Chiles En Nogada
|Walnut halves and pieces||8 Ounce (2 Cup use very fresh walnuts)|
|Boneless pork butt||1 Pound, cut into 1 1/2" cubes|
|Garlic||3 Clove (15 gm), minced|
|Sweet white onion||1 Medium, diced|
|Fresh poblano chiles||8 Large|
|Vegetable oil||2 Tablespoon|
|Golden raisins||2 Tablespoon|
|Dried mango/Candied biznaga cactus or citron||2 1⁄2 Tablespoon, cut into 1/4 -inch dice|
|Pear||1 Small, cut into 1/4 - inch dice (peeled)|
|Jonathan apple/Mcintosh apple||1 Small, cut into 1/4 - inch dice (peeled)|
|Fresh peaches/Extra pears or apples||2 Medium, cut into 1/4 - inch dice (peeled)|
|Ripe tomato||1 Medium, roughly chopped (seeded For chiles and pork-and-fruit stuffing)|
|Dried marjoram||1 Teaspoon|
|Dried thyme||1⁄2 Teaspoon|
|Sea salt||1 1⁄4 Teaspoon|
|Slivered blanched almonds||1 3⁄4 Ounce (1/3 Cup For chiles and pork-and-fruit stuffing)|
|Ripe plantain||1 Medium, cut into 1/4 - inch dice (peeled For chiles and pork-and-fruit stuffing)|
|Milk||1 1⁄4 Cup (20 tbs) (For finishing the sauce)|
|Firm white bread slice||1 (crusts removed For finishing the sauce)|
|Sugar/3 packets of splenda||1 Tablespoon (For finishing the sauce)|
|Salt||1 Teaspoon (For finishing the sauce)|
|Dry sherry||1 Teaspoon (For finishing the sauce)|
|Cinnamon||1⁄4 Teaspoon (preferable freshly ground Mexican canela For finishing the sauce)|
|Heavy whipping cream/Mexican crema||1⁄2 Cup (8 tbs) (For finishing the sauce)|
|Pomegranate||1 (For garnish)|
|Italian flat leaf parsley sprigs||8 (For garnish)|
Peeling the walnuts is a pain but necessary for a pretty sauce. Drop the walnut pieces into a small pan of boiling water, immediately remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel, then peel off the brown skin. Use a tooth pick to help lift the skin out of the crevices.
Cooking and shredding the meat. Place the pork in a medium saucepan, cover with salted water, add the garlic and half of the onion. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, skim off any grayish foam that rises to the surface, partially cover and simmer over medium-low until the meat is thoroughly tender, about 1 3/4 hours. I have done this in a copper pan like carinitas I like it very much and you skip the browning step that way.
Let the meat cool in the broth, then remove it and shred it between your fingers. Reserve the broth.
Roasting the chiles. Place chiles directly over the gas flame gas grill. Roast, turning occasionally, until blistered and blackened on all sides but not soft, about 5 minutes. Peel the charred skin off the chiles, do not rinse as this removes some of the smokey flavour. Make a long slit in the side of each chile and carefully remove the seeds.
The stuffing. Before you start cooking, complete all the prep work - initial peeling, coring, chopping and so forth of the stuffing ingredients (a little oxidizing of the apples and pears won’t spoil the appearance of the dish.)
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high flame. When quite hot, add the remaining half of the onion and shredded pork in a thin layer and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain off any excess fat.
Stir in the raisins, candied fruit, pear, apple, peach, the tomato, herbs and cinnamon. Measure in 1/4 cup of the reserved broth, mix well, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the skillet and simmer until the apple and pear are tender (but not mushy) and the flavors are blended, about 10 minutes. Season with salt, usually a generous teaspoon.
While the meat mixture is simmering, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a medium-small skillet over medium heat. Add the almonds and fry, stirring nearly constantly, until they are a deep golden color, about 3 minutes; remove with a slotted spoon and cool. Add the diced plantain to the skillet and stir it frequently until nicely browned and sweet, 3 or 4 minutes. Add to the meat mixture along with the almonds. Remove the filling from the heat and let cool uncovered.
Stuffing the chiles. Stuff the chiles with cooled filling, packing it in well and re-forming them in their original shape. Place on a baking sheet and cover with foil.
Completing the sauce. Within a couple of hours of serving, prepare the sauce. Put the peeled walnuts into a blender jar along with 1 cup of milk, the bread, sugar, salt, sherry and ground cinnamon. Blend until a drop of the puree no longer feels gritty when rubbed between your fingers (this will be more successful with the mature-green walnuts); if the mixture should clog in the machine or if only the mixture at the bottom is moving through the blades, add more milk a little at a time, until all the mixture is moving through the blades again. Finally add the cream and blend for just a few seconds; add additional milk if necessary to achieve a medium consistency. Taste for salt and sugar; the sauce should have a VERY slight sweet edge with just enough salt to bring up the flavor of the walnuts. Set aside at room temperature.
Finishing the dish. Half an hour before serving, place the chiles in a 250-degree oven to heat through. Break the pomegranate apart, pick out all the seeds and place them in a small dish.
When you are ready to serve, add a little mike or cream to the sauce if it is thicker than a medium-consistency custard sauce. Place 1 or 2 chiles (depending on how you have chosen to serve them) on each warm dinner plate. Spoon the room-temperature sauce over the warm chiles, generously covering them half away from the stem. Sprinkle the sauce generously with the pomegranate seeds, garnish with the parsley, and serve at once.
This is a 2 glasses of wine recipe as it is time consuming.
Timing and advance preparation: Start a day or so ahead, peeling the walnuts (allow 1 1/2 to 2 hours); they will keep for a couple days in the refrigerator tightly wrapped. Finishing the dish will require a little less than 2 hours. The chiles may be prepared and the stuffing made a couple of days in advance; store them separately, covered and refrigerated. Complete Steps 5 through 7 shortly before serving; the sauce can gray if prepared too far ahead.