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A Holiday Dish from South of the Border

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Photo by Paula Murphy
Prepping Chiles en Nogado. Photo by Paula Murphy

The dish Chiles en Nogada was developed by nuns in Pueblo, Mexico in the 1820’s for a dinner celebrating the end of Spanish rule. To commemorate the occasion, the dish was developed using red, white and green ingredients, all of the colors included in the newly designed Mexican flag. In the dish, green roasted Poblano peppers are stuffed with a filling made from pork, fruit and nuts, and then fried. The fried peppers are topped with a rich, white walnut sauce and sprinkled with red pomegranate seeds. In Mexico, it is traditionally served each year in late summer and early fall during the height of pomegranate season and to mark the September 17 Mexican Independence Day. In the states, however pomegranates are considered to be more of a winter holiday food and so it is fitting that the dish is served around Christmas by highly acclaimed Mexico-born and now Houston-based restauranteur and chef Hugo Ortega.

Chef Ortega first learned to cook from his mother and grandma in Mexico City and he brings that authentic Mexican cooking to his Texas restaurants. The Chiles en Nogada is a challenging dish for a week night because they take time to prepare but are an impressive dish to wow the guests at your holiday party table.

Chiles en Nogada
from Chef Hugo Ortega of Hugo’s, Caracol and Backstreet Cafe in Houston, Texas

If you want to sample some of Chef’s Ortega’s food yourself, he will be one of our featured chefs at the Food Film Festival in South Walton, FL this Spring! Get your tickets now.