Friday, October 23, 2009

A Favorite Flavor from San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

For three generations, the women of Mercedes Arteaga Tovar's family have lovingly prepared Chiles en Nogada.

There are many versions of this specialty of the San Miguel de Allende area. This one, however, is served at Mercedes' beautiful Restaurante Bugumbilia in San Miguel.

I and a small group of other Society of American Travel Writers members were blown away by the dish when we dined there in mid October.

I E-mailed Mercedes on the off chance that she would share the recipe and she graciously agreed.

As she said, "I am like you, when I taste the Chiles en Nogada; my mouth is full of happiness and sweet water-like joy. Of course, and with pleasure I give to you the recipe of my version of Chiles en Nogada. I mean very clear, it is my version, and my mother's and my grandmother's version."

Bugumbilia Chiles en Nogada


1 Tbs. oil
1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds ground beef
2 pounds tomato puree
1 cup of sliced pecans
1 cup of sliced almonds
1 cup of raisins
½ cup of chopped citron
1 stick cinnamon
Salt, black pepper, thyme, marjoram, bay leaf, cloves, black pepper, sweet peppercorns and sugar to taste.

The filling can be made one day ahead:

1. Place oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onion and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes.

2. Stir in the ground beef and cook until browned. Add the tomato puree, raisins, almonds, pecans and citron. Cook for another 15 minutes.

3. Season with all the herbs, spices, salt and pepper. At last add the sugar.

4. Cook for another 10 minutes.


8 Poblano Chiles
Oil for frying
1 cup white vinegar
½ cup vegetable oil
1 Tbs. salt
1 Tbs. sugar
1 small onion
1 garlic head
Fine herbs

1. Make a small cut in the chiles and deep fry them in oil until blistered.

2. Place the chiles in a large bowl and cover with a damp cloth for 30 minutes to steam.

3. Peel the chiles. Cut a slit down one side and remove the seeds and large veins.

4. Place the vinegar, oil, salt, sugar, onion, garlic and herbs in a large pot of warm water.

Let marinate for a least 12 hours or overnight.

Cream topping:

8 cups sour cream                 
3 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
2 cups chopped pecans
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup pomegranate seeds
shredded lettuce
10 radishes

1. Beat the topping ingredients, except for the radishes and pomegranate seeds.


Stuff each chile with a sufficient amount of the filling. Place on a platter covered with shredded lettuce and radishes. Top with the cream mixture. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.

Serve, sit back and share the compliments Mercedes Arteaga Tovar, her mother and grandmother have received for generations.

Because it can be served warm, tepid, room temp or cold, Chiles en Nogada is a perfect, make ahead luncheon or dinner party dish. Add some bread, a desert and you're done.

Note: This is the first of several posts that will feature recipes from Mexico and the wonderful chefs I recently encountered there.

I'd love to get your favorites too. Do you have another, preferred version of Chiles en Nogada? Send it in and I'll post it. Have you eaten something else wonderful in Mexico? The food there is nothing like the Mexican food we tend to get in the U.S.A.

Oh, and for more posts on traveling through the state of Jalisco, go to my other blog,  Travel on the Level.

 Look forward to hearing from you!



  1. I'd make the trip again just to eat another Chile en Nogada. You can read more about the restaurant at

  2. I've already read many bloggers rave about Bugumbilia in SMA, especially their Chiles en Nogada specialty. Thanks for posting the recipe! I doubt I can recreate that certain Bugumbilia flavor though.

    - Annie (

  3. Love it. Jus had Chiles en Nogada for dinner tonight at Bugumbilia.