Kicking off chiles en nogada season in Puebla

chile en nogada

A chile en nogada from Mesón Sacristía in Puebla

The 2012 chiles en nogada season officially started last weekend in Puebla. I was lucky enough to visit the city just beforehand and score a chiles en nogada cooking class with Alonso Hernández, chef at Mesón Sacristía, one of the best restaurants in the city.

I’ve explained the chile en nogada process before, but cooking this dish at home — or anywhere — is painstaking. First you have to char, peel and seed the chiles. Then you have to chop a long list of sweet and savory ingredients, including tomatoes, onion, apples, pears and peaches. You have to peel walnuts BY HAND, because no walnut-peeling device has been invented yet.

I actually think you gotta feel a little like the nuns, or at least remember them, when you’re putting this all together. (The nuns of Puebla’s Santa Mónica Convent invented the dish in 1821.)

This chile is the equivalent of a baroque altarpiece in a church.

The chopped peaches, apples and pears, ready to go into the pot.

Gorgeous chopped tomatoes

Everything in the pot together, before it's spooned into the chile

Chef Alonso took us through the chopping and the preparing of the fluffy egg batter, called the capeado. Then, when it was time to fry the chiles, he placed one in the eggy cloud and brushed each side lovingly.

When it was our turn to do the same, he told us: “Slowly. Con calma.”

After the egg-dip, into the frying pan it went. There we bathed the chile just as lovingly with oil. It puffed up and sizzled.

Bathing the egg-dipped chile en nogada with oil

My first chile en nogada of the 2012 season:

Pouring walnut sauce on the chile en nogada

The finished chile en nogada

Where do you plan to eat a chile en nogada this year?

More on chiles en nogada and Mexican convent cooking:
Four Chiles, One Day: A marathon chile-en nogada tasting in Mexico City
How to make a proper chile en nogada
Where to eat chiles en nogada in Puebla
Desserts of the Spanish convents in Mexico

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6 Responses to “Kicking off chiles en nogada season in Puebla”
  1. Girelle

    I’m seriously considering doing a NYC Chiles en Nogada tour with friends as you did last year. Might help dispell the myth that NYC doesn’t have good Mexican food. I must wait till September when our poblanos are big enough for nogada.

    • Lesley

      Girelle, if you do it, let me know — would love to see pics and hear where you went.

  2. Fred

    @Girelle. Well compared to most of the southwest I don’t imagine NYC’s Mexican food is that good.

  3. “equivalent of a baroque altarpiece in a church”… nicely said. chile is my weakness. p.s. like your recipe :)

  4. Norma-Platanos, Mangoes and Me!

    How I love Mexican food, but lately it hates me. Doctor said no more heat….that chile is calling mi nombre…

    • Lesley

      Norma, I’m right there with you. My doctor said the same thing. I’ve decided that instead of spooning salsa onto every bite of my taco, I’m just going to drizzle a little bit, a few gotitas. We’ll see if that works.

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