Chillies en Nogada

One of my friends and one of the best cooks I know, lets call her Grace (because that is her name), gave me some poblano chillies that she grew in her garden. Poblano chillies are usually known by their dried names ancho or mulato chillies and when dried are used in one of Mexico’s most famous dishes Mole Poblano de guajolote, the chilli and chocolate sauce with turkey or here with duck.

When fresh and used in this dish, Chillies en Nogada, another of Mexico’s National dishes, these chillies really shine. This dish is made to celebrate Mexico and its independence from Spain, the colours of the flag are here in the red pomegranate, green chillies and white walnut sauce. And trust me it is delicious.

I used a combination of Elisabeth Lambert Ortiz’s recipe in Mexican cooking and Zarela Martinez’s recipe from her web site for the recipe that follows. The chillies are superb in this dish but a small green capsicum, or even a red one would be an ok substitute.

The poblanos were grilled until the skins were blackened, as above, then they went into a plastic bag to sweat for a bit. The skins came off easily after this. You then make a slit in a t shape to get the seeds out, be gentle here, don’t butcher them too much. For the filling for the four poblanos I used 1 small onion, 1 clove garlic, 200 g pork fillet, 1/2 granny smith apple, 1/2 pear, 1 1/2 tblsp raisins soaked in 1/4 cup dry sherry, 1 tomato peeled, 1/3 tsp cinnamon, salt and pepper to taste. The ingredients were all chopped finely and the fruit peeled and chopped. Fry the onion and garlic until soft, turn up the heat and brown the pork, I seasoned the pork here then added the fruit and cooked a while then deglazed with some of the sherry the raisins were soaking in. Add the tomato and cinnamon, taste and adjust seasoning, reduce so there is no liquid left.

For the walnut sauce, soak 1 cup of walnuts in 1/2 cup milk, do this in the morning before you go to yoga (I forgot to tell you that before, sorry). Put the walnuts and milk in a food processor with the remaining sherry from the raisins, 2 tblsp cream cheese, 2 tblsp sour cream, 1/4 tsp cinnamon and a pinch salt. Process. Done.

Stuff the chillies with the filling and roast in a medium oven for 10 minutes or until heated through. Cover with sauce and garnish with pomegranate seeds and chopped flat leaf parsley.

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