As we begin the week that leads into Mexico’s Independence Day celebrations, it is the perfect time to talk about poblano peppers. They are, after all, the key ingredient in chiles en nogada which by all accounts is one of the most widely recognized dishes in all of Mexico. This popular recipe combines the three colors of Mexico: green, white and red. I am not going share a recipe for this dish as is is easy to find online but instead, we can talk a bit more about poblanos.
First, the facts, the poblano chile originated in the area surrounding the state of Puebla and similar to all regions of Mexico, the people from this region are referred to as ‘Poblanos’. The peppers are used in chile relleno and are also the key spice ingredient in mole poblano. Although the heat index is low around 1000 to 1500 on the Scoville index, the rich, earthy and well balanced flavor of these chiles is what makes them so attractive. Poblanos are also in the top four of all peppers grown in the country, along with jalapeno, serrano, and bell peppers.
Cooking with these peppers is fantastic, as the options are almost limitless for those recipes where you want to add a little spiciness. If you have a chili recipe that you love but just want to mix it up a bit, simply deseed and chop one of these peppers up and add it at the same time you are cooking your onions. I love to use these in my homemade rainy day salsas. Roasting a pan of tomatoes, garlic, onion poblanos and then blending with some fresh cilantro and lime juice gives me some pre-made salsa I can freeze and then take out when guests are popping over.
I would delve into making mole’s with these, but frankly, I would need a few pages of instructions, and the making of a real mole is a very long and slow process. Perhaps I will ask my friends here in town who make mole from scratch to stop by and we can attempt to communicate how to do this. One of the real misunderstandings about Mexico and its cuisine is that food is fast and straightforward. There is some of this; the reality is though that many times the end product of that perfect taco or carne en su jugo ( meat cooked in its own juice) is that it took hours to marinate, and then cook.
Let me know if you would like more recipes included in future articles, I am happy to provide them, but my real goal is to encourage you to pick up those foods that you are less familiar with and give them a try. Living in Mexico gets better the more Spanish you speak, and the more you start to use the local ingredients in your day to day cooking, as well as the dishes you make for company!
For now, I wish you all the very best in your Independence Day celebrations, get out and enjoy our beautiful city this week!
Until next time, ¡Buen provecho!