RSS Feed

Turkey in Nogada {Creamy Walnut Sauce} ~ A Mexican Thanksgiving

Posted on

Turkey in Nogada

The Nogada {creamy walnut sauce} takes about 10 minutes to make. It’s super fast and easy and you can serve it on any turkey no matter how you cook it. If you just want the Nogada recipe, with the toppings, scroll down to skip ahead. 

Turkey in Nogada {Creamy Walnut Sauce}

Traditionally, the Nogada sauce is served drizzled on top of a stuffed poblano pepper. This patriotic dish was invented in Puebla, Mexico around the time of the Mexican revolution and it was named: “Chiles en Nogada“. These chiles are traditionally served around September 16th, in honor of Mexican Independence Day. Allow me to describe the dish for you: Roasted poblano peppers are seeded and stuffed with chopped pork and beef cooked with spices and dried fruits. Once stuffed, the pepper is dipped in flour then egg white foam, and deep fried. The stuffed fried pepper is then served smothered in the Nogada {walnut sauce}, and topped with pomegranate seeds and parsley. The dish then ends up bearing the Mexican flag colors: green, white and red. So what does this patriotic Mexican dish have anything to do with Thanksgiving? Well, nothing, until now…


Pomegranate in Season

I wanted to try an alternative to the usual gravy we ladle over our turkeys every Thanksgiving, while keeping with the seasonal fruits and vegetables. That’s where my adaptation of the Chiles en Nogada a la Turkey came to be… The Nogada sauce incorporates both walnuts, which are traditional around this time of year, and pomegranates, currently in season here in the U.S. You can almost always get pomegranates on sale in the month of November. They usually sell for around $1.50 – $2.99 each, depending on the store. I like to pick mine out based on weight and color. The best pomegranates are the ones that yield the most vibrant red, juicy seeds. Compare the fruits by holding one on each hand and select the heaviest fruit bearing the brightest red color. If you’ve never seeded a pomegranate do not be intimidated, follow this handy video tutorial: How to Seed a pomegranate.

Pomegranates in Season

Pomegranates in Season

For a Mexican twist on Thanksgiving Turkey…

I roasted a split turkey breast, instead of a whole turkey, so I could test out my recipe idea and it turned out pretty damn awesome. Before roasting the turkey I rubbed it with a Greek spice rub I found at Ben’s North Market Spices in the columbus North Market. The taste from this rub ended up pairing perfectly with the creamy Nogada sauce. You can also go a more traditional route and use the same spices and herbs I use in my Roasted Chicken Recipe, but why not try something new? NOTE: You’ll want to brine the turkey before you rub it with the spices. I made the mistake of skipping this step and my turkey turned out a little too dry for my taste. Especially when you’re only roasting a turkey breast, it’s important to brine so you can get a better result. Here’s a basic brine recipe with instructions.

Greek Seasoning - North Market Spices

Greek Seasoning – North Market Spices

Although the Nogada sauce is normally served at room temperature, I warmed mine up instead, like you would for a gravy. Only I didn’t let it boil, just a slow easy simmer is enough to warm up the sauce. I based my recipe for the Nogada sauce on the one Pati Jinich shares on her blog, she also does a great job breaking down the recipe for Chiles en Nogada. The main difference is that I incorporated the poblano peppers into the sauce, since it will be served on Turkey instead of chiles. The final result was spectacular! The Nogada sauce with its nutty flavor and hint of pepper, along with the pomegranate seeds, added moisture and tang, and it all paired perfectly with the roasted turkey. I served mine with a side of potatoes and home-made apple sauce. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I enjoyed making and sharing it with you! Enough talk, let’s eat!


{Turkey with Creamy Walnut Sauce}

Servings: 8

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes


For the turkey:

1 split turkey breast (bone-in). You can also use this recipe on a whole turkey, just increase your spices.

2 TBSP Ben’s Greek spice rub. (Or follow my Roasted Chicken recipe if you prefer to use fresh herbs)

1 garlic clove, chopped in half

2 TBSP butter

1/2 lemon

For the nogada {creamy walnut sauce}:

3/4 Cup raw, fresh walnuts. {Make sure they’re fresh and not stale or rancid}

1  1/4 Cups heavy cream

1/4 Cup milk

1  TBSP ground piloncillo, or substitute with raw brown sugar.

1 TBSP roasted poblano pepper, chopped {How to Roast a pepper}

Salt and white pepper to taste

1 TBSP dry sherry

For the toppings:

1 Pomegranate, seeds only {TIP: How to Seed a pomegranate}

1 Roasted poblano pepper, seeded and chopped. {How to Roast a pepper}


For the Turkey:

1. MAKE a basic brine and let the turkey breast sit in it overnight. The general recommendation is 12 hours.

2. PLACE the turkey breast on a roasting pan and RUB with the spices. (After it’s been sitting in the brine for 12 hours.)

3. LAY the lemon wedges, garlic cloves and butter on top and around the turkey.

4. BAKE at 425 for one hour. The turkey will be fully cooked when it reaches 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Check with a meat thermometer every 10 minutes after the first hour. {TIP: Depending on your oven, you might want to roast at a lower temperature to keep the meat moist.}


Raw Split Turkey Breast with Greek Spice Rub

Roasted Split Turkey Breast with Greek Spice Rub

Roasted Split Turkey Breast with Greek Spice Rub

♥ INSTRUCTIONS for the Nogada {Creamy Walnut Sauce}:

1. PLACE the walnuts, cream, milk, ground piloncillo {or sugar}, peppers and salt in a blender puréeing until smooth.

2. POUR into a pot and bring up to a simmer on low-medium heat. Don’t let it boil, the goal is to simply warm up the sauce.

3. TAKE the cream off the burner once it’s warm and ADD the Sherry, mix well.

4. TO SERVE: POUR the Nogada sauce over a slice of turkey and top with a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds and chopped roasted poblano peppers. Enjoy with a side of apple sauce and potatoes.

Nogada {Creamy Walnut Sauce}

Nogada Sauce {Creamy Walnut Sauce}

Turkey in Nogada

Turkey in Nogada

Gobble gobble! What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dish?


About Maribel

Bilingual digital media and marketing pro | blogger| foodie | fashionista | philanthropist #NotTheCoolGirl

Share Your Comments

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: