Chile en Nogada after Laura Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolate



  1. Wash the poblano chiles well, and roast directly on a gas flame, or under a broiler. Once the chiles have blistered and blackened, wrap them in a clean cotton towel, and cover with a glass bowl, in order to capture all of the steam. Allow to steam and cool for about 20 minutes.
  2. Remove them from the towel, and then carefully peel the chiles using your fingers. You can use a paring knife to scrape off any loose peel.
  3. Slit the chile lengthwise, turning out the interior bulb of the stem where the seeds are attached. Remove the seeds either by scraping them out, or by cutting out the bulb, while leaving the stem intact. Rinse the chiles to remove any stray bits of charred skin or clingy seeds. Set aside.
  4. In a 10” (25cm) skillet, brown the ground pork, beef and minced onion. Once the meat is no longer rare, add the remaining ingredients, and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes.
  5. Peel your pomegranate and liberate the seeds, taking care to keep them from bursting. The whole seeds will be your garnish.
  6. To make the sauce, in a separate 10” (25cm) skillet, melt the butter. Add all of the nuts, and allow to brown for about 7 minutes over medium heat, carefully watching that they do not scorch.
  7. Once browned, add the nuts to a food processor, blenders, or using an immersion blender, blend the nuts, adding the half and half as necessary to make a smooth sauce. The sauce should be the consistency of a thick, warm salad dressing.
  8. Return the sauce to the pan, salt to taste, add any remaining half and half, the queso cotija, and heat gently for about 10 minutes as you prepare the chiles.
  9. Fill each of the chiles with a couple of spoonfuls of the meat mixture, and place on a platter with the open slit to the side or underneath. Do not overfill. Once your platter of chiles is ready, top with the warm sauce, and garnish with the pomegranate seeds.


Recipe Point of Interest: The candied pineapple in this recipe is a replacement for the traditional Mexican acitrón, which is a sugared, crystallized barrel cactus.