It is no secret my love of Chiles en Nogada. This is now my third iteration of the recipe here on the blog. The others can be found here and here. This classic dish of poblano peppers stuffed with a savory meat filling of ground pork, beef, apples, and a touch of cinnamon covered in walnut sauce and pomegranate seeds is the traditional meal on Mexican Independence Day.
It is a beautiful dish complete in its many layers of texture and color but it is also a commitment and one I cannot expect anyone to fulfill with regularity, which is how often I would like to eat it.
I replaced the poblano peppers (but still kept them around for flavor) and stuffed the garlic-laden filling into a warm corn tortilla instead. The traditional recipe has you wrap the stuffed peppers in a cloud of egg whites before frying them and this we will miss, but I promise these Chiles en Nogada tacos are still the stuff of dreams.
The filling is the essence of fall with sautéed apples, toasted sesame seeds, and a touch of cinnamon and then spooned over the top is the traditional creamy white walnut sauce made by soaking walnuts in warm milk until they are very soft and then blending them smooth with sour cream and salt.
Such a delicious combination should not be overlooked. Especially when finished with a sprinkling of crunchy, tart pomegranate seeds (I don’t care that they’re really called arils, I will never say that).
For the Walnut Sauce:
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
For the Filling:
- 3 poblano chiles
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 large apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
- 1/2 pound ground beef (I like to use the 80%, not lean)
- 1/2 pound ground pork
- 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 large tomato, cored and chopped
For the Tacos:
- Warm corn tortillas
- white sesame seeds
- pomegranate seeds
- cilantro leaves
- sliced scallions or spring onions
For the Sauce:
- Place walnuts in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil. Let gently boil for 5 minutes and drain.
- Return walnuts to the pan and add milk. Bring to a simmer then cover and remove from heat. Let sit 30 minutes to soften.
- Transfer milk and nuts to a blender. Add sour cream and salt and blend on high until smooth. Taste and add more salt if needed. Transfer to a serving dish and set aside or cover and refrigerate. The sauce can be made up to 3 days in advance.
For the Filling:
- Heat broiler to high and arrange a rack about 3 inches from the heat source. Place chiles on a baking sheet and place under the broiler.
- Cook, turning occasionally for 4-5 minutes or until charred on all sides. Place chiles in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap until cool enough to handle.
- Remove charred skin, core, and seeds and chop. If you have a gas stove, you can also char them over the flame of the gas stove, turning frequently until they are charred and blistered on all sides.
- Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large frying pan. Add onions, garlic, and apples and season with salt and pepper. Cook until veggies are soft, about 5-6 minutes.
- Add ground meats and cook, breaking up with the back of a spoon until browned, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add sesame seeds and cinnamon and toast 1 minute. Add tomatoes and cook until tomatoes have brown down and mixture is thick, about 4 minutes more. Stir in poblanos. Taste and season with more salt if needed. Cover and keep warm.
- Spoon meat filling into warm tortillas, drizzle walnut sauce on top, and sprinkle with more sesame seeds, pomegranate seeds, cilantro leaves, and sliced scallions. Dig in!
More on the subject of tacos
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