Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Chiles Rellenos - Poblanos Stuffed with Cheese

Have you ever tasted chiles rellenos? If you haven't, let me try to describe it to you! They are poblano chiles (some spice but it is a manageable heat) softened with roasting, then peeled, stuffed with cheese, battered with a fluffy egg batter and fried until crispy. A Mexican version of comfort food. 


The restaurant we eat them at serves it with white cheese sauce drizzled on top. I serve mine with a tomato sauce. It helps to cut all the richness of the cheese that is stuffed inside the pepper.  I use my Restaurant Style Salsa recipe for the sauce.  I'll give you more information below on how to adapt it.

Have your sauce ready then fry up the chiles rellenos. You can keep the rellenos on a cooling rack on a jelly roll pan in a 200* oven so you can enjoy them all at once or your family can eat them as you fry them. 





Chiles Rellenos                                                                     Printable Recipe

4 large poblano peppers
2 cups shredded Chihuahua quesadilla cheese (or a mix of other cheeses that melt, like Monterey Jack and Cheddar)
1/4 to 1/3 cup all-purpose flour for dredging
5 egg whites at room temperature
1 egg yolk, beaten
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
lard or canola oil (1/2-3/4" depth in skillet)



Restaurant Style Salsa made into sauce:

olive oil
1/3 cup minced onions
1/3 cup minced green peppers
28 oz can petite or regular diced tomatoes
1-2 teaspoons green chiles (add more if you like it hotter)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 dash of red cayenne pepper - more if you like it spicier
1 Tablespoon lime juice plus more as needed to taste

small handful of cilantro, chopped (optional)


Sauce directions:
In small skillet add a little drizzle of olive oil.  Cook onions and peppers until caramelized.  Add rest of sauce ingredients except cilantro.  You only need to heat it up for a short time unless you like it thicker than you could cook it longer.  Remove to blender, add cilantro (if you like)  and blend smooth. Add more lime juice if you want a brighter sauce. Set aside and make chiles rellenos.


Chiles Rellenos directions:
Preheat the oven broiler and set the oven rack at about 6 inches from the heat source.
Cook under the preheated broiler until the skin of the peppers has blackened and blistered.  Turning to get all sides.   If you don't get it mostly charred it will not peel. Place them a gallon plastic zip bag, seal.  Allow the peppers to steam as they cool.  15 to 20 minutes.
I wear gloves for this next part.  Even though these are not an overly spicy pepper and I know not to touch my eyes (or nose!) I inevitably will!  Remove the skins and discard. Cut a slit lengthwise into the side of each pepper and remove seeds and veins. Rinse gently under cold water to remove the rest of the seeds.  Pat dry with paper towels.
Divide the cheese into 4 portions, and squeeze each portion lightly in your hands to make a cone shape. If you use fresh grated cheese it will stick together.  Pre-shredded cheese won't.  I could only find pre-shredded Chihuahua cheese so I had to microwave just a bit to heat it enough to stick back together. 
Insert cheese into the slit in each pepper.  You can use a toothpick to keep them shut or over lap just a little and lay them slit down after you flour.
Dredge each pepper in flour, dust off the excess, and place on a small baking sheet lined with parchment paper or waxed paper. Place the peppers in the freezer for at least 30 minutes but no more than 45 minutes if you plan to use them now. You can freeze them and use them another time.  You will need to allow to thaw in the fridge some before cooking so the cheese isn't frozen solid and can melt all the way through.
In medium mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff.  You can use a mixer or use a whisk as I did here.
Dump in egg, flour and salt,  Gently whisk in, just until blended.
Preheat oil in a heavy cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers.

Remove peppers from freezer (fridge) and dust them with a little flour as needed if there are any blank spots that rubbed off.    Holding the pepper by the stem, lay in batter and spoon batter over until covered.
Since the peppers are heavy with cheese I use the spoon to help lift up the battered pepper.
Gently lay the battered poblano into the pan, slit side down, wiggle it back and forth a little so the base gets cooked a bit before you let go.  That keeps the chance to a minimum that the batter will stick to the bottom of the pan and come off of your pepper.
I had to add a splatter screen to mine to keep the oil from splashing.  To flip, I used the spoon and tongs.  Gently rolling it over so it didn't plop over and splash.  I don't use a lot of oil so not to waste too much so when the top and bottom were done I held it upright to do the edges.    I found it easiest to manage one at a time instead of frying two.
Lay on a plate with a paper towel for moment or two to soak up any grease and then serve or place in the oven on the cooling rack/jelly roll pan at 200* to keep warm until they are all ready to serve.  I served our along side of my black bean "refried" beans.  They are really easy to make and reheat nicely. 

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