Celebrate Mexican Independence at Hacienda Sisal restaurant in Cancun this September by trying a showstopper recipe always served during the festivities, Chiles en Nogada (Chilies in Walnut Sauce). You’ll find this traditional dish on the menu along with many other tempting Mexican dishes.
Chiles en Nogada: A patriotic culinary creation
The recipe for Chiles en Nogada features poblano chilies with a tasty sweet-savory filling topped with a creamy walnut sauce and sprinkled with pomegranate seeds, coriander and parsley, the colors of the Mexican flag, red, white and green.
The story behind the recipe for Chiles en Nogada is interesting. History tells that in 1821, General Agustín de Iturbide visited the city of Puebla after signing the Treaty of Córdoba, the agreement that gave Mexico its Independence from Spain. He decided to celebrate his saint’s day in the city: August 28, the day of St Augustine, and the city’s elders held a banquet in his honor. The nuns of Santa Monica Convent were caught up in the fervor of his visit and invented a special dish to commemorate his visit and the birth of a nation, using the colors of the new flag: red, white and green.
Poblano chilies are stuffed with a filling of ground pork and beef cooked with chopped dried fruit (raisins, citron, peach and apple), spices, garlic and onion. The chilies are topped with a creamy white sauce made from ground walnuts, almonds and sherry. Pomegranate seeds and chopped cilantro and parsley complete the color sequence.
Blending ingredients from the New World and the Old, mole, a classic Mexican sauce
Have you ever tried mole? The smooth and sophisticated taste of a sauce that blends chocolate and a touch of chili with garlic, ground tortillas, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices served over chicken or turkey is a Mexican classic. Sprinkled with sesame seeds, this mouthwatering recipe is served with rice and onion slices.
Mole is a sauce made according to family recipes passed down from generation to generation. The word mole is derived from the Aztec word molli for sauce and the recipe is a true blend of New and Old World ingredients, pre-Hispanic staples and spices introduced by the Spaniards. Spanish diarists of the day such as Antonio de la Ciudad Real and Fray San Pedro Sebastian talk about visits to convents and the dishes featuring native fruits and nuts, European spices, chicken or turkey served by the nuns.
Mole is said to have originated in the Santa Rosa Convent in Puebla. In the 17th century, Sister Andrea de la Asunción blended chocolate, chili, sesame seeds, cinnamon, almonds, peanuts, garlic and pepper among other ingredients, to create a sauce that she served with turkey to honor the visit of the Viceroy. There are now countless variations on the original recipe from Puebla and the neighboring state of Oaxaca has seven different types of mole, all are delicious.
Cochinita Pibil, taste of the Yucatán
Cochinita pibil is a classic Yucatecan dish for special occasions. Pieces of pork, a pork leg or even a suckling pig are marinated in an achiote (annatto) and Seville orange juice spice mix or recado. The meat is then wrapped in banana leaves and traditionally cooked in a pit or pib for hours. Nowadays an oven is used to slow roast the meat until it literally falls off the bone and melts in your mouth.
Cochinita pibil is served with freshly made tortillas, pickled red onion and xnipek habanero sauce.
On the evening of September 15, Independence Night, order a glass of premium tequila or Mexican wine, an artisanal mezcal, beer or sotol or the Hacienda Sisal signature margarita and raise your glass to toast Mexico and its people with “Viva Mexico.”
Hacienda Sisal is located next to The Royal Sands in Cancun Hotel Zone. Open daily from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. Don’t miss Pozole Thursday and Sunday Brunch from 8 a.m.
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