This year San Nicolás de los Ranchos, in the state of Puebla, set out to break a record by creating the biggest chile en nogada in the world. The record-breaking dish was served last weekend during the 21st International Chile En Nogada Festival held each year in August when the dish’s ingredients are most available.
The most common legend associated with chile en nogada was that its creation was the inspiration of Catholic nuns from the Santa Monica convent, who made it for Agustín de Iturbide as he marched through Puebla with his army after signing the Córdoba accords, the official agreement of Mexico’s independence between the Spanish and the revolutionary generals in 1821. There are other versions of the story, but the Poblano nuns are a likely guess for the creation of this dish as many local specialties reportedly came out of their kitchens (mole poblano and many local candies to name a few).
The dish starts with a large poblano pepper stuffed with a mixture of ground beef and pork, dried fruits and nuts, then is sometimes breaded and cooked, covered with a slightly sweet walnut sauce and sprinkled with pomegranate seeds and parsley sprigs. The colors of the dish — red, white and green — are the colors of the Mexican flag and also the uniforms of Iturbide’s soldiers.
The record-breaking dish in San Nicolás was crafted from 2,500 poblano peppers stuffed with 40 kilos of apples, 40 kilos of peaches and 81 kilos of ground meat, covered in a walnut sauce that took 31 kilos of walnuts to make and sprinkled with 12 kilos of pomegranate seeds. The proceeds from the event went to help the families of two children with cancer.