Just as Mexico starts dressing up in red, white and green for the patriotic holidays, food lovers are slathering for a taste of the season’s emblematic tricolor gourmet treat: Chiles en Nogada.
While the stuffed pepper may rate as commonplace fare in Mexico’s culinary repertoire, none is quite so complex nor so steeped in history as this unique seasonal version. It’s a festive palate-pleaser noted for an exotic blend of flavors brought together in perfect symphony.
Recipes for Chiles en Nogada are varied, with some listing as many as 40 different ingredients. Common elements shared by all are the main vehicle (a fresh green poblano pepper), its rich meat and fruit filling, and the garnishing of a luscious walnut-laced white cream sauce, ruby red pomegranate seeds and bright green parsley.
The dish is traditionally featured on menus in the months of July, August and September, the peak market season for the key ingredients.
Chefs debate a number of points on how Chiles en Nogada are best prepared. Some think the chile pepper should be battered and fried, others prefer them simply peeled and plain. Some serve their chilies piping hot, others go for plating at room temperature.