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Mole Poblano

Mole Poblano

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This mole recipe from Los Sombreros Mexican Café & Cantina uses not one, but four chiles in it to give it its distinct flavor. Douse it on chicken, pork, steak, or fish to add some life to your meal.


  • 4 mulato chiles
  • 4 pasilla chiles
  • 3 guajillo chiles
  • 2 cascabel chiles
  • 1/4 Cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 Cup peanuts
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Mexican cinnamon
  • 2 Teaspoons oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon allspice
  • 2 Tablespoons raisins
  • 1/2 corn tortilla
  • 2 tomatillos
  • 1 tomato
  • 8 Cups chicken stock
  • 2 Cups chopped onion
  • 2 Cups chopped garlic
  • 1/2 Cup lard, or cooking oil
  • 1/2 tablet Mexican chocolate, such as Tazo*


Calories Per Serving296

Folate equivalent (total)43µg11%

Mole Poblano Recipe

12 ancho chilies
12 guajillo chilies
6 pasilla chilies
4 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon star anise
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
½ teaspoon dried marjoram
½ teaspoon whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick, broken up
2 cups|500 ml canola oil
8 cups vegetable dashi or chicken stock
½ cup|75 grams almonds
½ cup|75 grams Spanish peanuts
⅓ cup50 grams pumpkin seeds
⅓ cup|40 grams raisins
3 fresh avocado leaves
3 fresh bay leaves
2 corn tortillas, torn
2 slices stale bread, torn
10 garlic cloves, peeled
1 yellow onion, peeled and quartered
2 tomatillos, husked and quartered
1 tomato, quartered
1 cup|155 grams finely chopped Mexican chocolate
2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
3 tablespoons granulated sugar

Duck with Mole Poblano

"Mole is a national treasure of Mexico, and Mexico is the only country that truly makes it. It&rsquos not just a simple sauce&mdashit has more ingredients than most people think. Our mole poblano has 25 ingredients and is delicious served with tender duck confit and steamed white rice." &mdashJBF Award winner Hugo Ortega


Duck Confit:

  • 8 to 10 sprigs thyme
  • 8 duck legs, cleaned
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups duck fat, melted
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 dried ancho pepper
  • 4 dried mulato peppers
  • 2 dried pasilla peppers
  • 1/8 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 allspice berry
  • 1 whole clove
  • 1 lobe star anise
  • 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 large tomatillos
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil, divided
  • Two 1-inch slices baguette (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons raisins
  • 1/2 plantain ripe plantain, sliced
  • 1/2 onion white onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons sliced almonds
  • 1/3 bar Mexican chocolate, chopped (such as Abuelita)
  • 4 cups chicken stock


Make the duck confit: preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a 9x13 inch baking pan, set the springs of thyme on the bottom of the pan and set aside. Season the duck legs with salt and pepper to taste.

Place a skillet or a thick sauté pan over medium heat and set the duck legs skin-side-down. Sear the duck until the legs are brown, about 7 minutes. Flip the duck and brown the flesh for about 5 minutes. Remove and arrange the legs skin-side-down in the pan on top of the thyme springs. Add the melted duck fat and cover with aluminum foil. Transfer to the oven and cook for about 2 hours, or until the meat is tender and almost falling away from the bone. Let the duck cool completely. If you store the duck in the fat, the shelf life will be longer, approximately 3 months.

Make the mole: devein the peppers and remove the seeds, making sure to set the seeds aside for later. Preheat a cast iron skillet over medium heat, add the peppers in a single layer, and toast for 1 to 3 minutes, turning constantly until the color darkens but the peppers are not burned. Transfer the peppers to a bowl, cover with hot water, and soak for 15 minutes. Remove the peppers from the water, transfer to a plate, and set aside until ready to use.

Heat the same skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the peppercorns, allspice, cloves, and star anise and toast until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and place in a bowl. In the same skillet, add the sesame seeds and reserved pepper seeds and toast until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Add to the bowl with the other spices. In the hot skillet, add the Mexican oregano and thyme and toast until golden brown, about 1 minute. Transfer to the bowl with the toasted spices. Add the cinnamon.

Heat the skillet again over medium heat and add the tomatoes and tomatillos, turning occasionally until they&rsquore blackened and blistered, and soft when pinched, about 15 minutes.

