Do you ever feel nostalgic around the holidays? It can bring back memories of your favorite times with friends and family, at least that happens to me. Recently I came across a folder with my old takeout menu’s that I saved from our favorite restaurants in Kansas City. One of our favorite restaurants was Frida’s, decorated in the art of Frida Kahlo, serving authentic Mexican food that was different than anything we ever tasted in New Mexico. Oh, how we loved that place! Frida’s was popular for a time but ultimately closed it’s doors in the summer of 2016. However, I saved their menu which described their dishes in great detail. I re-created their Caldo Tlapeno a few years ago which is one of my favorite soups to date. Joe’s favorite dish was the Chile en Nogada. Translation . . . it’s poblano chiles stuffed with meat, fruits and spices topped with a cream sauce and pomegranate seeds called nogada. It’s a beautiful dish with the aroma and colors of the holidays. With pomegranates in season I thought it was time to re-create this dish at home. Surprisingly it was very easy to make and captured the taste and appearance we remembered so fondly.
I’ve found that the easiest way to roast chiles is to place them directly over the burner of your stove. **If you don’t have a gas stove, place the chiles on a baking sheet and roast in the oven under the broiler setting. Broil on high turning often until all sides are charred approximately 10 – 15 minutes.
Frida’s stuffed their chiles with steak, apples, plantains and pine nuts. I swapped out the steak for ground pork and substututed dried cranberries for the plantains. While researching this dish I found some recipes used other dried fruits such as apricots, peaches and raisins. I eventually went with ground pork, onions, garlic, tomatoes, apple, dried cranberries, cilantro, white wine, white vinegar and olive oil plus pomegranate seeds which I obviously forgot in this photo. The spice blend includes salt, black pepper, Mexican oregano, cinnamon, nutmeg and thyme.
To make the sauce you’ll need Mexican table cream, half & half, whipped cream cheese and some pine nuts. Most recipes call for walnuts in the sauce but I thought pine nuts aka pinons are more my taste.
I simply placed all the ingredients into a cup and blended with a hand blender. This is a scaled down recipe just for the two of us so you may want to double or triple the recipe based on how many chiles your make.
4 Poblano Chiles, roasted, peeled and seeded
1/2 pound Ground Pork
1 Roma Tomato, chopped
1/4 Onion, chopped
1 clove Garlic, grated on a microplane hand grater
1/2 Apple, diced
1/4 cup Dried Cranberries
1 tablespoon Cilantro, roughly chopped
1/4 cup Pine Nuts
1 teaspoon White Vinegar
1 tablespoon White Wine
**Pinch of Salt
**Pinch of Black Pepper
*Dash of Mexican Oregano
*Dash of Thyme
*Dash of Nutmeg
*Dash of Cinnamon
Garnish with Pomegranate Seeds, Cilantro and Pine Nuts
Nogada aka White Cream Sauce
3 tablespoons Whipped Cream Cheese
3 tablespoons Half & Half
3 tablespoons Mexican Table Cream aka Mexicana Crema
1 tablespoon Pine Nuts
1 teaspoon Brown Sugar
**Pinch of Cinnamon
Roast poblano chiles over an open flame of a gas burner on top of the stove. Use tongs to turn the chile as it blisters and chars over all sides. When charred over all sides, remove and place in a plastic bag to steam for 15 – 20 minutes. Peel chiles using a knife to scrape the peel away and rinse under the faucet. Set on paper towels to blot away the liquid. Set aside.
Brown ground pork in a medium skillet with a drizzle of olive oil over medium high heat. Break the meat apart with a wooden spatula and cook approximately 5 minutes or until meat is cooked through. Add the diced onions, garlic and cook until onions are soft and translucent. Add spices and stir to combine. Add the apples, tomatoes, cilantro, white vinegar and white wine to the meat mixture. Stir and cover with a lid to let fruit soften and steam for 5 minutes. Add the dried cranberries and pine nuts to the mix and stir to combine. Cook for an additional 5 minutes uncovered.
Make the sauce by placing whipped cream cheesse, half & half, Mexican table cream and pine nuts in a cup. Use a hand blender to whip the mixture into a sauce. Add the brown sugar and cinnamon and blend until well combined.
To assemble poblano’s, slice chiles vertically and remove seeds. Stuff with meat mixture and pour cream sauce over the stuffed chiles. Garnish with pomegranate seeds, cilantro and pine nuts.
Makes 4 Chiles en Nogada
* Dash equals 1/8 teaspoon
**Pinch equals 1/16 teaspoon