Friday, October 11, 2013

Chiles en Nogada

I've been meaning to try these for a while and finally got around to making the recipe. I deviated from the traditional in a few ways; first, chiles rellenos are usually battered and fried, which I'm sure is delicious, but also not particularly healthy. Secondly, the stuffing usually involves pork, but I opted for a vegetarian (hell, this meal is even full on vegan, thanks to using almond milk instead of dairy) version for no particular reason. Usually the pork is accompanied by fruits like apples and pears, for a sweet and hearty flavor, and I think mine are in that same spirit. Finally, it seems like all the recipes I read garnish the dish with parsley, but I wanted the sort of penetrating fresh flavor cilantro brings to the table.

Chiles Rellanos:
10 poblano chilis
½ large eggplant, diced
2 small zucchini, diced
1 apple, peeled, cored and diced
1 pear, peeled, cored diced
½ large yellow onion, diced
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves garlic, diced
1 tablespoon cumin
½ teaspoon allspice
2 teaspoons chili powder

Nogada Sauce:
2 cups walnuts
¾ cup almond milk
½ cup beer (I used a Victory Festbier)
1 teaspoon sugar
Pinch of salt

To Finish:
Pomegranate seeds

First, we need to char the poblanos. You can do this directly over a gas burner, on a cast iron pan with no oil, or stick them all under the broiler. I used the broiler. They will take a few minutes each side – flip them when they start to blacken and char. Remove from the oven and drape a towel over them for a few minutes. Once they cool, remove the skin (it should come right off). Cut a slit down the middle, and remove the seeds – it’s best to try and keep the stem intact so that the chilies stay together when stuffed.

Moving on, hope your knife skills are up to snuff because there is a good amount of chopping to be done. You’ll need the eggplant, zucchini, apple, pear, onion, and garlic diced and the mushrooms sliced.  Add these all to a large bowl or two.

All these ingredients are going to be sweated down, and you’ll need to do this in 3 batches. Heat a large pan over medium, add a little oil, and the diced ingredients. Season with salt, and sweat for 5 to 7 minutes, until much of the water in the vegetables is released.  Repeat with remaining batches.

Once you’ve sweated the veggies, add them all to a bowl along with the cumin, allspice and chili powder. Stir to mix.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spoon the stuffing into each of the chilis. Place on a backing sheet/roasting pan lined with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes.

Before saucing

Combine the walnuts and almond milk in a blender, and puree. Add the beer, and season with salt and taste. Add sugar as appropriate. The sauce will have some texture to it.

Serve the baked rellenos with sauce and sprinkle pomegranate seeds and cilantro on top. Serve with corn tortillas or white rice.


Post a Comment