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a small fry pan until shimmering over medium heat. If using bread, fry the bread until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Using tongs, remove the bread and set aside. Add the raisins and fry until they plump up and change color, about 1 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Continue the frying process, stirring occassionaly. Fry the plantains until golden, about 3 minutes. Fry the onions until golden, about 5 minutes. Next, fry the garlic until golden, about 2 minutes. Fry the pumpkin seeds until toasted and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Lastly, fry the almonds until just brown, about 5 minutes.

Working in small batches, purée the peppers in a blender, adding chicken stock as needed, until smooth. The mixture will have a thick consistency, similar to a paste. Set aside. Working in batches, purée the spices, sesame seeds, tomatillos, tomatoes, bread, plantains, onions, garlic, pumpkin seeds, and almonds until smooth, adding chicken stock as needed. By the end you should have used all the chicken stock.

In a large pot over medium heat, heat the rest of the oil until hot. Fry the chile paste, stirring constantly until it changes color, about 10 minutes. Add the other puréed ingredients and mix well. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally until the mole thickens and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 20 minutes. Add the chocolate and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes. Adjust seasoning.

To serve, remove the duck confit from its fat. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Set an ovenproof frying pan on the stove and heat until hot. Add the duck legs, skin-side-down, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Turn the duck legs skin-side-up and place the pan in the oven. Cook for about 15 minutes, until warmed through and crisp.

To plate, arrange the duck leg in the middle of each plate and pour the mole on top, covering just half of the duck to show some of the crispy skin. Sprinkle with toasted white sesame seeds and serve with rice.

How Has Mole Changed Over The Centuries?

While the basic recipe used to concoct mole has stayed virtually the same for centuries, the way mole is served in traditional cultures has changed. Early in its history, mole was the food of choice for special events and celebrations of all economic classes.

Weddings in Mexico traditionally feature mole, for example, and the preparation of the delicious sauce was traditionally a robust community event, wherein each person had a part to play in the experience.

Today, however, Mexico’s upper classes have mostly stopped serving mole poblano at their special events. They prefer catered or imported foods, instead. What’s more, many classes of people throughout Mexico have stopped preparing mole altogether. This means that the ancient recipes and methods are slowly dying.

Fortunately, a few choice groups throughout Mexico and beyond still know how to make mole in the traditional way of their ancestors. Despite the changing cultural tides, the ingredients for mole are still simple and readily available. While there are different versions of the sauce, the four primary components are chilies, a sour ingredient (such as tomatillos), a sweet ingredient (such as a mixture of fruits and sugars,) and a thickener, which is typically nuts or tortillas.

Enchiladas de Mole Poblano

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 2 H
  • 4 H
  • Serves 5

Ingredients US Metric

  • For the chicken
  • One (3-to 4-pound) whole chicken
  • 1/2 white onion (5 oz)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • For the mole
  • 4 dried mulato chiles (1 oz), stemmed and seeded
  • 2 dried pasilla chiles (1/2 oz), stemmed and seeded
  • 2 dried chiles negros (1/2 oz), stemmed and seeded
  • 1 dried ancho chile (1/2 oz), stemmed and seeded
  • Boiling water
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 3/4 cup peanuts
  • 3/4 cup pepitas
  • 3/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup pitted prunes
  • 3/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon anise seeds
  • 1/4 small bread roll, thinly sliced, or the equivalent of any soft white bread (about 1⁄4 cup bread)
  • 1/4 soft corn tortilla (optional)
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons rice bran oil or canola oil
  • 1/2 plantain, sliced into 1⁄2-inch (12-mm) thick rounds
  • 1 white onion (10 oz), chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups canned diced tomatoes and their juices
  • 5 tomatillos (9 oz), husked and coarsely chopped
  • 1 chipotle in adobo
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 disks Mexican chocolate (3 oz), chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • Fifteen (6-inch) soft corn tortillas
  • For serving
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Crumbled queso fresco
  • Sliced white onion


In a large pot over high heat, combine the chicken and just enough water just to cover. Add the onion, garlic, bay leaves, and salt.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to maintain a simmer, and cook, occasionally skimming away any fat or foam from the top of the broth, until the meat is fully cooked through, about 45 minutes.

Remove the chicken, reserving the cooking liquid, and let rest until cool enough to handle. Pull and shred the meat from the bones. Strain the liquid through a fine-mesh strainer and reserve. (The chicken and broth can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.)

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

In a large skillet over high heat, add all of the dried whole chiles and cook, turning often with tongs, until they darken and blister but do not burn, 2 to 5 minutes.

