And the winner of The Great American Recipe is… Silvia Martinez! The California home cook who grew up making Mexican dishes she learned from her grandmother, aunts, and mother takes home first place during the season finale of the PBS cooking show.
Originally from Guanajuato in central Mexico, Silvia formerly had a successful career as a human resources executive and university instructor before transitioning to life in the U.S. after meeting and marrying her husband. Silvia’s heartwarming personal stories and delicious recipes, which combine the flavors of her home country with the bounty of California produce, repeatedly charmed host Alejandra Ramos and judges Leah Cohen, Tiffany Derry, and Graham Elliot.
During the uplifting cooking competition series that celebrates the multiculturalism that makes American food unique and iconic, home cooks from around the country had the opportunity to showcase their beloved signature dishes.
“Congratulations to Silvia Martinez for being named the winner of the first season of The Great American Recipe,” said Zara Frankel, Director of Programming and Development, General Audience Programming at PBS. “The first season was a multiplatform success, attracting younger and more diverse audiences for PBS as part of our ongoing commitment to showcasing a range of voices and perspectives. We are delighted that the show resonated with viewers and are thrilled to bring new episodes of this fan-favorite back to audiences across the country.”
PBS will bring season 2 in 2023 with Ramos as a host. “The recipe for success for this series was bringing ten home cooks together to share cherished family recipes and personal stories of what those dishes mean to them,” said Steve Humble, Chief Content Officer at VPM. “As the series progressed, each episode drew viewers into deeper connections with the contestants. At a time when America is divided, this series about food and family brought people together around the table.”
“We’re excited to be bringing back this wonderfully warm show to PBS,” said Jilly Pearce, President, Objective Media Group America. “It’s a unique kind of cooking competition, a celebratory series where the judges offer professional advice and the contestants root for each other and bond through the shared stories of food and family.”
The official series also has a companion book featuring winner Silvia Martinez’s recipe for Chiles en Nogada (Stuffed Poblano Peppers in Walnut Sauce) on the cover. The cookbook includes more than 100 recipes from the cast, host, judges, personal stories, stills from the series, and color photographs throughout. The cookbook is now available wherever books are sold.
“For those who’ve never had the pleasure, eating this classic Mexican dish is both a sweet and savory, soft and crunchy experience. The secret is in the balancing of all the elements,” Sivia says. “Stuffed Poblano Peppers in Walnut Sauce, known both in Mexico and abroad as chiles en nogada, the dish honors the three colors of the Mexican flag. It is traditionally served around Mexican Independence Day in mid-September, although it can be served any time pomegranates are in season.”
Chiles en Nogada
Stuffed Poblano Peppers in Walnut Sauce
- 6 poblano peppers
- 4 slices of bacon, chopped
- 1 large white onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 pound ground beef (85% lean)
- 4 ounces sliced deli ham, chopped
- 1 tart apple, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and chopped
- 1 large peach, peeled, pitted, and chopped
- ¾ cup raisins
- ½ cup chopped roasted almonds
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons salt, divided
- 3 cups warm water
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1 cup crema Mexicana (Mexican-style sour cream)
- 1 cup walnuts
- 4 ounces goat cheese
- Pinch ground cinnamon
- Seeds of 1 large pomegranate
- 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and chopped
- Roast the poblano peppers in a cast iron skillet or comal over medium-high heat, often turning, until blackened. Cover them with a kitchen towel and place them in a plastic bag. Let them sweat for 5–6 minutes, then remove the skin. Set aside.
- Cook the bacon in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until crispy. Add the onion and garlic, lower the heat to medium, and cook for two more minutes. Add the beef, ham, apple, peach, raisins, almonds, pecans, bay leaves, and 1½ teaspoons of salt and mix well. Cover and let the filling cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Slit each poblano pepper open from the stem down. Carefully open it and remove the seeds.
- Mix the warm water, vinegar, and one tablespoon of salt in a large bowl. Submerge the peppers and let them soak for 10 minutes, then drain and pat dry.
- In a food processor, blend the crema Mexicana, walnuts, goat cheese, cinnamon, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt until smooth. The sauce has to be thin enough to cover the peppers easily yet thick enough so you cannot see the green color under it. If it is too thick, add water, a teaspoon at a time, until you reach the desired consistency.
- Fill the peppers with the meat mixture and place them on serving plates. Cover the peppers with the sauce and garnish with pomegranate seeds and parsley.