We harvested very nice peppers from our garden, and I wanted to make one of Phil’s favorite dishes, Chile Rellenos. However, I wanted a version that would not be overloaded with cheese, which is not very common. The husband found a recipe online that seemed to fit the bill for us, and I went to work. It was involved, time-consuming, but absolutely worth it!
(slightly modified from Diana Dávila)
for the sauce:
10 plum tomatoes, diced
3 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
2 teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed
¼ cup grapeseed oil
1 large shallot, diced
2 Serrano chiles, thinly sliced
2 cups carrot juice
1 cup chicken stock
For the Rellenos:
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 shallot, diced
1 small Granny Smith apple, diced
1 + 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
¼ cup raisins
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 pound ground pork (I used ground turkey)
⅛ teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
8 poblano chiles
¾ cup all-purpose flour
For the Batter:
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
6 egg whites
Fine sea salt, as needed
Canola oil, for frying
Prepare the sauce: In a large bowl, toss plum and cherry tomatoes with 1 teaspoon salt.
Use your hands to smush the tomatoes until their skins soften and break apart, then let sit for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in large pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add shallot, sliced chiles and ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened but not browned. Stir in tomatoes and their liquid, bring to a simmer, and continue to simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in carrot juice, stock and ½ teaspoon salt, and simmer for another 20 minutes. Use an immersion blender (or transfer mixture
to a regular blender) and blend briefly; the mixture should still be somewhat chunky.
Make the filling: In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the shallot, apple, and salt, and cook, stirring, until the apples and shallot soften, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in raisins, vinegar and brown sugar, and cook until reduced to a glaze, about 4 minutes. Stir in ground pork (or turkey) and red-pepper flakes, and use a metal spoon to break up the pork into pieces. Cook until pork is no longer pink and much of the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Raise the heat and let the pork take on a little color at the edges, 5 to 10 minutes longer. Reserve.
Roast the poblanos: Heat the broiler, and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Arrange poblanos in an even layer, and broil until blackened on one side, 4 to 6 minutes. Turn over and blacken the other side, another 4 to 6 minutes, then transfer to a large heat-proof bowl. Cover and let steam until softened, 10 to 15 minutes. Peel the blackened skin off the poblanos, then cut a slit in one side of each pepper and remove seeds (keep the stems). Stuff the poblanos with the filling, folding poblano seams together. Place flour on a plate, and gently roll stuffed peppers in flour to coat. Transfer to a rimmed baking
sheet and freeze for 20 to 30 minutes.
Make the batter: Place egg yolks in a large bowl and beat until frothy. Place egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer and whip to stiff peaks. Fold the egg yolks into the whites, along with a pinch of salt. Heat 1¼ inches of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, dip one pepper by its stem into egg batter, then transfer to hot oil. Fry until golden on all sides, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining peppers, making sure not to crowd the pan. Transfer fried peppers as they cook to a wire rack placed over a rimmed baking sheet, and immediately sprinkle with salt.
When all the peppers are fried, reheat sauce. Lower peppers into sauce and simmer for
2 to 3 minutes, so the batter absorbs the sauce. Transfer to serving plates and spoon
more sauce on top.
to print the recipe, click here
Comments: As you know, I don’t lie. This is a bit of a cooking marathon, so I advise you to do what I did, spread the preparation over two days. The day before I made the sauce, including juicing the carrots myself. Easy decision once I saw the price of 100% pure carrot juice versus going to work. I also made the filling. Next day, I roasted the peppers, and the final preparation was painless. I kept the amount of sauce and filling the same, but only made 6 rellenos, so I reduced the amount of batter. There was leftover filling and a little leftover sauce. Two nice items to have around for a quick lunch.
The best tip of this recipe is freezing the rellenos after coating with flour. It makes all the difference in the world, they hold the shape better and make your life easier. Think of incorporating that step if you use a different recipe.
We ate like kings, this is a real keeper. I won’t say that we’ll be making it all the time because it is a labor of love, but it is a great project for weekend cooking or for having company over.
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