Authentic Chiles en Nogada (Stuffed Peppers in Walnut Sauce)

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Stuffed Poblano Peppers in Walnut Sauce, or chiles en nogada is a traditional Mexican dish that perfectly marries a variety of satisfying flavors and textures. My family has been preparing this authentic Mexican recipe for over 70 years and today, I'm sharing it with you. 

A stuffed Poblano Pepper on a white plate covered with walnut sauce and pomegranate seeds and garnished with fresh parsley.

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I feel so proud of my family recipe that I made it on the fifth episode of my TV show, PBS' The Great American Recipe, and is featured on the cookbook's cover.

What are Chiles en Nogada?

Chiles en Nogada is an iconic dish in Mexican cuisine. This festive dish incorporates the three colors of the Mexican flag – green, white, and red. The green from the poblano pepper, the white from the creamy walnut sauce, and the red from the gorgeous pomegranate seeds that garnish the dish. 

The green poblanos are roasted, peeled, and stuffed with a very special picadillo, which is a mixture of meats, fresh and dry fruits, nuts, and spices—then bathed in the rich walnut cream sauce.

According to the legend, a group of Augustinian nuns from the Santa Monica convent in the Mexican State of Puebla gathered seasonal ingredients to create a celebratory dish to honor Agustín de Iturbide, one of the leaders of the Mexican War of Independence.

Since then, it's been considered one of Mexico’s most patriotic dishes. It’s traditionally served during Mexican Independence Day in September, but it’s also popular during Christmas because of its colors. 

It requires a little bit of time to prepare, but the final dish is well worth it, a treat you don’t want to miss.

RELATED POST: Turkey Stuffed Chile Ancho

A stuffed poblano pepper in walnut sauce (chile en nogada) covered with pomegranate seeds and parsley

Ingredients and Variations

Fresh poblanos – (sometimes called pasilla peppers in the United States) are big in flavor and mildly spicy.

Meats – there are many different recipes for the filling, but mine includes ground beef, bacon, and ham. However, you can add ground pork as well

Fruit – fresh apples and peaches are my favorites. Other recipes call for pears and plantains. Also, dry fruits like golden raisins or black raisins. 

Nuts – almonds, pecans and walnuts. Pine nuts are also a good option.  

Cream – crema Mexicana is mild and slightly sweet and goes so well with the walnuts in the nogada sauce. Variations: sour cream, cream cheese, or goat cheese. 

Spices – cinnamon, salt, and bay leaves.

Parsley leaves and pomegranate seeds for garnish.

Meat stuffing for Poblano Peppers in Walnut Sauce

In some parts of Mexico, families cover the chiles poblanos in an egg batter, then fry them, just like the traditional chiles rellenos dish we all know so well. My family skips this step. 

As you can see, this combination of flavors offers a perfect balance of sweet and savory, soft and crunchy. It's heavenly!

RELATED POST: Cheese Stuffed Jalapeño Peppers

If you make your own stuffed poblano peppers in walnut sauce be sure to snap a photo and share it with us on social media using the #mamalatinatips hashtag. I’d love to see it and have the chance to share it as well.

Stuffed Poblano Peppers in Walnut Sauce

12 peppers

Prep time: 30 minutes – Start to finish: 1.5 hours

Ingredients

For the filling

  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 cup white onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup chopped ham
  • 1 green apple, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 peach, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 cup almonds, chopped (approx 2.5 oz or 70 gr)
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped (approx 1.8 oz or 50 gr)
  • 3/4 cup raisins (approx 3.5 oz or 100 gr)
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
Ground meat, apple, peach, ham, onion and nuts, ingredients for stuffed poblano peppers in walnut sauce (chiles en nogada)

For the Walnut Sauce

  • 1 cup crema Mexicana
  • 1 cup fresh walnuts* (approx 3.5 oz or 100 gr)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • A pinch of ground cinnamon
  • Water

*The traditional recipe calls for walnuts, however, you can use pecans instead. I've made them with both and they are equally delicious.

poblano peppers, pomegranate, parsley, walnut cream

For the Garnish

  • Parsley
  • 2 pomegranates, seeded

Equipment

Process

Take one poblano pepper and make a cut from the stem down. Carefully open it and remove the seeds. Repeat with the other 11 chiles.

Pepper seeds contain the heat of the chile; I would recommend using kitchen gloves to remove them or, as we do in our family, covering your hands with oil (I usually use vegetable oil instead of olive oil).

Seed them and wash them right after.

Bring the 3 cups water and one tablespoon salt to a boil. Place the poblano peppers in the large bowl. Pour in the hot, salty water and vinegar. Let them sit in the water for 2 to 3 minutes, no more.

Drain immediately and set them aside at room temperature. This process will help to reduce the spiciness and remove more seeds.

peeled poblano peppers in vinegar

Make the Meat Filling

Cook the bacon in the skillet or saucepan over high heat. When the bacon is crunchy, add the onion and garlic. Turn the temperature to medium-high heat and cook until onion and garlic are soft (approx 2 minutes).

