Chiles en Nogada – A Traditional Mexican Recipe

Chiles en Nogada are by far my favorite Mexican recipe. A roasted poblano pepper stuffed with picadillo (a mixture of shredded meat, spices and fruit) topped with a creamy walnut sauce, and garnished with cilantro (traditionally parsley) and pomegranates for good measure.

If all you’ve had for ‘Mexican Food’ is a king sized wet burrito, then you definitely need to try this recipe. Granted, it’s quite an ordeal, but it’s completely worth it.

Ingredients for Chiles en Nogada:

Chiles and Picadillo (stuffing):
1lb pork shoulder (cut into smaller cubes)
2 garlic cloves (peeled and finely chopped)
1 white onion (diced)
8 large poblano chiles
1 small apple (peeled, cored and diced)
1 pear (peeled, cored and diced)
2 peaches (peeled, pitted and diced)
1 tomato (seeded and chopped)
2 tbsp raisins
2 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried marjoram
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 ripe plantain (peeled and diced)

Walnut Sauce:
2 cups walnut (pieces and halves)
1 cup of milk
1 slice white bread (no crusts)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp dry sherry
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup mexican crema (or heavy whipping cream)

1 pomegranate
8 sprigs cilantro (traditionally parsley)


1. Before you start cooking ensure your prep is done for Chiles en Nogada, for example the tomato seeded and chopped, the apple pealed, cored and diced, etc. Ensure to deseed the pomegranate, and coarsely chop the cilantro for the garnish, as well, and set aside.

2. Place pork in a medium sized saucepan, cover with water, the garlic, half the onion  and bring to gentle boil. Keep partially covered and simmer until thoroughly soft, give it about 1 1/2-2 hours. Take out with tongs, and shred the meat. Keep the broth on the side for later.

3. Prepare the sauce by placing the walnuts, milk, bread, sugar, sherry, salt and cinnamon into a blender, and mixing until the texture is smooth. Add crema or whipping cream, and blend again. Set aside at room temperature.

4. Place chiles directly over gas flame, or on a grill. Roast until blackened and blistered on all sides, you’ll have to rotate them. This should take about 5 minutes, just make sure they aren’t too soft. Peel off the skin, and rinse if needed. (If you don’t have gas burners, then you can set your oven to broil, lay the chiles out on parchment paper, and a baking sheet and broil on each side for about 3-4 minutes each.) When you have the chiles peeled, make a long slit through the side of the chiles, take out the seeds, and let sit to the side.

5. For the stuffing, heat up 1 1/2 tbsp of the oil in a large skillet over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the rest of the onion and shredded pork, and cook till lightly browned. Get rid of the excess fat, then stir in pear, apple, peach, raisins, the tomato, cinnamon and herbs. Pour in 1/4 cup of the broth that you put to the side earlier, reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the fruits are tender but not mushy. Season with salt.

6. Grab the remaining oil, and heat in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the diced plantain to the skillet until nicely browned and sweet, while stirring frequently, then add to plantain to mixture, remove the entire skillet from heat.

6. Stuff the chiles with filling, packing in the stuffing, and placing them in their original shape on a serving dish. Generously spoon sauce over warm chiles. Garnish with cilantro and pomegranate and serve this traditional mexican recipe for your own little trip to Michoacan.

And if you haven’t seen it yet, Check out my days in San Miguel where I first tried Chiles en Nogada. (And you can learn about the history of Chiles en Nogada right here.)

Author: Jordan Alvarado

Jordan is a Restaurant and Food Photographer based out of San Francisco. As an avid traveler and professionally trained chef, she brings her passion of curing wanderlust through food right here to Hey Shug.

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