Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Ugly Duckling Chiles Rellenos

No, they're not beautiful, but the peppers came fresh from the farmers market and they're organic. Yes, the batter was a bit too thin, causing some of it to slip off the peppers while cooking. So they're not so pretty.

But the taste. Ah, the taste. Puffy and crispy with a taste only a very fresh pepper can give, then runny and cheesey on the inside with the contrast of chewy rice and tender chicken. It was delicious. A bit hot, but delicious.
Did I make these? Nope. Mr CC did,all by his very own self. Clever guy. All I had to do was eat and enjoy. My idea of a perfect meal.

Mr CC's Chiles Rellenos
4 poblano chiles
3 eggs, separated
1/3 cup white whole wheat flour, more if needed
1 cup good beer
salt and pepper to taste
cooked, shredded chicken
rice (we like Trader Joe's Rice Medley, a combination of brown rice, black barley and daikon radish seeds)
Monterey jack cheese, shredded
oil for the pan
Have all your ingredients at hand when you begin.
The rice was cooked in advance. Ours was cooked in chicken broth with cumin, corriander and ancho chile powder. We keep shredded, home-rotisseried chicken in small packages in the freezer for times such as this.
Char, peel and de-seed the peppers, keeping the stem ends intact. Allow to cool. I wish I'd taken photos of the process, but I wasn't in the kitchen at the time.
Stuff each pepper with rice, chicken and cheese. Close the peppers up as best you can. Not always easy to do, but do your best.
Whisk the egg yolks, flour, salt, pepper and beer until well blended. Add more flour if the batter isn't the consistency of pancake batter.
Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks then gently fold into the batter.
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat and add about 1/3 cup of oil, such as canola.
Gently dip a stuffed pepper into the batter mixture, coating it all over.
Ever so gently, drop it into the hot skillet.
Repeat with the remaining peppers.
Using tongs, rotate the peppers in the skillet until they are tender and golden brown on all sides.
Remove to paper towels to drain.
Serve with a cooling cucumber and tomato salad.

Cook's Notes:
Although these were labeled poblanos at the farmers market, which I've always found to be a mild chile, a few of them had turned red and were quite hot to the tongue (and the rest of the mouth), which was a surprise to me. I would suggest you ask your vendor about the heat scale of the chiles before buying.
You can read about charring and peeling peppers, plus see a recipe for a sauce that would go well with this dish by clicking here.
Sorry about the lighting in these photos, it was night time.

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