Monday, October 24, 2011

It's that time of year again... chiles en almendra

Chiles en nogada are a seasonal recipe made during the overlap of pomegranites, chiles poblanos, and walnuts - as well as apples and pears.

I make them with almonds, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds instead of walnuts. The chili stuffing is small cubes of beef, onion, garlic, apple, pear, pluot, raisins, more almonds, a bit of cinnamon, salt and black pepper. I was out of Sherry, so I splashed everything down with a bit of Calvados. It was supposed to have acitrón (candied cactus) too - it's traditional, but I didn't have time to get down to the supermercado to pick some up. I've also made them with pork, but the beef seems to hold up a bit better and is more assertive where pork tends to blend in with the other flavors.

The white sauce is crème fraîche, goat cheese, toasted almonds, sesame and pumpkin seeds - and a bit more Calvados. The whole thing is topped with pomegranite seeds and fresh flat leaf parsley.

Except for the switch between walnuts and my mix, this is a traditional Mexican dish, a variation on chiles rellenos from Puebla. There's some controversy about whether the stuffed chilis should be fried in egg batter like regular chiles rellenos or not. Obviously, I'm on the side of "not". I think the sauce is rich enough not to need the batter, and there's no tomato sauce for it to soak up as there is with normal chiles rellenos.

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