Transfer the chiles to a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Let soak until softened, 15 to 20 minutes.

On a small rimmed baking sheet, combine the sesame seeds, almonds, peanuts, pepitas, raisins, prunes, coriander seeds, anise seeds, sliced bread, and piece of tortilla, if using, and roast, stirring occasionally and watching for burning, until the seeds and nuts are toasted, about 15 minutes. Remove and let cool.

In the same large skillet over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the oil and add the plantain slices. Fry, turning the slices occasionally and pressing down on them with a spatula, until golden brown all over, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer the plantain slices to a small bowl.

In the same skillet over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the onions and garlic and season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes and tomatillos, season with salt, and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to maintain to a simmer. Cover and let cook for 15 minutes.

Drain the chiles and place in a blender. Add the contents of the baking sheet and puree, slowly adding some of the chicken cooking liquid, as needed, until very smooth. You will likely need between 1 1/2 and 3 cups of liquid to achieve a thick, smooth sauce.

Add the fried plantain, the onion-tomato mixture, and the chipotle, and blend until very smooth.

In a large, deep pot over high heat, warm 3 tablespoons oil. Remove from the heat and quickly but very carefully pour in the contents of the blender all at once.

Return the pot to high heat and let cook, stirring constantly, for 10 minutes. Add the cinnamon and about 2 cups of the reserved chicken cooking liquid and bring to a simmer.

Cook for 15 minutes, then stir in the sugar and chocolate. Cook until the chocolate is melted, 2 to 3 minutes, then taste the mole and adjust the seasoning as needed. Let simmer for 30 minutes or until some of the oil starts rising to the top. (That is the indication that the mole is done.)

When ready to serve, mix the chicken meat with the warm mole and cook gently until the meat is warmed through.

Preheat a clean large skillet or griddle over medium heat add the tortillas in batches in a single layer and cook, turning once, until heated through and softened, 3 to 4 minutes.

Stack the tortillas on a platter, board, or clean work surface and cover with a towel to keep warm. Spoon about 1/4 cup of the chicken-mole mixture in a line down the center of each, and fold the tortillas in half or roll them into tube shapes to enclose the filling.

Divide enchiladas between individual plates, and ladle more mole on top to cover. Garnish with sesame seeds, queso fresco, and white onion.

Recipe Testers' Reviews

To me, one of the joys of cooking is enjoying the fruits of my labor. This recipe sure tested that belief but passed with flying colors despite a few moments of uncertainty. I knew going in the recipe was involved—not complicated but involved and time-consuming. But when all was said and done, it was well worth the time and effort.

The deliciousness of mole comes from the many flavors that comprise it—nuts, fruits, spices, chocolate—and to get there means building those flavors and bringing them all together. With so many ingredients, it took me nearly an hour to get my mis en place before I even started.

The tomato mixture filled my blender nearly to overflowing but I managed to get the whole mixture blended up. I decided to dump it all into another pot and give it an additional blend with my immersion blender and that worked out well.

This was a fun recipe to taste along the way because you can really tell how the flavors develop to become that delicious mole. I did use Mexican chocolate with a 70% cacao level. I had several choices here and wasn't quite sure which one to go with. My mole didn't turn out as dark as in the picture but after 3-1/2 hours of work we had a scrumptious meal to enjoy. Can't wait for the leftovers!!

This is one of those recipes that you have to be a bit patient with but the reward is big. The mole is a very rich, fruity, velvety sauce with lots of layers. I think the flavors transform as the sauce sits, because as I was cooking it, the taste of peanuts predominated. Although I love peanuts, this had me a little worried because I wasn’t expecting a peanut sauce. I waited until the next day to serve it, though, and when I did, I could really taste the dried fruits (raisins and prunes as well) and the almonds and pepitas.

Be prepared to babysit the sauce a bit, because it had a habit of sputtering every now and then as it was simmering in the last stages! I have never rolled enchiladas in this way a la minute. Instead I'm used to rolling them, saucing them, and then baking them like a casserole with lots of cheese. I like that this just has cheese as a garnish--that way it isn't such a heavy affair and the sauce is already so rich as is. But I do like baking them for the reason that it softens the tortillas a bit, and then the sauce keeps soaking in and as they sit in the fridge overnight and everything gets really moist. This way, the tortillas are a little more toasted, which has a different appeal.

