think it is interesting how there are many ingredients put together to make one dish: we have a savory, salty, and sweet filling, a sweet and creamy sauce, sweet and slightly sour pomegranate seeds, and if lucky – perhaps unlucky! – a mild spicy chile.”
Read on for Leslie’s amazing, fruit and spice-filled recipe for Chiles en Nogada! Thank you Leslie for sharing this delicious dish – and your heritage – with us.
CHILES EN NOGADA
- 1/4 lb ground beef
- 1/4 lb ground pork
- 1 c. tomato sauce
- 1 white onion, diced
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 3 black peppercorns
- 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp. ground thyme
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1/2 large apple, cored and diced
- 1/2 pear, cored and diced
- 1 peach, diced
- 1/2 ripe plantain, diced
- 1/4 c. raisins
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- Sauté half of the onion, the peppercorns, and the garlic in a frying pan with the olive oil for a couple of minutes.
- Add the above to a blender with the tomato sauce, the thyme, and the cloves and blend until smooth.
- In the same pan where the onions and garlic were sautéed, add the rest of the onion, the ground meat, and the salt and cook until the meat is cooked through.
- Add the fruits and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
- Add the cinnamon and sugar, stir, and cook for 3 more minutes over medium-low heat.
- Add the tomato sauce mixture from above and let simmer until almost all of the liquid has evaporated. Meat shouldn’t be dry, but it shouldn’t have too much liquid either, because that will make it harder to fill the peppers later.
Salsa de Nogada:
- 2 c. walnuts
- 1/2 c. milk
- 3 oz. goat cheese or cream cheese
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- Salt, to taste
- Put the walnuts in hot water for about 20 minutes. This is so that it is easier to remove the skins, resulting in a white salsa.
- Once you have removed the skins, put the walnuts in cool water for 15 more minutes.
- Add the walnuts to the rest of the salsa ingredients, and blend until smooth. Set aside.
- Chopped parsley
- Pomegranate seeds
Assembling the Chiles Rellenos:
- 10 Poblano peppers roasted, with skin and seeds removed
- Once the meat and salsa are ready, add some of the filling to each cleaned and prepared poblano pepper. In order to do this, cut an opening right down the middle. You can also use toothpicks to close it back up if you desire.
- Smother in the salsa, and top with parsley and pomegranate seeds.