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Stuffed Peppers with Walnut Cream Sauce (Chiles En Nogada)

This exotic dish is traditionally served in Mexico on Independence Day {September 15) because its main ingredients echo the colours of the Mexican flag. In Mexico, California green chillis are used {they can be obtained outside Mexico in cans if they are not available fresh), but green peppers can be substituted, as here, for a more substantial dish.

ingredients

4 servings
4 Large firm green peppers
2 Tbs Vegetable oil
1 Onion, finely chopped
1 Garlic clove, crushed
225 g (8 oz) Canned peeled tomatoes, drained and chopped
1/2 kg (1 lb) Minced (ground) beef
3 Tbs Seedless raisins
1/2 tsp Ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ground cloves
Salt and pepper to taste

for the sauce

250 ml (8 fl oz) 1 cup Single (light) cream
125 g (4 oz) 1 cup Walnuts, shelled and ground
1 TbsGround almonds
Salt and pepper to taste
50 g (2 oz) 1/3 cup Pomegranate seeds

method

1. Cut the tops from the peppers and carefully scoop out the pith and seeds, leaving the peppers whole. Cook them in boiling water for 5 minutes, drain and set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and fry until they are soft. Add the tomatoes and bring to the boil. Stir in the meat until it loses its pinkness. Stir in the raisins, cinnamon, cloves and seasoning and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the mixture for 10 minutes, or until it is thick and rich.

3. Preheat the oven to moderate 180°C (Gas Mark 4, 350°F).

4. Carefully spoon the meat mixture into the green peppers and arrange the peppers in a shallow, well-greased baking dish. Put the dish into the oven and cook for 30 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, to make the sauce, put the cream, walnuts, almonds and seasoning into a small saucepan. Simmer gently, stirring constantly, until it is hot but not boiling and has thickened.

6. Remove the dish from the oven and transfer the peppers to a warmed serving dish. Pour over the sauce and scatter over the pomegranate seeds. Serve at once.

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