Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Chile Rellenos

I love, love, LOVE me some chile rellenos!  I don't make them very often, but I'm starting to think I should.  They're just too good to not have them in your life at least once a month.   And if anyone participates in the whole "Meatless Monday" craze (we don't), these are a great meatless dish that is so very filling and satisfying that you won't even know what you're missing. 

You can do this two ways: the easy way, or the hard way.  The hard way consists of roasting and peeling your own chiles.  Its really not hard as much as it is time consuming.  You put them in the oven until the skins turn black, flip 'em over and blacken the other side.  Put the charred chiles in a sealed paper or plastic bag for 20 minutes and then peel the skins off.  Make a slit down the side of the chile and carefully remove the seeds from the inside and the stem (optional).

I chose the easy way this time.  I started with a can of roasted and peeled green chiles.  All you have to do to prep is rinse away the seeds from the inside of the chile.  That's it.  Much easier. 

To make your life easier, start with the sauce.  Heat some oil in a medium skillet and saute some garlic.  Throw in some flour and make a roux.

 Add a can of diced tomatoes or dice up a large fresh tomato and put it right in there.

 Add some chicken broth or powdered bullion (I went with the powder) and stir to combine. 

The tomatoes will release their water as they cook causing the contents of the pan to become more sauce-like.  You can help this along and crush the tomatoes with the back of your spoon or leave it chunky - up to you.  When you get a consistency that you like, remove the pan from the heat and set it to the side.  Put a lid on it to keep it warm. 
Prepare your chiles however you choose, either in the oven or from the can.  Also slice up some monterey jack cheese, about one slice per chile.  I should mention now that you may not use all the cheese you slice.  Sometimes you have to cut the slices to fit inside the chile and end up with leftover bits. 

Just stuff them as much as you can without tearing the chile.
Set these to the side as you prepare the batter.  Start by separating some eggs.

In a large bowl or a stand mixer, whip up the egg whites until they form soft peaks.
Add a dash of salt.

And slowly, ever so gently, fold in the egg yolks.

Now you need to set up an assembly line to finish this off because efficiency is key, here.  On the stove, start heating a large pan of oil, about an inch or more deep.  Closest to the stove, leave the egg mixture, but not too close that the heat from the stove will cause the mixture to separate.  Give it about 8-10 inches of space, at least.  On the other side of the egg mixture, leave a pan or a plate of plain flour for dredging your stuffed chiles (this step is optional, but I think it helps keep the egg on the chile).  Next to the flour, and furthest from the stove, have your stuffed chiles ready and waiting.

Roll your chiles in the flour, coating both sides.  Tap off the excess. 

Dip the chiles in the egg mixture making sure they are completely coated.  This is very messy.
Make sure that the oil in the pan is very hot.  Gently and slowly, lay your chiles in the oil and fry them for 45-60 seconds or until they turn golden brown. 

Flip them over gently and fry the other side for the same amount of time.  The egg batter will expand slightly during frying so its best to fry only two or three at a time, depending on how big your pan is, to avoid them expanding into each other, thus causing a flipping nightmare that could potentially lead to the destruction of a few chiles.  Do. Not. Want. 
Remove the chiles to a plate lined thickly with paper towels to absorb the excess oil.  Put a couple of these beauties on a plate with some rice and beans and top them off with that delicious sauce you made earlier. 

These are fabulous!!!  Better than any restaurant relleno I've ever had.  And if you're lucky enough to have left overs, they are just as delicious the second time around!

Chile Rellenos Recipe
8-10 green Anaheim Chiles (fresh or from the can), peeled and seeded
8-10 1/4 inch thick slices of monterey jack cheese
4 eggs, separated
1 pinch of salt
1/2 c. flour for dredging
2 c. oil for frying

Relleno Sauce
1 can diced tomatoes or 1 large fresh tomato, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp flour
1 tsp chicken bullion powder (1 cube)

to make the sauce:
Heat oil in a medium skillet, saute garlic for about 30 seconds and add flour.  Stir and heat for about 1 minute.  Add tomato and chicken bullion.  Stir thoroughly and simmer about 3-5 minutes until sauce reaches the desired consistency. 

to make the rellenos:
Whip egg whites until soft peaks form. Add salt and fold in egg yolks.  Set aside.  Stuff chiles with cheese, roll in flour and tap off excess.  Dip chiles in egg mixture and transfer to hot oil.  Fry rellenos for 45-60 seconds per side or until they are golden brown.  Remove from oil and drain on paper towels.  Top with sauce.