Sunday, August 17, 2014

Chiles Rellenos

It means "stuffed peppers" in Spanish. Like everything, there are variations up the wazoo, because of taste preference, spiciness preference, regional traditions, and straight-up lack of or overabundance of know-how. I pretty much don't care at all about any other variation because.... well, this shiz is amazing, and ya don't fix what's not brok(en).

The recipe is cheese, encompassed in a vegetable, egged, fried, put into a delicious heart-attack sauce.... and accompanied by tortillas. Its a caloric nightmare, high in fat (at least its good stuff), and absolutely smothered in dairy. Healthy in any way? I'm not even going to try to justify it. There's some coconut oil in there, and some full-fat dairy... and veggies, but other than that, this isn't a good dish to eat on a regular basis. But is it delicious? You bet your buttons it is.

As always, this is a ridiculously time consuming recipe with way too many steps, but the outcome is delicious and technically vegetarian AND gluten free!

You're going to need a mixing bowl for whipping egg whites, a small bowl to hold egg yolks, a pan for roasting your peppers (every time I write "peppers," I first type "chiles," then have to delete it), a pan to make and contain your sauce, a pan to fry the peppers in, and a cooling rack for the chiles to rest on. Its a long list. And you're going to have a lot of dishes. This is also a doing-5-things-at-once recipe, so novice cooks, beware.

(Photography compliments of my phone - my four year-old decided my DSLR needed to be the catch of the day when he went "fishing" with his belt - when he saw that saw what he was doing, he straight up dropped it. Children are not expensive because of food and clothing. Episodes like this are why children are expensive. Woosah...)

They're smaller than store-bought Poblanos,
but I GREW these sexy peppers.


8 Poblano or Anaheim peppers (of just use Jalapeños if you like spicy things)
3 eggs
Cheese of your choice, cut into sticks small enough to fit inside your peppers.
1 C oil - I use this coconut oil

3 Tbsp oil
1 white onion, sliced into rings
4 roma or 2 beefsteak tomatoes, sliced into rings (or tomato paste, cuz sometimes we have to cheat)
2 small jalapeños, minced
2 large cloves fresh garlic (just keep garlic bulbs on hand at all times, it has its benefits!)
16 oz sour cream
1-2 C whole (raw, if you can find it!) milk
salt, to taste - start with 1 Tbsp


1. Roast your chiles on the stove or grill over medium-low heat. The grill is easier, but the stove is convenient so you don't forget they're cooking (it takes a while, and if you're anything like me, you'll find something shiny and lose track of time).

2. While the chiles are roasting, cut the cheese (*snort*) into sizes according to your peppers. I had TINY poblanos because they were from my garden, so I cut tiny pieces of cheese. If you have enormous peppers from the store, cut multiple thin slices to fit into the peppers. Don't cut huge chunks - the small slices will allow heat to circulate through the cheese and help it melt. Set your cheese aside.

This is seriously my cutting board right now.

3. Heat your oil on medium heat in a large, deep skillet. You could even use a dutch oven. Or a cauldron. Whichever. When the oil is warmed, add the sliced onion and stir so that the oil covers the onions.

** Don't forget about the peppers! Remember to turn them so they char on all sides! **

4. After about a minute, add your tomatoes to the onions. They're going to kind of cook into a bit of a mush. That's okay, it's just for flavor, not style. Then add the garlic and diced jalapeñoes and stir. The onions should only become translucent, not cooked heavily like in most of my other recipes! Turn the heat off and set aside.

5. Your chiles are hopefully fully roasted at this point. Some people try to take the very top layer of skin off. I don't care enough to do this, and I kindof like the charred flavor it adds. So that part is up to you - it tastes equally delicious, to me.

6. Slice an incision along ONE side of the pepper, and try to get the veins and seeds out as much as possible without totally destroying the pepper. Try to retain it's shape. Seriously. Now stick the cheese in there. Set them aside.

8. Add the cup of cooking oil to your frying pan and turn it to medium-high heat.

9. While you're waiting for the oil to heat, separate the three eggs - yolks in the small bowl I mentioned earlier, whites in the larger mixing bowl. Whip the egg whites - I use a decade-old 3-speed version of this bad boy. Beat the egg whites until they're past the stiff stage - beat them until when you lift the beaters out of them, the whites stay RIGHT where they are. Then, fold in the egg yolks - try not to break down the awesome whipping job you just did.

10. Dip the chiles into the egg mixture and cover them with eggy foam. Turn the frying oil to medium heat, and add your chiles one-by-one. Fry until a light golden-color, and place on your cooling rack so they don't stay super-greasy.

11. While the peppers are frying, go back to your pan with the onion/tomato mixture in it. Add your sour cream and milk to the vegetable mixture and stir until consistent. It should have the consistency of a very lightly thickened soup. If it needs more milk for consistency's sake, add it. It should also be a very light pink. If there's not enough tomato flavor, that's where the mater-paste comes into play (note the can hiding under my hand mixer in the pic above).

12. Add salt, stir, and taste the cream sauce. Add more salt if you'd like. I tend to add roughly around 2 Tbsp in total.

13. When all the egged peppers are done frying, add to the cream sauce and cover them in it. Begin to heat at a VERY low temperature. That low temp is vital - too high and your sour cream will get curd-y. The texture is awful, even though it pretty much tastes the same.

14. When temperature is warm enough - y'know - like warm food temperature - turn off the heat and serve with tortillas. Gluten free-ers, use corn tortillas. When I'm being lazy and buy them, these are my favorite. These are my husband's favorite, because he would probably die without his flour tortillas. Again, for when I'm too damn lazy to make my own. Which is all the time. Shame

Take your blood pressure after you eat this. Then cry. Then go get seconds. NOM NOM NOM.

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