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Rustica Talavera Pottery: Recipe Chiles en Nogada

April 19, 2017

Rustica Talavera Pottery:  Recipe Chiles en Nogada

Puebla, Mexico's classic Chiles en Nogada

Without a doubt, this is one of the most delicious history lessons you'll ever experience.

Chiles en Nogada, which translates literally into "chiles in walnut sauce," is a centuries-old trip back in time to the beautiful early days of Mexico's Puebla.  I mean, of course you can skip ahead and read the recipe, but trust me - any dish involving nuns and emperors makes for delicious reading.

Chiles en Nogada is a special "welcome" dish, created in hospitality for Mexico's equivalent of military royalty.  The time was the 19th century, and this special dish was invented by the nuns of the Santa Catalina convent of Puebla. It was created to honor Agustin de Iturbide, an artisocrat and military officer who helped bring peace with Spain, and later served briefly as Mexico's emperor.

In honor of the occasion, the nuns assembled a delicate dish of poblano chiles, pomegranate seeds, roasted and stuffed with a picadillo filling of meat, fruit and nuts, then topped with the afore-mentioned creamy walnut sauce.  As the Mexican flag had been unveiled not too long before, this dish was as patriotic as it was delicious.

Now, I will warn you.  This is slow-food; there is much patient chopping, grinding and assembly to get to the finished masterpiece.  But it is a show-stopper, brought to you by the same nuns who gave the world the delicate mole sauce.  Lucky guests and family who gets to sample this amazing delicacy!

chiles en nogada recipe Rustica gift & talavera pottery


Recipe excerpted from Douglas Cullen's Mexican Food Journal, a delightful and talented chef committed to the fine cuisines and culture of Mexico.  With many thanks!


  • 6 large poblano chiles, about 6" long
  • 10ozs. beef
  • 10 ozs. pork
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 1 medium waxy potato
  • 1 medium zucchini squash
  • 3 roma (plum) tomatoes
  • ½ cup peas
  • 8 ozs. biznaga or candied fruit or dried fruit
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup almonds
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt + salt to taste
  • 1¼ cup Mexican cream (do not use sour cream)
  • ½ cup shelled walnuts
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 small pomegranates or 1 large
  • 1 small bunch of parsley
  2. Place the meat in a pan and just cover with water. Bring to a simmer and cook the meat until just cooked through (about 20 minutes) turning once.When the meat is cooked remove it from the pan and allow it to cool to the touch. Reserve the cooking liquid.
  4. Chop the meat into cubes first then chop finely.
  5. Chop the onion, carrot, zucchini, potato and candied fruit into ¼" cubes.
  6. Chop the almond very fine.
  8. Slice the tomatoes in half and add them to your blender with ½ cup of the cooking liquid from the meat.
  9. Blend until smooth but not liquified.
  11. Fry the onions in 3 tablespoons of oil for 2 minutes.
  12. Add the potatoes, stir and cook for 5 minutes.
  13. Add the chopped meat and stir.
  14. Add the pureed tomato.
  15. Add the carrots, zucchini, and raisins and cook for 5 minutes until the tomato puree is starting to reduce.
  16. Add the peas, biznaga or candied fruit and almonds. stir well.
  17. Cook for 15 minutes until all of the vegetables are fully cooked and tender and the liquid is reduced.
  18. Note: If the filling starts to get too dry before all of the ingredients are fully cooked add the cooking liquid from the meat a few tablespoons at a time as needed.
  20. Place the chiles over the open flame on the burner on your stove. Note: Do not leave chiles unattended.
  21. Blacken and blister the skin on all sides.
  22. When you have roasted all of the chiles place them in a plastic bag to sweat them.
  23. Scrape the skin the chiles with the blade of a knife.
  24. Using a small knife, gently split the chile down the side without cutting all the way through the tip of the chile.
  25. Remove the seeds inside the chile with your fingers without tearing the chile.
  27. Place the cream, walnuts and cinnamon in your blender.
  28. Blend until the walnuts are completely incorporated into the sauce and the sauce is smooth.
  30. Slice the pomegranates in half.
  31. Remove the seeds from your pomegranates.
  32. Chop the parsley very finely reserving a few leafs to use as decoration.
  34. Fill each poblano chile with enough filling so that it will just close. Use toothpicks to keep each chile closed if needed.
  35. Place 1 stuffed chile on each plate.
  36. Spoon nogada over the stuffed chile until the chile is completely covered.
  37. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds and chopped parsley over the chile covered in nogada.
  38. Decorate with a 1 or 2 parsley leafs.
Allow the filling to rest for 2 hours so that the flavors can meld.
NOTE:  If you can visit the beautiful city of Puebla, go during September.  The traditional time to enjoy this incredible dish is during August/September, when the country is celebrating their independence.  Visit the Zocalo, the town square, and pick an outdoor table to enjoy your dining and people watching experience.
Or, you can approach a local bicyclist and negotiate the purchase of a freshly-made, still warm tortilla from the back of his basket.  Delicioso!
Rustica Gift & Talavera Pottery bicycle carrying fresh tortillas through Puebla's Zocalo square

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