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Chiles en Nogada by Chef Yuri de Gortari, Esgamex

Chiles en Nogada Recipe by Chef Yuri de Gortari

September in Mexico cannot be imagined without Chiles en Nogada, the renowned dish that has roots in the same era when Mexico gained its independence, in the very beginning of the 19th century. Edmundo Escamilla, one of the most recognized historians of Mexican gastronomy, explains in this video how Chile en Nogada was created in Puebla in honor of Agustín de Iturbide, an important politician and militant from the Mexican Independence times.
Right after de Iturbide signed the Cordoba Agreement on August 24th, 1721, he travelled to Puebla, bound to arrive on August 28th, the day of San Agustín. The local government went above and beyond to prepare a feast worthy of such a distinguished guest on his very important day. In Iturbide's honor, the nuns from the Santa Monica monastery came up with this amazing recipe, using the seasonal fruits and vegetables and created the emblematic dish that is still considered one of the most festive creations of Mexican cuisine.
The original recipe for Chile en Nogada has never been recovered. However, the experts agree that the original Poblano pepper served in nogada sauce must have been coated in flour and eggs, then fried, unlike many of the modern-day versions served in the restaurants on Mexico around September. The reason for it is that the rules of the fine cuisine of the times dictated these elaborate steps, while the modern recipes follow the low-calories trends of our times. The earliest recipe books from those times include the coating and all the families in Puebla prepare it the same way even today.
This is another recipe by the celebrated chef Yuri de Gortari, a prominent figure of Mexican cuisine. If you speak Spanish, we recommend you watch chef Yuri himself taking you step by step through the recipe at this link. If you prefer reading the recipe in English, here it comes…


 Chef Yuri de Gortari in his kitchen in Escuela de Gastronomia Mexicana, preparing chiles en nogada

 Chiles en Nogada

(12 pieces)
You Will Need:
  • 12 Poblano peppers (Dark Green, elongated, not very spicy): grilled, wrapped in plastic to sweat, peeled and with removed pith and ribs (venas)
  • 7 beaten eggs for pepper coating
  • Wheat flour
  • Lard
  • Salt & Ground pepper
  • ½ finely chopped onion
  • 2 finely chopped garlic cloves
  • 350g (12oz) ground pork (preferably tenderloin)
  • 350 (12oz) ground beef (preferably sirloin)
  • 1 diced pear (with skin)
  • 2 diced apples (with skin)
  • 1 Plantain (optional)
  • 3 diced peaches (with skin)
  • ½ cup diced Acitrón (candied cactus)
  • 100g (3.5oz) raisins
  • 70g (2.5oz) peeled and chopped almonds
  • Pinch of thyme
  • Pinch of oregano
  • ¾ teaspoonful of freshly ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoonful of freshly ground clove
  • 500g (17.6oz) roasted, ground and strained tomato
  • ½ cup pink pignoli (pine nut) – optional
Nogada sauce:
  • 1 kg (35oz) peeled walnut
  • 2 cups milk
  • 500g peeled almond
  • 250g (9oz) goat cheese
  • 1 cup dry sherry
  • Sugar
  • 2 cups pomegranate seeds
  • 1 cup parsley


Preparing the filling for Chiles en Nogada

The Filling

Preheat some lard (preferably in a traditional Mexican painted clay pot), fry some finely chopped onion and garlic and add pork and ground beef. Stir until all ingredients are well combined, add salt and ground pepper and continue stirring for a few minutes.

Add diced pears and apples to the mix. If you like plantains, add a diced plantain  – this step is optional, but chef Yuri recommends it. Add diced peaches. Keep stirring as the fruit blends with the meat and they merge well together. Add diced acitrón (candied cactus, a delicacy used in several traditional Mexican dishes), raisins and peeled, chopped almond. Keep stirring. Scatter a pinch of thyme, a pinch of oregano, freshly ground cinnamon and clove, and add some more ground pepper. This trio - cinnamon, clove and pepper - was the typical spice combination for the era when this dish was created.

Separately, roast the tomatoes, grind them and strain. Add the tomato sauce to the filling and continue stirring. The mixture for this filling should not be flowing in tomato sauce. The tomato should add some flavor and moist and still allow the blend to be compact enough for the filling. As the last ingredient, add the pink pine nuts (piñón), also optional. Continue stirring and combining the aromas and flavors well but allow the ingredients to keep their texture and form.



Nogada sauce for Chiles en Nogada

Nogada Sauce

The famous white sauce that covers the Poblano peppers is made of fresh, flavorful and aromatic white walnuts. In the beginning of the 19th century, this part was done in metate, a traditional horizontal mortar made of the volcanic stone, but you can use a modern food processor and save yourself a lot of time and effort. The important part is achieving the smooth texture.

Peel the walnut and soak it in milk. Pour the mixture of milk and walnuts in the food processor, add almonds previously soaked in water and peeled. Grind the mix for at least a minute. If you are using a blender instead, pour and grind small portions. If you pour the whole amount for this recipe in a single grind, the sauce will either be too liquid or not grind well.

Add the goat cheese, a pinch of salt, and some sugar. Remember this sause isn’t strictly sweet or salty – it’s rather somewhere in between, leaning towards sweet. Add the dry sherry and grind again for about 40 seconds.


Poblano chile - filling and coating for Chiles en Nogada

Poblano Peppers

Grill your Poblano pepper. Leave them to sweat and then peel them. Open each pepper with a single cut from the stem to the top, and remove seeds, pith and ribs.

Place some lard in a large pan and turn on the heat. Fill your peppers with the meat and fruit filling and close them. Roll the peppers in wheat flour, in beaten eggs and place in the pan to fry. Turn them around during the process so that all sides can fry evenly. Place fried peppers on a paper tissue to soak off some of the grease.

Chiles en Nogada by Chef Yuri de Gortari

Choose a plate that will boost the visual richness of this plate. Chef Yuri uses a Talavera plate from Puebla, the cradle of this traditional, popular dish. Place a filled, coated pepper on a plate, cover it completely with the white Nogada sauce. Sprinkle the red pomegranate seeds and chopped parsley over the white sauce. You will immediately notice the color combination of green, white and red that makes this dish a must have around these dates, when Mexico celebrates its independence.

Chile en Nogada should be served on room temperature – the pepper recently coated but not too hot, and nogada sauce fresh and cool.


Now that you know all ingredients and steps, we invite you to watch the complete process in this video by Chef Yuri de Gortari, a part of the great series called Cocina Identidad in YouTube.



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