Brown the beef with the onion mixture for 5 minutes. Add salt and bay leaves.

Add ham, almonds, pecans, raisins, apple, and peach. Mix well.

chopped apple, peach, nuts, and raisins in a pot

Cover, lower temperature to medium heat, and let the meat cook until all the flavors are mixed, 20-30 minutes approx. depending on your range and your pan. Stir once in a while.

Make the Walnut Sauce

In a blender or food processor, add cream, walnuts, salt and cinnamon. Mix until all ingredients are well blended. Add some water (1/8 cup of water at a time) if necessary.

The sauce has to be liquid enough so you can cover the chile easily yet thick enough so you cannot see the green skin of the chile under it.

Serve the Chiles

With a paper towel, pat the chiles dry and fill them with four tablespoons of the meat mixture each.

Spread an even layer of the walnut sauce on the plate. Place one stuffed pepper on top and cover with more sauce. 

Garnish with the pomegranate seeds and parsley.

Trio of chiles en nogada (stuffed poblano peppers in walnut sauce)

¡Buen Provecho!

Print the Stuffed Poblano Peppers in Walnut Sauce Recipe

chile en nogada en plato blanco
5 from 23 votes

Stuffed Poblano Peppers in Walnut Sauce

Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 12 peppers
Calories: 391kcal

Ingredients

  • 12 poblano peppers roasted and peeled (link to the process in notes)
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 cup white vinegar

For the filling

  • 4 slices bacon chopped
  • 1 cup white onion chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup chopped ham
  • 1 green apple peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 peach peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 cup almonds chopped (approx 2.5 oz or 70 gr)
  • 1/2 cup pecans chopped (approx 1.8 oz or 50 gr)
  • 3/4 cup raisins approx 3.5 oz or 100 gr
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt

For the Walnut Sauce

  • 1 cup crema Mexicana
  • 1 cup walnuts* approx 3.5 oz or 100 gr
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • A pinch ground cinnamon
  • Water
  • *The traditional recipe calls for walnuts however, you can use pecans instead. I've made them with both and they are equally delicious.

For the Garnish

  • 6 parsley sprigs
  • 2 pomegranates seeded

Utensilios

  • Saucepan
  • Cutting boards
  • Big glass bowl
  • Serving Platter

Instructions

  • Take one poblano pepper and make a cut from the stem down. Carefully open it and remove the seeds. Repeat with the other 11 chiles.
  • Pepper seeds contain the heat of the chile, I would recommend using kitchen gloves to remove them, or, as we do in our family, cover your hands with oil, seed the peppers and wash them right after.
  • Bring the 3 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of salt to a boil. Place the poblano peppers in a big glass bowl. Pour in the hot, salty water and vinegar. Let them sit in the water for 2 or 3 minutes, no more.
  • Drain immediately and reserve them. This process will help to reduce the spiciness and remove more seeds.

Make the filling

  • Cook the bacon in a large saucepan over high heat. When the bacon is crunchy, add the onion and garlic. Lower heat to medium and cook until onion and garlic are soft (approx 2 minutes).
  • Brown the beef with the onion mixture for 5 minutes. Add salt and bay leaves.
  • Incorporate the ham, almonds, pecans, raisins, apple, and peach. Mix well.
  • Cover, lower temperature to medium heat and let the meat cook until all the flavors are mixed, 20-30 minutes approx. depending on your range and your pan. Stir once in a while.

Make the Walnut Sauce

  • In a blender or food processor, add cream, walnuts, salt and cinnamon. Mix until all ingredients are well blended. If necessary add some water (1/8 cup of water at a time).
  • The sauce has to be liquid enough so you can cover the chile easily, yet thick enough so you cannot see the green skin of the chile under it.
  • With a paper towel pat the chiles dry, fill them with 4 tablespoons of the meat mixture each, and cover with the walnut sauce.
  • Garnish with the pomegranate and parsley.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Stuffed Poblano Peppers in Walnut Sauce
Amount per Serving
Calories
391
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
27
g
42
%
Saturated Fat
 
7
g
44
%
Cholesterol
 
50
mg
17
%
Sodium
 
1192
mg
52
%
Potassium
 
672
mg
19
%
Carbohydrates
 
31
g
10
%
Fiber
 
7
g
29
%
Sugar
 
15
g
17
%
Protein
 
15
g
30
%
Vitamin A
 
531
IU
11
%
Vitamin C
 
104
mg
126
%
Calcium
 
62
mg
6
%
Iron
 
2
mg
11
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: how to make chiles en nogada, recipes with poblano peppers

Notes

*The traditional recipe calls for walnuts, however, you can use pecans instead. I've made them with both and they are equally delicious.
If you wish to save time, you can make the filling the day before. Put it in the fridge overnight. You just need to warm it up before you fill the chiles.
Learn how to roast and peel poblano peppers here
A stuffed poblano pepper covered with walnut sauce, parsley and pomegranate seeds
Silvia Martinez
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