Thursday, August 8, 2013

Chile Rellenos...Cheese Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Chile Rellenos...Cheese Stuffed Poblano Peppers. 

Mexican food....and chile rellenos. These are a lot of work so To be truthfully honest, I've never made the chille rellenos because of all the frying that's involved. Not that I don't fry. I probably fry a few times during the year...and since I couldn't remember when I last fried anything, I decided it was about that time:).
While this was my first attempt at making and eating chile rellenos, I thought to share a few tips I've learned below:
  • It makes frying a TON easier by having the stem on the poblanos...really important to buy poblanos with stems on( gives you a nice grip on the chiles before placing them in the hot oil).... and you want the chiles to be as straight as you can get them(free of too many wrinkles as the wrinkles will cause tears).
  • While some recipes have you deep-fry the peppers, I found that a shallow fry( with about 1-2 inches of oil) was just right for the peppers.
  • Freezing the stuffed chiles before battering them up helps tremendously... so that the chiles don't unravel or worse yet have cheese ooze out when frying.
  • Baking the chiles after they have been fried, renders out some more of the fat and crisps up the chiles quite nicely...at the same time ensures the cheese melts and is piping hot when you serve them. It's also nice because you can fry ahead and then re-crisp them later.
  • Though I prefer the chile rellenos freshly made, I found that freezing them after they have been fried and re-heating them in the oven/toaster doesn't affect the overall taste or flavor. It's only a thought... especially if you are making a larger batch and don't want to eat them all at one sitting:). I made four.... we ate 2 (freshly made) and froze 2... we enjoyed the latter just as much a couple of weeks later. But, it is up to you...
  • Be creative with the filling...opt to add meat, onion, garlic and other vegetables for more flavor and variety. The cheese filling is much milder in taste...though excellent.
  • While I used a homemade chile/tomato sauce for the photos, Imuch prefer an enchilada sort of sauce using dried peppers...such as my easy homemade red chile sauce, which I served with my second batch.
I ended up looking at a few recipes  Hope you enjoy...

Note: If using 4 peppers, you will probably have about 1/2 cup (or so) leftover batter...try using it to make some quick stuffed jalapenos (stuffed with crab or cheese...or whatever you like). I had some fresh sage leaves growing in my garden and I chose to batter them up:).

You will need:

Chiles and Stuffing:
4-5 large fresh poblanos
8 oz grated melting cheese*
* I used a mixture...(5 oz of pepper jack cheese and 3 oz. queso fresco cheese)

Batter: I think next time I would like to add some onion powder, for extra flavor and just to make it my own:)
2/3 cup flour
pinch of baking powder, optional
1/2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
2 eggs separated
1/3 cup water, or as needed

Extra:
flour for dredging chiles
oil for frying, I used grapeseed

Directions:

1. Roast chiles...either on the grilll or in oven/toaster oven under broiler.This time around, I made them in the toaster oven. Cover and let steam. Peel peppers and cut a slit on one side from top to almostthe bottom...de-seed being careful not to tear the chiles and rinsereally quickly. Keep the stems in tact.
2. Stuff the chiles with cheese...leaving enough room to be able to overlap the chile. I like to keep the chile in the palm of my hand while stuffing the chile and then molding it to make sure the cheese settles in the entire pepper. Try not to overstuff the peppers....but still have plenty of cheese.
3. Use toothpicks to secure(being careful not to tear the chiles)...or if you are confident, skip the toothpicks.
4. Do the same with all the peppers and place them in the freezer 1-2 hours ...or until hardened.


Make Batter:
Remove the peppers from the freezer, just before making the batter.

1. Mix flour, salt and pinch of baking powder in a bowl.
2. Separate eggs.... adding the egg yolks to the flour mixture. Place the egg whites in another bowl.
3. Combine the flour mixture with the egg yolks and slowly stir in 1/3 cup water...
4. Beat egg whites till stiff.
5. Fold the egg whites into the batter.... being careful not to over-mix and deflate the batter. The batter should slowly fall off the spoon... not too watery not to stiff.

Assemble Chile Rellenos:
While I left the toothpicks on the whole time...I think it would be better to remove the toothpicks after you take the chiles out from the freezer and before placing the chile in the batter... or simply remove before serving, just don't forget:).

1. Heat a skillet on med heat. Add oil( 1 inch high or so) and bring temperature to 350 deg F.
2. Dredge chiles in a bit of flour and then dip in batter. You will probably need to spoon some of the batter over the chiles so that it gets evenly coated.
3. Holding the chile by the stem, slowly drop it in the hot oil, cook until nicely golden on one side, and then turn over and cook the second side till golden. Remove unto paper towel or a rack. If you have room in your skillet, you can do more than one chile at a time.

5. Right before serving place the fried chiles on a baking sheet and bake at 400 deg F for a few more minutes...or until crisp and hot. Some of the the oil in the batter will get rendered out a bit. Serve at once....over a tomato/chile based sauce or enchilada sauce or tomato broth.

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