01 June 2010

Chile Rellenos: A Tutorial

A few weekends ago, I was at my cousin's house. She has begged me to make her chile rellenos like she grew up eating in Colorado. Smothered in green sauce and stuffed with queso blanco (white cheese, I used Monterey Jack because I couldn't find authentic Mexican cheese at the particular store I went to; they can also be stuffed with meat), chile rellenos are actually pretty simple to make. The problem is that they can be time consuming.

Look at that sweet little thing, helping her auntie Nina

You have to roast the peppers and then let them sweat til they're cool enough to handle to get the skin off. Then you have to remove the seeds without completely tearing the chiles apart. Stuff them with cheese, dredge them in flour, and then coat them with a puffy batter. Fry 'em up and keep them warm while making a sauce for them. I'd rather just go to a Mexican restaurant and little the abuelita make them for me. Anything I make isn't going to be nearly as good as an actual Mexican grandma's rellenos.

Boy was I wrong! These things were fantastic! And well worth the trouble. My only complaint was that I had to use about 100 toothpicks to keep them together before battering and frying them. It was my own fault for not being extremely gentle with the roasted peppers though. Next time, I might not even remove the seeds since that's what gives them the heat. Unfortunately, I forgot to make sauce to put over the top so it wasn't exactly what my poor cousin had wanted, but she still loved it. We ate them so fast, I wasn't able to get a picture of the finished meal on a plate. We had the chiles with refried beans and flour tortillas, but next time I'll do some cilantro-lime rice, black beans, and corn tortillas. Enjoy!

Chile Rellenos

6 poblano chiles (figure about 2 for each person)
A block of white, melting cheese, cut into 1-inch rectangles (Oaxaca or Chihuahua are preferred, but Monterey Jack or even just plain queso blanco work well too; no hard cheeses)
3 eggs, separated (you want one egg for every 2 peppers)
Vegetable oil
  1. Preheat broiler. Wash and dry your chiles. Place on a baking sheet and put on the top rack of your oven. Allow to broil until the skin is blackened on one side, about 8 minutes. Turn chiles over and cook until the other side is blackened. Remove from oven and place the chiles in a ziplock bag. Allow to sweat for approximately 30 minutes or until cool enough to handle (alternatively, you can use the flame on your gas stove or you BBQ grill; it's quicker and won't cook the peppers all the way through).
  2. Cut a slit near the top of each pepper and remove the seeds and the white pith (it's easiest to cut all the way through one side, but then you'll have to use toothpicks to close it back up). Stuff the pepper with two or three pieces of cheese (you want enough cheese to make it full, but not so much that the pepper won't stay in tact). Dredge the chiles through the flour making sure all sides have been evenly coated. Shake off any excess and set aside.
  3. To prepare the batter: whip the egg white to stiff peaks. Whisk the yolks with a pinch or two of salt ad then slowly mix in with the egg whites (you should have a very fluffy, light yellow batter; use it quickly as it will begin to breakdown and become runny pretty quickly).
  4. In a large frying pan, heat the oil until very hot. Coat on chile at a time int he batter and place in the hot oil (my pan was able to hold two peppers at a time so I cooked one side of the first one, and when it was time to turn it over, I added the second one; this made the process go by pretty quickly). Allow to cook until the first side is golden brown. Turn and cook the next side. Remove to plate with paper towels to drain (feel free to stick them in a lightly wamred oven to keep them warm depending on how many chiles you're cooking). Serve with your favorite chile sauce.


Kristin said...

Those sound amazing. I want Mexican right now!

Leedslass said...

You obviously love cooking to go to all that trouble - I'm afraid not something to add to my repertoire. Chilis and me don't mix :-)