Diary of a Foodie

Chiles en Nogada con Salsa de Chocolate (Stuffed Poblanos with Nut Sauce and Chocolate-Pomegranate Molasses Drizzle)

Diary of a Foodie: Season Three: Chile Peppers: Playing with Fire

  • Active Time:2 1/2 hr
  • Start to Finish:3 hr
April 2009
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For chiles

  • 8 large fresh poblano chiles (6 to 7 inches long and 2 1/2 to 3 inches wide; see cooks’ note, below)

For filling

  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 (1/2-inch) piece cinnamon stick (preferably Mexican/Ceylon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 medium white onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped (2 Tbsp)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped pimento-stuffed green olives
  • 1 tablespoon drained capers, chopped if large
  • 1 tablespoon raisins
  • 1 Gala apple, peeled and diced (1/4 inch)
  • 1 Bosc pear, peeled and diced (1/4 inch)
  • 1 large apricot or small peach, peeled and diced (1/4 inch)
  • 1 banana, peeled and diced (1/4 inch)
  • 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped candied ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely chopped thyme or pinch of dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon marjoram leaves or 1/2 tsp dried marjoram or oregano
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken, pork, or beef
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup chicken stock or reduced-sodium chicken broth

For nut sauce

  • 1 cup blanched almonds (5 oz)
  • 1 cup Mexican crema or crème fraîche
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons cream Sherry, or to taste

For chocolate-pomegranate molasses drizzle

  • 1 1/2 oz Mexican chocolate such as Ibarra
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
  • Equipment:

    an electric coffee/spice grinder
  • Garnish:

    pomegranate seeds

Roast and peel chiles:

  • Roast chiles on their sides on racks of gas burners on high (or see cooks’ note, below), turning with tongs, until blackened all over, 4 to 6 minutes. Immediately transfer to a bowl and let stand, covered tightly, 20 minutes. Carefully peel or rub off skins from chiles, leaving stems attached and chiles intact. Slit chiles lengthwise on 1 side with kitchen shears, then carefully cut out seed pod (including attached ribs) without tearing chile. Wipe off any seeds with a paper towel.

Make filling while chiles are standing:

  • Heat a small dry skillet over medium heat. Toast pine nuts, stirring frequently, until golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board to cool, then coarsely chop.
  • Toast cinnamon stick and peppercorns, stirring frequently, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Grind to a powder in grinder.
  • Cut a shallow X in bottom of tomato. Blanch in a saucepan of boiling water 30 seconds, then transfer to an ice bath to stop cooking. Peel and seed tomato, then coarsely chop.
  • Cook onion in oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium, then add garlic and tomato and cook, stirring, until tomatoes begin to break down, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in olives, capers, raisins, pine nuts, fruit, ginger, thyme, marjoram, ground cinnamon and peppercorns, and 1 tsp salt and cook, stirring, until fruit is slightly softened, about 10 minutes (add 1/4 to 1/2 cup water if mixture is dry). Remove from heat and stir in chicken, enough stock to moisten filling, and salt to taste. Cool completely.

Make nut sauce:

  • Finely grind almonds in a blender, then transfer to a bowl and stir in crema and heavy cream. Stir in Sherry and 1/2 tsp salt.

Make chocolate-pomegranate molasses drizzle:

  • Grind chocolate in grinder. Heat pomegranate molasses in a small heavy saucepan over low heat to loosen, then add chocolate and stir until melted. Season with a pinch of salt.

Assemble chiles:

  • Fill each chile with about 1/2 cup filling and close chile. Transfer, seam side down, to a platter or plates.
  • Spoon nut sauce over chiles and drizzle chocolate-pomegranate molasses on platter or plates. Serve at room temperature.
Cooks’ notes:
  • Look for the straightest large chiles you can find to make charring, peeling, and stuffing easier. If you can’t find large poblanos, use 2 smaller ones per person.
  • If you don’t have a gas stove, rub outsides of peppers with oil, then put peppers in a 4-sided sheet pan and broil 4 to 5 inches from heat, turning occasionally, until well charred.
  • Chiles can be roasted, peeled, and seeded 1 day ahead. Bring to room temperature before stuffing.
  • Chiles can be stuffed 2 hours ahead and kept at room temperature, or 1 day ahead and chilled. Bring to room temperature before serving or gently heat, covered, in a 275ºF oven for 30 minutes to warm slightly. Add sauces just before serving.
  • Nut sauce can be made 1 day ahead and chilled. Bring to room temperature before serving.
  • Chocolate-pomegranate molasses drizzle can be made 1 day ahead and kept at room temperature. Reheat briefly in microwave to loosen before drizzling if necessary.
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