You will have PLENTY of sauce left over for this size chicken (you could probably use it for 2 chickens). I intend to try to freeze mine and see how it fares.


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I thought dried pasillas and chili negros were the same thing. How are you differentiating these two ingredients?

Dave, I believe you are correct. The pasilla chile is the same as chile negro. However, in northern Mexico, and the rest of North America, poblano peppers are referred to as pasilla, which is what I believe the recipe is referencing here.

The only Mexican chocolate I can find is a bar of Nestle Abuelita. That is all they had in my local Mexican market. Is that the right chocolate to use in this mole?

I think you could use that, Sandy. Just make sure you’re using the same weight of chocolate. Do let us know how it turns out!

What is mole sauce?

Mole sauce is a Mexican-origin recipe made with chiles and spices that are thickened with corn, tortilla or bolillo. It usually accompanies dishes made of meat, rice or vegetables.

In Mexico the most famous are the red and green mole, being the first the most common. Mole poblano is a variety of this dish that has its origins in the state of Puebla, Mexico.

This type is prepared with several ingredients like dark chocolate, chili peppers, chipotle, tomatoes, almonds, bananas, nuts, onions, garlic, and many other ingredients.

Mole sauce is usually served with chicken and sometimes with rice. Mole de olla, on the other hand, is made with vegetables and meat and is similar to soup.

Fry the Peanuts, Almonds, Raisins, Corn Tortillas and Bread

Add oil, only as much as needed for coating the bottom of the pan. You will have to do this before you put in each ingredient. For about 45 seconds, toast of each of the ingredients. Keep stirring at a constant rate to avoid burning. Once this is done, add it into the holding pot, pressing these ingredients down into the water.

Recipe Summary

  • 2 ancho chiles, seeded
  • 2 mulato chiles, seeded
  • 1 pasilla chile, seeded
  • 2 plum tomatoes
  • 2 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • 1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • Cooking spray
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 1 soft black plantain, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 ¼ cups water, divided
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • ¾ teaspoon salt

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add ancho, mulato, and pasilla chiles cook 1 minute on each side. Place chiles in a medium bowl cover with hot water. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes drain.

While chiles soak in hot water, place tomatoes in pan, and cook 6 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove from pan. Add tortillas to pan, and cook 1 1/2 minutes on each side or until browned. Place drained chiles, tomatoes, tortillas, and broth in a blender process until smooth.

Heat pan over medium-high heat. Coat the pan with cooking spray. Add chopped onion, and sauté for 3 minutes. Add plantain, and sauté for 3 minutes or until browned. Add almonds and garlic sauté for 1 minute. Stir in unsweetened cocoa, cumin, cinnamon, and cloves sauté 15 seconds. Place onion mixture and 1/4 cup water in blender with chile mixture process until smooth.

Place chile mixture, 1 cup water, and chocolate in pan cook over medium heat, partially covered, 18 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in lime juice and salt.

Wine note: The complex flavors of moles are a big challenge when it comes to wine. One style I like is fruity but dry rieslings. These have crisp acidity to counterbalance a mole's intense flavor, plus a touch of fruitiness that plays perfectly off the chiles. A great example: Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling Cold Creek Vineyard 2003 from Washington's Columbia Valley ($17). -Karen MacNeil

Mole Poblano

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The mole is simple to prepare. Peanuts and sweet, black-ripe plantains make Puebla’s famous sauce distinctive from other regional moles. Old, brittle chiles will require the longer soaking time suggested. Rinse and dry chiles before use. Toasting ingredients maximizes their flavors. Serve with plenty of warm corn tortillas.


  • 8 dried ancho chiles, stemmed, cut open with scissors and seeded
  • 8 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed, cut open with scissors and seeded
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 3 red-ripe plum tomatoes
  • 1 white onion, unpeeled and quartered
  • 1 head garlic, cloves separated and unpeeled
  • 4 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 3 soft, black-ripe plantains, peeled and sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup shelled peanuts
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 Tbs. anise or fennel seeds
  • 1 Mexican chocolate tablet, such as Ibarra or Abuelita brands, chopped
  • 1 Tbs. ground canela (Mexican cinnamon)
  • 2 tsp. kosher or sea salt


Heat large, ungreased skillet, and, over medium-high heat, toast chiles in batches. Flatten chiles with spatula, and cook until chiles change color and release aromas. Remove from heat, and place in bowl of hot water. Add raisins to water, and reconstitute for 30 minutes or up to several hours. Drain, and place in large bowl.

