This Saturday, September 16th, Mexicans everywhere will be celebrating their independence. It’s Mexican Independence Day! Also known as El Grito, the cry heard across Mexico that triggered the Mexican war of independence against the Spanish in 1810.
A traditional meal eaten during this holiday is Chiles en Nogada a dish representing the Mexican flag with dark green poblano chiles smothered in creamy white walnut sauce and topped with the sweet sprinkling crunch of pomegranate seeds.
This is a gorgeous, complex dish with flavors of cinnamon, and rich meat, chiles, and nuts. A beautiful representation of what true Mexican cuisine is and something you should make and try if not this weekend, then sometime this fall while pomegranates and apples are in season.
A much easier way to get a taste for what this dish represents is to make this simple grilled cheese sandwich with the flavors of chiles, walnuts, pomegranates, and cream all still there but in a much easier form to make. If you don’t have the time to dedicate to real chiles en nogada this grilled cheese will fit the bill.
This lazy lady’s chiles consist of country walnut bread, stuffed with charred poblano chiles, aged white cheddar cheese, and a drizzling of pomegranate molasses. This tangy, kinda sweet Middle Eastern sauce is never used in Mexican cooking but the spirit of the tart pop of pomegranates in the traditional dish is there. I like to dip a crispy edge of the sandwich in a bit more molasses. Some people do ketchup, I don’t know.
- 1 poblano chile
- 4 tablespoons softened butter
- 4 slices walnut bread
- 1 cup grated sharp white cheddar
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses, plus more for dipping
- Char poblano chile by laying over an open flame on your gas stove or placing under the broiler. Turn frequently until all sides are blackened and blistered, about 10-12 minutes. Transfer to a plate and cover with plastic wrap until cool enough to handle. Peel off charred skin and remove stem and seeds. Thinly slice.
- Butter one side of each slice of bread. Divide cheese and chiles between the interiors of two slices of bread. Drizzle each sandwich with pomegranate molasses and top with remaining two slices of bread; butter side out.
- Heat a large cast iron or heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium heat. Place sandwiches, butter side down in the frying pan. Once cheese starts to melt and the bottom is golden brown, flip and grill until other side is golden and cheese is fully melted. Cut in half and serve immediately with a little more pomegranate molasses for dipping, if desired.
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