Chilies in Nut Sauce ~ A Magical Recipe from Like Water for Chocolate

What gifts a magical perspective can bring.

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It can expand and fire up our hearts, restore the sense of wonder within our lives. It is a gift we can give ourselves, to choose to see the world beyond the mundane, unclouded by the jaded. For me it is the fuel that has helped me persevere through challenging times.

It is everywhere.

Magic is real.

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And in the chill of winter, to me, a little extra magic is called for. To draw in with a clear open heart and touch.

Laura Esquivel’s classic novel Like Water for Chocolate has run through my veins giving magic and heat for many years.

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As a chef, I am always intrigued by books incorporating food into the story line, and the recipes woven into the chapters of Like Water for Chocolate are a weaver of magic food lover’s dream. Back in 2001 I decided to adapt a good handful of the fanciful recipes into workable proportions. I led many cooking classes back in those days, and had put together a Like Water for Chocolate class to be held at The Cupboard, Fort Collins, Colorado kitchen store extraordinaire on September 11, 2001 at 7 pm. After the Twin Towers fell, we decided to keep the class on, as scheduled. It was sold out, and all who attended were glad I hadn’t cancelled. “These dishes are OUTRAGEOUS!”  – was the overwhelming response from participants.

I think this recipe is nearly my favorite of all.

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I prepared it twice during this holiday season, and absolutely love people’s response. Do try this recipe for a special occasion. These stuffed chilies are entirely delicious.

Chilies in Nut Sauce….a recipe adaptation from Like Water for Chocolate

I thought it would be a special treat to include a recipe adaptation from this wonderful book about food and energy and love! This chili dish was served at the wedding of Pedro’s daughter and John’s son, and it had an aphrodisiac reaction with all of the guests at the reception. Of course, it was because of all the love that was put into its’ preparation!

12 poblano or 24 Anaheim chilies, roasted, split on one side and seeded (canned chilies may be used)
1 large pomegranate, seeds removed and cleaned
1 1/2 c. roasted, salted cashews, pureed in food processor
2 c. heavy cream or half and half
1 1/2 c. shredded sharp white cheddar
12 oz. to 1 lb. ground chicken, or chicken chorizo as I used in my last batch (or finely chopped portabella mushrooms for a vegetarian dish)
1/2 c. raisins
1/2 c. almonds, toasted and chopped
1/2 c. walnuts, toasted and chopped
1/2 lb. tomatoes, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tbsp. chopped orange peel
1/2 peach, chopped
1/2 apple, chopped
cumin
white pepper
salt and sugar
a little oil for saute

Saute onion until transparent, then add ground chicken or minced mushrooms, cumin and a little sugar. After the chicken or mushrooms have browned, stir in the chopped peach, apple, walnuts, raisins, almonds, tomatoes and orange peel and let simmer awhile. Add salt and white pepper to taste and let the liquids cook off before removing from the heat. Let filling cool. Stir in shredded cheese and stuff chilies, laying them gently in an ovenproof dish. Bake at 350 for no more than 20 to 25 minutes. While chilies are heating, make sauce. In a saucepan, whisk cream and pureed cashews together over medium low heat. As sauce thickens, you may add a little more cream to correct consistency if you’d like. To serve stuffed chilies, arrange on platter and drizzle sauce over, scattering the pomegranate seeds over the top.

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And may your dreams be filled with Magic!

 

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