Chiles en Nogada: A Symbol of Mexican Culture and Haute Cuisine

In Culture by Belen Molina

What dish is one of the finest and most representative dishes of Mexican haute cuisine, a dish whose origin dates back to the period of Mexican Independence, and whose colors symbolize the Mexican flag? We are talking about the traditional chiles en nogada.

On September 27, 1821, the Ejercito Trigarante or Army of the Three Guarantees –which was led by Mexican army General Agustín de Iturbide – took control of Mexico City, decisively gaining independence for Mexico. The following day, the Declaration of Independence of the Mexican Empire was signed at the National Palace. Iturbide was a hero, and would later become Mexico’s first Constitutional Emperor.

According to some historians, the Augustinian nuns of the convent of Santa Mónica in Puebla, decided to create a very special dish to honor and celebrate General Iturbide’s triumph; and so this is how the famous chiles en nogada dish was born.

The main ingredient in this dish is the chile poblano, which are grilled, peeled, seeded, and de-veined. Then, the chiles are filled with a delicious picadillo, which is made up of cooked ground beef or pork, garlic, onion, tomato, seasonal fruits, nuts, and spices. Once the chiles are filled with the meat mixture, they are dredged in flour, before being dipped into an egg batter, and then fried. Once fried, the chiles are placed on a plate and are covered in a creamy walnut-based white sauce. To top it off, the chiles are garnished with red pomegranate seeds and fresh chopped parsley. The resulting dish is an exquisite symbol of Mexican culture – colorful, flavorful, and beautiful.

El Cardenal
El Cardenal

Where to Go: If you happen to be in Mexico City, then we highly recommend that you head on over to El Cardenal. Founded in 1969, this traditional Mexican restaurant is famous for its chiles en nogada and a favorite amongst businessmen and politicians. Buen provecho!

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