Mexico’s Bicentennial

Mexico, a land known for its celebrations, put on the event of the century last week when the country’s bicentennial of the War of Independence coincided with the centennial of the Mexican Revolution. Extensive programs took place all over the country, including many based in San Miguel, acknowledged for its starring role 200 years ago, when resident Ignacio Allende joined forces with Father Miguel Hidalgo to raise an army against Spanish colonialism. Father Hidalgo’s cry on Sept. 16, 1810: “Down with bad government and death to the gachupines!” — a pejorative term for colonial-era Spaniards, ignited the independence movement. His call to arms, known as “El Grito”, is reenacted every year at midnight on the 15th with historic fanfare and cheer, and of course, lots of beer and tequila.

In addition to traditional festivities, Mexico unveiled la “Ruta 2010”, which is a series of routes that commemorates various historic movements and encourages people to drive, or bus, through Mexican history. San Miguel is part of the Freedom Route that tracks the footsteps of Miguel Hidalgo from Guanajuato to Chichuahua. The Democracy and Zapatista routes cover other areas of the country, where a series of museum and cultural exhibitions strive to educate people on the sacrifices made in the name of freedom.


parade rider

Neighbor getting ready for parade


Thousands of onlookers viewed our local parade last Thursday, full of men and women on horseback, some dressed in 19th century period costumes, others in the rags of revolutionaries. As every year, General Allende led the troops as the crowds cheered him on. The nights were filled with endless fireworks and hordes of people circulating in the jardin, wearing the Mexican flag in many forms–skirts, scarves and bandanas were among the most popular.

Radio interviews featuring the country’s centenarians filled the airwaves during the entire week. Hundreds of people told their stories, recreating a vivid history for listeners and personal accounts of family hardship during the revolution.


Chile en Nogada


Chiles en Nogada (Chiles in a Walnut Sauce)

Considered the national dish of Mexico for its colors—green, red and white (like the country’s flag), this interesting dish is normally served on Mexico’s Independence Day. It was originally created in the eighteen century to showcase the fall fruit harvest when apples, pears and peaches were added to the recipe. Feel free to do the same.

8 servings

8 roasted and cleaned poblano chiles

1 tablespoon oil

1 small white onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 pounds ground beef

1 cup tomato puree

1 cup chopped almonds

1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped biznaga (candied cactus) or citron

2 sticks cinnamon

1 teaspoon thyme

1/2 teaspoon ground gloves

1/2 teaspoon allspice

2 bay leaves

salt and pepper to taste


2 cups Mexican cream

1 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)

1 tablespoon Worchester sauce

pomegranate seeds to garnish

1.    Place the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onion and garlic. Cook for about 5-8 minutes. Add the beef and continue cooking until browned.

2.    Add the remaining ingredients and simmer over low heat for 20-30 minutes. Remove the cinnamon sticks and bay leaves.

3.    Fill the roasted poblano chiles with the beef mixture.

4.    For the sauce, place all the ingredients into a blender and puree. Spoon over chiles.

5.    Garnish with pomegranate seeds. Serve at room temperature.

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