5tablespoonsshredded or chopped piloncillo or brown sugar
For the meat:
2poundspork shoulder butt, leg or ribs, or a combination of meats such as veal and beef, deboned and cut into chunks
1carrot, peeled, cut into two pieces
1/4teaspoondried thyme or a couple fresh thyme sprigs
1teaspoonkosher or coarse sea salt
For the filling:
1garlic clove, finely chopped
1/4cupwhite onion, chopped
1poundripe tomatoes, pureed, or about 2 cups tomato puree
All the cooked meat, finely chopped
2cupsmeat cooking broth
1teaspoonkosher or coarse sea salt
3ouncesacitron or candied pineapple, chopped
1cupripe plantain, peeled and diced, about 1 1/4
1diced Bartlett pear, about 1 1/4 cup
1diced Golden Delicious apple, about 1 1/4 cup
1large yellow peach, mature but firm, diced, about 1 1/4 cup
Pinch of cumin
Pinch of ground cloves or 4 to 5 whole cloves, seeds smashed and stems discarded
1ceylon or true cinnamon stick
1/4cupsilvered almonds, lightly toasted
1/4cuppinenuts, lightly toasted
1/4cupchopped manzanilla olives
For walnut or pecan sauce:
1 1/2cupfreshly peeled walnuts, if not fresh DON'T use packaged, use pecans
2 1/2cupsheavy cream
1/2cupmilk, more or less to taste
1/4cupconfectioners' sugar, or more to taste
Pinchkosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste
Pinch of ground white pepper
1tablespoonDry Sherry, or more to taste
For the garnishes:
1/4chopped parsley, optional
To prepare the chiles:
Rinse and char chiles. To char, you can either place them on a baking sheet or pan under the broiler, directly on the grill, hot comal or directly on an open fire flame. In any case, turn every 2 to 3 minutes until they are charred and blistered but not burnt. Place them, while very hot, in a plastic bag. Close bag tightly and cover with a kitchen towel. Let them sweat for 10 to 20 minutes.
Take them out one by one, and peel off the skin in the sink. As you do so, lightly rinse the chile with water. With a knife, make a slit down one side to take out and discard the seeds and membrane. Treat the flesh carefully so it will not tear and keep the stem on. Place them in a container and cover with the water previously simmered with the piloncillo or sugar until well diluted, anywhere from 2 to 24 hours. If it is more than 2 hours, place them in the refrigerator, covered once they have cooled down. Drain and either use or store in the refrigerator. You can prepare them 4 to 5 days ahead up to this point.
To prepare the filling:
Place the meat already cut into 3 to 4" chunks on the bottom of a cooking pot along with the garlic cloves, 1/4 white onion, carrot, bay leaves, thyme, peppercorns and a teaspoon of salt. Cover with water and place over medium high heat. Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until meat is cooked through. Turn off the heat and let the meat and broth cool down. remove the meat with a slotted spoon and chop it finely, reserve. Strain the broth into a container, reserve.
Heat the olive oil in a large deep saute pan over medium high heat. Add the garlic clove and saute for a minute or until it starts becoming fragrant, but don't let it brown. Add the onion and saute for a couple more minutes, until it becomes translucent and soft and starts gaining some color. Pour in the tomato puree and let it season, stirring often, for about 5 to 7 minutes, until it has deepened its color, thickened its consistency and lost its raw flavor.
Incorporate the chopped meat, 2 cups of cooking broth, a teaspoon of salt, mix it all together and let it cook 3 to 4 minutes. Add the chopped acitron, mix with the meat and let it cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Incorporate the chopped plantain, pear, apple, and peach and gently mix it all together, let it cook for a couple minutes. Sprinkle the cumin and ground cloves, making sure you mix those spices well. Place a cinnamon stick in the middle of the pan, cover with a lid, lower the heat to medium and let it cook for about 8 to 10 minutes.
Uncover, add the raisins, almonds, pine nuts, green olives, mix well and taste for salt. Add more if need be. Turn off the heat. You can make the filling up to 2 days in advance, cool, cover and refrigerate.
To prepare the sauce:
Place all ingredients except the Sherry in the blender and puree until smooth. You can make the sauce a couple days in advance, but bring it to out room temperature before using. Mix the Sherry into the sauce up to 2 hours before serving. Add more to taste, but it shouldn't have a strong alcohol flavor. If it thickened while in the refrigerator, lighten it up with some milk.
Finally!!!! To assemble Chiles en Nogada: Place the chiles in a serving platter. Stuff each one with about 1/2 cup filling. Close as best you can. Generously spoon walnut or pecan sauce on top to cover chiles entirely and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and chopped parsley on top.
NOTE: Some cooks batter and fry the chiles before adding the sauce. But that version is much heavier and has become less and less popular over time.