CHIC EATS: Chile Relleno [RECIPE]

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Relleno

Ingredients:

Fresh Cilantro (1 Cup)

Garlic (3 Cloves)

Onions (1/2 Cup)

Poblano Pepper (4)

Serrano Pepper (1/2)

Chihuahua Cheese (6 Ounces)

Eggs, Large (3)

Canned Tomatoes, Diced (2 (14 Ounces each))

Black Pepper

Chili Powder (2 Teaspoons)

Cornmeal (1/2 Cup)

Cumin (1 Teaspoon)

Ground Cinnamon (1/4 Teaspoon)

Kosher Salt

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (4 Tablespoons)

Vegetable Oil (1 1/2 Cups)

Directions:

Cornmeal should be gluten free, but it’s always a good idea to check the packaging. See the testing behind this recipe here. Preheart the broiler on high. Place peppers on a sheet pan. Set under broiler and toast until skins are charred, about 7-10 minutes. Flip halfway to char evenly. You’ll need to set your own timer for this step.

Prepare a food processor with the blade attachment. Smash the garlic under the side of your chef’s knife to remove the peel. Place in the food processor. Trim cilantro leave from the stems and pack the measuring cup full. Place the indicated amount in the food processor. Cut serrano in half and add to the food processor. Remove seeds for less spice; add whole pepper for more spice. Avoid touching your face when handling pepper, and wash hands immediately after.

Roughly chop an onion to measure the indicated amount. Add to the food processor. Strain canned tomatoes and place in the food processor along with olive oil. Puree until mixture is smooth.

Once peppers are charred, place in large plastic bag. Seal tightly and let steam for 10 minutes. Separate the egg yolks from egg whites. Place egg whites in a very clean, medium mixing bowl. Let come to room temperature before whisking.  Place egg yolks in large mixing bowl.

Remove steamed peppers from the bag. Use hands to peel skin off. If your skin is sensitive, you might want to wear plastic gloves while handling the peppers. Carefully cut slit down the center of a pepper. Start near stem end, stopping about 1/2-1 inch from the bottom. If a slit formed while roasting, use that as your opening. Use a small spoon to scrape out the seeds that grow from the top near the stem; it can help to use a small knife to cut the root inside. I prefer to leave the stem intact so the pepper stays together better.

Season the inside of each pepper with salt. Cut cheese into 1 inch cubes, then stuff into each pepper. I like to keep the cubes thick to help the pepper hold a rounder shape while also trimming them to fit easily inside. You want about 1-2 ounces per pepper. Gently pull the edges of the pepper over the cheese, then use 2 toothpicks to secure it closed.

Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil, cumin and chili powder and warm until spices start to smell fragrant and toasty, about 2-3 minutes. Stir often. Once spices are toasted, pour in tomato puree. Season with salt and pepper, then bring to a gentle simmer. Let sauce simmer for (10-15 minutes) to develop the flavor. Continue to stir often.

Whip egg whites until stiff peaks form; that is, you can lift your whisk and the tips of the egg whites stay pointed and firm. you can use electric beaters for this if you prefer. Whisk eggs yolks with cinnamon, then carefully fold the stiff egg whites into the egg yolks. Use a rubber spatula to transfer the whites into the yolks, then gently cut the spatula into the mixture and lift the mixture up and over itself. Turn the bowl as you work, slowly incorporating the ingredients. This movement will keep the batter light and airy.

Measure cornmeal into medium, shallow bowl. Prepare a plate with layers of paper towels. place plate near the stove for the cooked rellenos. Pour oil into large saute pan until it’s about 1-2 inches deep. You want a deep-sided pan for this, or you can use a large pot. Warm the oil until bubbles form quickly around a test of batter dropped into the oil.

Once the oil is warm, carefully place a pepper into the cornmeal. Use your hands to dust the pepper all over with the cornmeal until evenly coated. Then, carefully lower the pepper into the batter. Use a spoon to cover and pepper evenly, then gently transfer the pepper to the oil. Use caution when lowering the pepper into the oil. Use a spatula or slotted spoon to help place it in the pan.

Repeat with remaining peppers. You will need room to flip the peppers over, so don’t crowd the pan. Work in batches if necessary. Fry until peppers are golden brown on one side, the carefully flip and fry the second side until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer cooked rellenos to the plate of paper towels, and season with salt while still warm.

To serve the chile rellenos, scoop some tomato sauce into the shallow bowl or onto dinner plates. Remove toothpicks, then place a hot relleno on top with extra sauce on the side. Serve warm!

Thank you to Cooking Planit & Emily Wilson for the recipe!

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