dusk near Cuernavaca

dusk near Cuernavaca

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Stuffing Chiles

Today Jane and I attended a cooking class taught by chef Pilar Cabrera, the owner of "La Casa de los Sabores" cooking school and La Olla Restaurant.

We met at 9:30 A.M. at La Olla, and from there we walked several blocks to La Merced Market, which, according to Pilar, is one of the best neighborhood markets in the city.  At the market we bought the ingredients that we would need for our cooking lesson.

 Pilar led us on a shopping expedition through the market.

From the market, we then went with our purchases to Pilar's home for our cooking class.  She has a large kitchen/dining area which accommodated our group of around eleven students.

Our menu was going to consist of several kinds of stuffed chile peppers... some spicy, some mild... some fresh, some dried... served with Mexican rice and home-made tortilllas.  For dessert we would have gelatin flavored with "rompope" (Mexican eggnog).

All of us donned aprons since we were not going to be mere observers... we were going to actively participate in the preparation of our menu.

(photo taken by another student)

 (Pilar really should get some different aprons for the guys in the class!)

The fresh chiles must be roasted over an open flame,and then allowed to sweat within a closed container.  After that most of the skin can be peeled off of the chile.

Jane is stirring the "picadillo", a mixture of chicken, tomatoes, onions, garlic, raisins and almonds.  The "picadillo" will be used to stuff some of the peppers.  Meanwhile, to the left, a home-made salsa to serve over the chiles is being prepared.

Instead of "picadillo", some of the chile peppers are stuffed with "frijoles", cheese (specifically, "queso fresco") and squash blossoms.

The stuffed chiles are dredged in flour, dipped in an egg batter, and then fried.

When we were done cooking, we then feasted on what we had created.  It was a delicious lunch.  These stuffed peppers are unlike any "chile relleno" that you are likely to find in a Mexican restaurant in the United States.

Pilar is not only a talented chef and teacher, but she is a charming and gracious person.  Our day at "La Casa de los Sabores" was a delightful and memorable experience.  I highly recommend a class to anyone planning to visit Oaxaca!


  1. I have taken a cooking class with Pilar twice and I found that the shopping and cooking is so much fun. Unfortunately, we don't have markets like La Merced in Canada. I am really looking forward to my time in Oaxaca.

    1. This was the my second class with Pilar also. There are numerous cooking schools in Oaxaca... probably all very good... but Pilar is such a delightful lady that I would highly recommend her classes

  2. I got a good laugh out of the picture of you in the apron. But all levity aside, the cooking class looks interesting. I need to learn to make such things.


    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where we have tried to get back to our normal diet post-holiday binge.

    1. It really was a great experience... but the dishes were very complex, and a lot of work. I can't see myself doing it at home. The picadillo wasn't too difficult. Pilar said that could be used in tacos or quesadillas. I might also try the rompope gelatin.

  3. Yes, you looked so svelte in that apron. I think a few chef's aprons would have been better for the male participants. However, those aprons are ubiquitous in Mexico. Cute

    1. Svelte!? Ha! I am going to have to go on a major diet when I return from Mexico in February!