Is it possible to fall in love with a chile pepper?
After posting a comment on the blog a couple of weeks ago, I realized that, yes, it is absolutely possible to fall in love with a chile pepper.
I became absolutely enchanted with a bunch of Pasilla Chiles at the farmers market. I loved the shape and the color of the chiles, I had to take them home and I knew that the chile rellenos recipe was calling me. I was excited to roast the chiles in my oven, steam them and peel off their skins. I gently stuffed the chiles, battered and cooked them. Finally, I covered them with a generous amount of sauce. What a delight! So much so that since posting my comment on the blog… I have been possessed by the Pasilla Chiles twice more. I thought you might enjoy my inspiration.
For the Sauce –
*8 Roma tomatoes
*2 fresh Jalapeno peppers
*1 large white onion – peeled and chopped in half
*3 cloves garlic
*1/2 bunch of Cilantro
*1/2 C. chicken broth
*1/2 tsp. ground cumin
*1/2 tsp. dried oregano
*1/2 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
*salt to taste
Place tomatoes, jalapenos onion and garlic in large pot of water to boil. When the skins starts to peel away from the tomato and it is at a rolling boil for 5 minutes, drain the tomatoes, peppers, onion and garlic of water and place them in a food processor. Process just enough to begin to chop and combine the ingredients. Add cleaned and trimmed cilantro to the work bowl and continue to process. At this point the consistency of the sauce is a personal one… if you like it chunky process less and if you like it smooth process it more. When the sauce is at a consistency to your liking, place it in a large sauce pot on the stove at medium heat. Add the chicken broth, cumin, oregano, cayenne and salt. Continue to heat. Reserve one cup of sauce to the side.
For the Chiles Rellenos –
*4 chile peppers – Pasilla or Anaheim –
*1/2 lb. Mexican Cheese – Cacique Queso Anejo or Jack Cheese works just as well
*5 egg whites
*3 egg yolks
*1/2 tsp. salt
*corn oil for cooking the chiles
There is no mystery to roasting your own chiles, it just takes patience and a watchful eye. Turn your oven on to broil. Place chiles on a pan on the top rack of your oven. Be sure to keep the oven door slightly ajar. The skin on the chiles will start to blister and pop, keep a watchful eye as they will start to become dark and almost charred, then turn them over and repeat on the other side. When done, place the chiles in a bag sealed tight to steam. Cool chiles completely. Gently rub the skin of the chile and begin to peel it away. Make an opening the length of the chile and carefully clean out the center membrane and seeds.
Cut the cheese into 4 wedges to stuff into the chiles. Place a wedge of cheese into each chile and secure opening with a couple of sturdy tooth picks through the cheese wedge. Place stuffed chiles in the refrigerator to chill for about 30 minutes.
Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. In a separate bowl beat egg yolks and then add the salt to the yolks. Gently fold the egg yolks into the egg whites until combined.
Place about 1 1/2 inches of corn oil in a pan and heat to medium high. Dip each stuffed chile into egg mixture, coating well. Place the stuffed and coated chiles into the hot pan and cook each side until golden brown.
At this point I have heated sauce on the stove in a large pot and I like to place the cooked chile rellenos in the sauce for about 5. I transfer the chile rellenos to a plate, top with a little extra sauce and accompany them with homemade frijoles, cilantro lime rice and a couple of hot corn tortillas. I place the reserved sauce on the table with dinner… is there such a thing as too much sauce?