Above: the superb Chile en Nogada at Restaurante El Balcón, at 7 Sur #1301 in Puebla’s central historic district.
Summers in southern Mexico bring not only the lush, green monsoon season. Each year from late July to mid-September, the long-awaited signature dish of Puebla –the famous Chile en Nogada– makes its triumphant return. This brilliant combination of sweet and savory is comprised of a large Poblano chile that is battered and stuffed with a unique “picadillo” combination of meats, fruits, and nuts. Deep-fried and sometimes roasted, it is then generously dressed with a rich sauce of pureed walnuts, cream, and sherry. The whole presentation is not complete without a big handful of pomegranate seeds and a sprig of parsley, giving it the three colors (white walnut sauce, green chile, and red seeds) of the Mexican flag.
The Chile en Nogada has been associated with the independence of Mexico since it was prepared for the first time to entertain the emperor Agustín de Iturbide when he came to the city after his naming as Agustín I. It is believed to have been invented by Monjas Clarisas, although some think they were the Madres Contemplativas Agustinas of the convent of Santa Monica, Puebla.
Above: Arquetopia Artists-in-Residence Jocelyn Salaz (USA) and Nancy Sausser (USA) enjoying their first Chiles en Nogada, at Restaurante El Balcón, at 7 Sur #1301 in Puebla’s central historic district.