Sunday, September 16, 2012

Mexico's Independence Recipe

Mexican Independence Day with Authentic Mexican Food Recipes

In Mexico, September 16th is celebrated as the date of Mexico's Independence from Spain.

Late in the eighteenth century, the middle and upper classes in Mexico began to question the structure of their society. Influenced by the revolutions in the United States and France, they too decided they wanted freedom of speech, a representative government, and a restriction of the over bearing power of the Catholic Church. They determined that the only way to reform their society would be to gain independence from the Spanish, whom they felt had oppressed them for over 300 years. (Cinco de Mayo or May 5th, is when Mexico won a battle against the French in the city of Puebla, Mexico in 1862.)

In late hours of September 15, 1810, Padre Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a Catholic priest in the town of Dolores, Guanajuato, led his people in rebellion against the Spanish. He rang the church bells, calling the Indians and Mestizos (those of mixed Spanish and Indian blood) to mass. He exhorted them to rebel against the Spaniards with cries of, "¡Viva México!" "¡Viva la independencia! ("Long live Mexico! Long live our independence!"), which is the now-famous "Grito de Dolores," or cry of Dolores. Hidalgo then ordered the arrest of the town's Spaniard population. With clubs, slings, axes, knives, machetes and intense hatred, the Indians took up his challenge.

The people's army marched to Mexico City, fighting all the way. When they finally reached the capital, they hesitated, and many soldiers deserted. Before the year was over, Father Hidalgo was captured and executed. His army fought on, however, and his "Grito de Dolores" became the battle cry of the war. The bloody fighting raged on until 1821, when Mexico finally succeeded in winning its independence from Spain.

Every year, on September 15th, the Zócalo, or main square in Mexico City is decorated with flags, flowers and lights of green, white, and red. People sell confetti, whistles, horns, paper-machie helmets, and toys in the colors of green, white and red. Street vendors sell all their favorite foods. At 11:00 p.m. the crowd becomes silent, as the president of Mexico steps out on the palace balcony, and rings the historic bell that Father Hidalgo rang to call the people. Then the president gives the Grito de Dolores. He shouts "¡Viva Mexico!" and "¡Viva la independencia!" and the crowd roars the words back at him. Fiestas celebrating independence take place that night and the next day-throughout Mexico. The air is filled with confetti and streamers. The 16th is a fiesta day-full of music, rodeos, parades, more fireworks and plenty of dancing, food and drink.

Besides your well know traditional mexican dishes such as tamales, pozole, menudo, birria and more. The dish that represents Mexico's independence is Chiles en Nogada. The chile en nogada is a traditional Mexican dish made with poblano chiles stuffed with a mixture of meat and dried fruits, covered in walnut sauce, and garnished with pomegranate seeds and parsley. It is said that this dish was invented in the 1800s by nuns in Puebla. Here is the recipe:

A wonderful dish consisting of a green chile, white walnut sauce and red pomegranate- the colors of the Mexican flag. This dish is a Mexican Independence day favorite.

Chiles en Nogada (Chilies in Walnut Sauce):


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 
  • 1 onion, diced 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1/2 pound ground pork 
  • 1/2 pound ground sirloin beef 
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • 1 cinnamon stick 
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1/3 cup dried apples, chopped 
  • 1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped 
  • 3/4 cup acitron, or sweetened dried pineapple, chopped 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 cups walnuts, peeled* see Cook's Note
  • 2 1/2 cups Mexican crema 
  • 4 ounces goat cheese, at room temperature 
  • Salt
  1. In a medium heavy skillet, heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes. 
  2. Add the pork, ground sirloin, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, salt and pepper and cook at medium heat until meat loses its pink color and is cooked through, about 7 minutes. 
  3. Add the dried apples, apricots, and sweetened pineapple and remove from the heat. 
  4. Add the ground cinnamon and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Set aside.
  5. Remove the cinnamon stick and bay leaf and discard.
 Sauce: Put the walnuts, Mexican crema and goat cheese in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth and silky, about 2 minutes. Sauce should coat the back of a spoon. (If the sauce is too thin, add more walnuts and puree. If too thick, add more cream.) Season with salt, to taste.
  1. Cut a lengthwise slit into each chile and carefully cut out seeds with kitchen shears, leaving the stem intact. (For less spice, carefully remove the veins.)
  2. Spoon the filling into the chiles, then close, slightly overlapping the sides of the openings. Transfer the stuffed chiles, seam sides up, to plates and pour about 1/3 cup the walnut sauce over each chile, leaving some of the chile visible. Sprinkle with parsley leaves and pomegranate seeds. Serve warm or at room temperature.

*Cook's Note: To peel the walnuts: Cook in boiling water for 1 minute and drain. When cool enough to handle, use a paring knife to remove the skins. Peeling the walnuts before adding them to the sauce will make a smoother, whiter sauce. Unpeeled walnuts can be used, but the texture will be a little grainy and slightly bitter.

If this is to much information for you. We recommend you to check out "The Mija Chronicles" for a step by step guide in making Chiles en Nogada.

recipe via: mexican made easy & image via: mija chronicles

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