Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Creamy Chiles Rellenos

Chiles Rellenos are traditionally battered and fried, crispy and fattening. My mother initially created this recipe for a lighter alternative, skipping the heavy exterior and replacing it with a creamy sauce. This is much easier to make than the fried version; all you need is basic kitchenware and fresh ingredients. Although these peppers aren't fried, I can't say they aren't fattening since they're still packed with cheese! I don't mind the fat, I'll eat just about anything (in moderation) - I just wish I would make the time to cook these more often.

The beans are so simple that they don't require a recipe; I just heat up some olive oil, minced garlic and Mexican chili powder, add romano beans from a can and mash it all up. Lazy, I know...but so fast and still full of great flavor. For me, beans are an essential part of any Mexican meal, the perfect addition to an infinite number of dishes - even from a can I still must have them!

Back to the peppers...this recipe will probably always be one of my favorites. I think that certain foods from childhood always hold a special appeal; they bring up warm memories and no matter how wonderful the food can be at nice restaurants, nothing is comforting like my mom's cooking.

Recipe after the jump.

Chiles Rellenos

  • 6  poblano peppers (wash well, including area around the stem)
  • ½  onion, finely chopped
  • 1  jalapeño, minced
  • 1  large clove of garlic, minced
  • 250g monterey jack cheese, cubed to ½” size
  • 1 large tomato, chopped to ½” size
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
  • 1  cup of sour cream or to personal taste
(We made a few changes this time: a combination of havarti and cheddar cheese (monterey jack is ideal but this combination was a nice substitute) in the peppers and extra garlic in the sauce.)

    1. Set oven to broil. 
    2. Cut circles around the stems of the poblanos. Remove stems and trim the excess pepper from around them, mince and set aside. 
    3. Clean out the seeds and place peppers on a baking tray. Broil on the middle rack (to prevent burning) for 5 minutes, then turn and broil for another 5 minutes or until the skin on the peppers is roasted and blistered. Remove tray from oven, cover with tin foil and let rest for 10-15 minutes. 
    4. Using gloves (to avoid fiery fingers), peel the blistered skin off the peppers and fill each pepper with cheese cubes.
    5. Heat about 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil at medium high heat. Add the onions, trimmed poblano bits, jalapeño and garlic - sauté until the onions start to become translucent. Add tomato, stir, lower the heat to medium and cover. Cook covered for approximately 5 minutes or until sauce thickens.
    6. Push the sauce to the center of the pan and place the cheese-filled peppers around the edge standing up (to prevent cheese from spilling out), lower the heat. Cover and continue cooking just long enough for the cheese to melt. Turn heat off. 
    7. Stir the salt and sour cream into the sauce, mixing well, then spoon some sauce on top of the peppers and around them. Cover and let sit for about 5 minutes. Serve!

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