Autumnal Recipes from the Culinary Institute of America

Warm and spicy dishes from the Culinary Institute of America

Recipes, Culinary Institute of America, fall cooking

With nights coming sooner and cool air encroaching, we asked our friends at Hudson Valley’s world-renowned chefs’ university to share a few recipes that counteract that coolness with comfort and a pinch of heat. For more great recipes, check out recipes from the Culinary Institute of America.

In 2011, the chefs at The Culinary Institute of America celebrated Mexico's 200th anniversary by preparing a traditional dish—Chiles en Nogada—just for the occasion. According to Iliana de la Vega, a native of Mexico and a Latin Cuisines chef-instructor at the CIA, San Antonio, the dish originated in Puebla. As one legend tells it, three young women smitten by a soldier got together and decided the way to get him to notice them was to create a delicious dish using the green, white, and red from the flag of the newly independent Mexico. 

Each woman was in charge of one of the three colors. The woman who chose green decided to stuff poblano chiles with a delicious picadillo, a mixture of ground meat, fruits, and spices. The one adding white decided that since walnuts were in season, she would make a sauce from them. She painstakingly peeled each walnut piece to remove the brown skin, ensuring the sauce would remain white. Red was the final color, and the third woman chose a pomegranate, whose red seeds provided the perfect garnish. 

We are not sure if any of the three women won the soldier’s heart, but we do know that if you serve this delicious dish you will win the hearts of everyone at your table.

Chiles en Nogada

Serves 4

  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ¼ cup white onion
  • ½ pound pork shoulder, finely chopped
  • ½ pound beef round, finely chopped
  • 1 pound Roma tomatoes, medium dice
  • 1 Golden Delicious apple, peeled, finely diced
  • 1 D’Anjou pear, green, peeled, finely diced
  • ½ plantain, ripe, peeled and diced
  • ¼ cup almonds, blanched and chopped
  • ¼ cup black raisins, chopped
  • ¼ cup candied pineapple, diced
  • ¼ teaspoon ground canela (Mexican
  • cinnamon)
  • Ground cloves, pinch
  • Salt, to taste
  • 8 one-inch poblano chiles, cut at tip of chile, fried until blistered, cleaned

Walnut Sauce

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 2 ounces almonds, blanched
  • ½ cup crema Mexicana
  • 4 ounces goat cheese or Mexican queso fresco
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • Whole milk, as needed
  • Salt, to taste
  • White ground pepper, to taste
  • Sugar, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sweet sherry (optional)


  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds
  • ¼ cup Italian flat leaf parsley, finely chopped


1.  Heat the oil in a Dutch oven and sauté the onion until translucent. Do not brown.

2. Add the chopped meats and brown on all sides. Add the tomatoes and cook until the meats are tender and fully cooked, about 15 minutes.

3. Reduce the heat and add the apple, pear, and plantain. Cook for 5 minutes.

4. Add the almonds, raisins, pineapple, canela, cloves, and salt to taste. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the juices evaporate. Remove from heat and cool the mixture to room temperature.

5. Purée the walnuts, almonds, crema, goat cheese, cream cheese, and milk to taste. The mixture should be thick and nutty. Season with salt, pepper, and sugar to taste (add sherry at this point). Cover and refrigerate.

6. Stuff the chiles with the meat mixture. The chiles should be full and barely able to close. Cover the chiles in the walnut sauce and garnish with pomegranate seeds and chopped parsley.

Chef’s note: If you do not have the time to peel the walnuts, use half unpeeled walnuts and half blanched almonds. However, the traditional flavor will not be the same.


Nutrition analysis per one-ounce serving without walnut sauce: 40 calories, 2g protein, 4g carbohydrate, 2g fat, 45mg sodium, 5mg cholesterol, less than 1g fiber.


Nutrition analysis for walnut sauce per ounce serving: 110 calories, 3g protein, 2g carbohydrate, 10g fat, 50mg sodium, 15mg cholesterol, less than 1g fiber.


Recipe and photo in story provided courtesy of CIA.