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Hibiscus-Stuffed Chiles with Walnut Sauce

Photo: Jennifer Causey
Active time 35 mins
Total time 1 hr, 25 mins
Yield

Serves 8

Traditional chiles en nogada use a pork filling, but hibiscus flowers--typically used in a tart drink--make a surprisingly hearty filling. You can find them at Mexican grocers and specialty stores like Trader Joe's. Mexican cooks often use fresh green walnuts, briefly available in autumn, which have a creamier texture and less bitterness; standard walnuts work well, too. We add a touch of sugar to the sauce here to balance the slight bitterness of the nuts.

Ingredients

Sauce:

  • 1 1/4 cups roasted unsalted walnut halves
  • 3 ounces goat cheese or fresh ricotta cheese (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dry sherry
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp. nonfat milk, divided

Chiles:

  • 8 large poblano chiles
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup dried hibiscus flowers (also known as Jamaica), rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped white onion
  • 1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano leaves, crumbled
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups chopped tomato
  • 2 cups grated peeled jicama
  • 1/2 cup grated peeled carrot
  • 1 tablespoon chopped canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Dash of ground cinnamon
  • 3 1/2 cups cooked long-grain white rice, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate arils

Nutrition Information

  • calories 363
  • fat 16.1 g
  • satfat 3 g
  • monofat 3.1 g
  • polyfat 9 g
  • protein 10 g
  • carbohydrate 47 g
  • fiber 6 g
  • cholesterol 5 mg
  • iron 2 mg
  • sodium 333 mg
  • calcium 110 mg
  • sugars 13 g
  • Est. Added Sugars 5 g

How to Make It

  1. To make sauce, place walnuts in a bowl; cover with boiling water. Let walnuts soak 15 minutes. Drain, and rub walnuts with a clean dish towel to remove as much walnut skin as possible. Discard skins.

  2. Place walnuts, cheese, vinegar, sherry, sugar, salt, and 1/3 cup milk in a blender; process until smooth. (Sauce will be very thick, more scoopable than pourable.) Stir in remaining milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, to thin sauce, if desired.

  3. To make chiles, preheat broiler to high with oven rack 6 inches from heat. Place chiles on a baking sheet; coat chiles with cooking spray. Broil for 10 minutes or until blistered on all sides, but not completely charred, turning after 5 minutes. Place blistered chiles in a bowl; cover tightly with plastic wrap. Reduce oven to 400°F.

  4. Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil over high. Add hibiscus flowers; remove from heat. Let stand 30 minutes. Drain flowers well; coarsely chop.

  5. Heat oil in a large skillet over high. Add onion; sauté 2 minutes or until lightly browned. Reduce heat to medium-high. Add oregano and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Increase heat to high; stir in tomato, jicama, carrot, chipotle, salt, and cinnamon. Bring to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is absorbed, about 2 minutes. Place tomato mixture in a large bowl; cool 10 minutes. Stir in chopped hibiscus and rice. Cool to room temperature.

  6. Remove chiles from bowl. Peel; discard skins. Using scissors, cut a slit lengthwise in each chile. (Do not cut through the opposite side of the chile.) Remove and discard seeds.

  7.  Stuff each chile with about 1 cup rice mixture. Place stuffed chiles, cut sides up, on an aluminum foil–lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400°F for 15 minutes or until filling is heated through. Place 1 stuffed poblano on each of 8 plates. Top each with about 2 tablespoons walnut sauce. Sprinkle evenly with cilantro and pomegranate arils.