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