Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Chiles Rellenos

*Edit: We've since made this using hot peppers AND regular ol' green garden peppers, which pleases the younger set of the family enormously. It's a yummy way to use up a bounty of peppers and is received better than the more common and infamous "stuffed peppers."

Not only does John think my chiles rellenos are better than those of the fancy-schmancy Mexican restaurant in the city, but this is one of his most favorite meals now. The humdinger is that I found myself surprised by the fact that it is now also one of my favorites. I've been craving it, and if we had hot peppers hiding in our snow-shrouded garden and if I was excited about gaining 20 more pounds in the next two months, I'd eat this meal a few times a week.

These really are delicious, and the sauce is so good, I could happily eat it plain. The batter around the peppers is an unusual one for me, made only of eggs. It is light and airy, with an almost spongy consistency, rather than the thicker coating that one usual finds in fried foods. The sauce is a heavenly mixture of spicy and sweet. (I'm hungry just thinking about it.) And the rice? Well...it's rice!

@ 6 Poblano and 4 Anaheim peppers (or the equivalent amount of others), roasted and seeds and skin removed
6-8 oz. Monterey Jack cheese (we just use part of an 8 oz. block from Aldi), cut into sticks nearly the length of the peppers
6 eggs, separated
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
canola oil, for frying

Remove the stems and seeds from the peppers and roast before removing the skins. Mix the flour and salt in a small bowl. (Meanwhile, prepare rice and sauce. I usually cook up 1 and 1/2 to 2 cups dry rice.) Beat egg whites to stiff peaks and gently fold in yolks. Heat canola oil in fryer or in deep pot on the stove, to a two-inch minimum depth. When oil sizzles when a pinch of flour is dropped into it, it is hot enough. Wrap peppers around cheese, roll in the flour mixture, and carefully coat with the egg batter. Drop in the oil and fry until golden brown on each side. Drain on paper towels and then set aside on a wire cooling rack on top of a rimmed cookie sheet in a 250 degree oven to remain hot until all peppers are done.

Serve over rice and top with sauce. Eat immediately, and then scoop out seconds.

* The first time I made this, I used jalepenos from our garden. Too hot! The last two times our garden was barren, and we bought Poblano and Anaheim peppers. Some were too mild, perhaps the Anaheim. For ease of preparation, Poblanos are best, because they are the biggest and easier to wrap completely around the cheese.

* I find the easiest way to roast peppers is to simply broil them close the the heat until the skin is charred and bubbly. Turn them for even roasting, and then the skin is easy to remove. (There are internet tutorials with pictures somewhere, too; I'm just not good enough to provide them!)

* When working with hot peppers, one should use gloves, as the acid from them can burn fingers and hands. I know from experience that this is no old wive's tale...

Red Sauce

About 20 small romas, peeled and seeded (The first time, I used our garden goods, but the last two times, I used the equivalent of home-canned tomatoes-- perhaps a quart and a half-- with excellent results. I left in some of the liquid so that I could simmer the sauce down and let the flavors meld.)
one onion, chopped
8 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
olive oil
1 tsp. salt.
@ 1/2 tsp. cinnamon (I've noticed the last several times, I've added more than this, to taste)
several shakes ground cloves
ground cayenne, to taste
a few shakes of garlic powder, to taste

Saute onion in a bit of olive oil until tender. Add garlic and spices and saute for about 30 seconds to a minute. Add tomatoes, break them down with a spoon, and simmer for about 30 minutes or until sauce is reduced to your liking.

* If using fresh tomatoes- ah, summer!- then pop the tomatoes in boiling water for about one minute before slipping them out of their skins. I don't bother with the seeding for either fresh or canned tomatoes. Just dump 'em in; no one will notice except Martha, and I doubt she's eating at any of our places on a regular basis.


Rebecca said...

I think I have gone through all of them now...and my oh my. Can I just say, I LOVE your food blog? It is made up of such interesting and fun foods!

Thanks for taking the time to post all these recipes, I already have a list made up of ones I am going to try...

Sarah said...

I am very impressed. I'm going to try this one; you are one fancy lady.

Abigail said...

When I posted this 7 years ago, we didn't have as many growing bellies in the house. Now I make HUGE amounts of everything, so if you have growing bellies in your house, too, disregard my stated amounts and plan on using a dozen and 1/2 eggs or so for the batter, cooking up 3 cups of dry rice, making a big ol' pot of the sauce, and so on.

Also set aside your entire afternoon and early evening for making it all, 'cause this is a fiddly recipe.

Abigail said...

Nearly EIGHT years ago?! My. Time flies.