Roast tomatoes, unpeeled onion and unpeeled garlic cloves until covered with black spots. Remove from heat, and, when cool enough to handle, peel and cut off stem ends. Place tomatoes, onion and garlic into bowl of drained chiles.

Place 2 tablespoons oil in skillet, and heat to medium-high heat. Fry plantains to golden brown, remove from heat and add to chiles. In hot ungreased skillet, toast peanuts and seeds separately as each takes different amounts of time to brown and release aromas. Combine peanuts and seeds with chiles.

Spoon chile-nut mixture into blender until blender is half full. Add enough water to facilitate blending, and purée. Pour mixture into bowl, and continue puréeing and adding extra water until chile-nut mixture is used up. Sauce will be textured. With wooden spoon, push through strainer into separate bowl, discarding bits of chile skin.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil over high heat in deep saucepan. Pour in purée, taking care to avoid splatters, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low, add chopped chocolate tablet, canela and salt, and cook for 1 hour. When sauce has reduced slightly and thickened to consistency of heavy cream, remove from heat and use immediately, or cool and refrigerate for up to two days. Freeze any leftover servings.

Wine Suggestions

Mole is always served with another part of the meal, such as the rice or squash, but it is delicious when served with only warmed corn tortillas. Pairing wine with savory-spicy dishes such as this can lead you in all sorts of directions. To help narrow the field, remember to consider the richness of the dish, its earthiness and spiciness, and whether it is at all acidic. A good wine match will accentuate the features you want accentuated and will tame the extremes. Try an earthy red Rhône.


Coat the chili peppers in 150 grams of heated lard, then put them in a pot with very hot water and bring them to a boil, until they soften. Set aside the lard.

In the same lard, sauté the garlic and onion until soft, then add the tortillas, bread, raisons, almonds, pumpkin seeds and half of the sesame seeds, the aniseed, clove, cinnamon, pepper, chocolate and tomatoes. Sauté thoroughly. Then add the drained chili peppers and briefly fry the entire mixture.

Blend everything with the broth used to cook the turkey, then drain.

In a large pot, heat the remaining lard (100 gr), add the blended sauce and let the mole boil for 5 minutes, then season with salt and sugar (it should be a little sweet). If necessary, add more broth to make a rather thick sauce.

Boil for 20 to 25 minutes over a low flame, then add the pieces of turkey and boil for another 5 minutes, serve in the same pot, sprinkled with the remainder of the toasted sesame seeds.

Recipe taken from Las fiestas de Frida y Diego. Recuerdos y recetas. Guadalupe Rivera Marín and Marie-Pierre Colle Corcuera. Promexa, México, 1994, p. 214.



  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 kilo ground pork
  • 1/2 kilo tomato, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 50 grams almond, chopped
  • 50 grams pecan, chopped
  • 100 grams raisins
  • 100 grams candied citron, chopped
  • 1/2 cup olives, chopped
  • 1/2 cup capers
  • 2 leaves basil
  • 16 poblano chili peppers
  • 7 eggs
  • oil for frying
  • salt


  • 250 grams double cream cheese
  • 250 grams walnut, peeled and conserved in milk
  • 100 grams almonds
  • 1 liter sour cream
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
  • grains 2 pomegranates
  • 1/2 shot of tequila


Pour the oil into a pot and sauté the onion and garlic. Then add the meat and fry once it is cooked, add a cup of chicken broth, salt, and pepper. Boil for thirty minutes, then add the tomato, parsley, almonds, nuts, raisins, candied citron, olives, capers, basil leaves, and oregano. Boil everything for fifteen minutes, or until the broth has been consumed.

Roast, clean and devein the chili peppers, then dry them with paper towels and stuff them with the picadillo or meat sauce. Coat first in the flour, then in the egg whites beaten to a peak stage and mixed in with the yolks.

Fry the poblano chili peppers in oil, then drain and preserve in a warm oven.


Gradually blend the double cream cheese with the pecans, almonds, cream, and 1/2 shot of tequila. Strain the sauce and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe used by Gloria, Salvador Novo’s renowned cook.

Place the poblano chili peppers on a platter and cover with the nogada sauce. Sprinkle the broadest section with the chopped parsley, leave a strip open at the center and at the tip, add the pomegranate to form the colors of the Mexican flag.

Serve warm. This dish is even more attractive when served on individual plates.