Tag Archives: poblano

Mini Chile Rellenos

So, you’re out at a restaurant, perusing the menu.  How do you decide what to order?  I abide by a pretty simple rule:  order something I don’t usually cook at home.  Sometimes this is because an ingredient is just not in my pantry, such as saffron or a mixture of wild mushrooms.  Other times there are ingredients just not available in the local stores such as goat or rabbit or a unique cheese.

But the absolute king of all reasons to order out and not cook a dish at home is that the preparation will make my kitchen look like Armageddon arrived, twice.  For that last reason, chile rellenos are a total favorite to order at restaurants.  At home, I’ve made some darned good versions, but gawd, the mess makes me crazy!  Those tempting casserole versions have been given a test drive, but they just didn’t satisfy the craving for the real deal.  Here is a nice compromise – no deep frying, but all of the roasted poblano and cheese love.  These mini chile rellenos have all of the love of  roasted peppers and cheese without completely trashing the kitchen.  Bueno!

Mini Chile Rellenos

adapted from the Chile Rellenos de San Joaquin recipe on AllRecipes.com

Ingredients:

  • 5 poblano peppers, halved lengthwise, stems and seeds removed
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 can diced petite tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 6 ounces cotija cheese

Directions:

  1. Slice chiles in half lengthwise and remove stems and seeds.  Place chiles skin side up on a baking sheet, and broil until skins blister, about 6 minutes. Be careful not to let them burn. Remove chiles from the oven and return to the plastic bag, seal and set aside for 10 minutes.  Remove and discard the skins.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  3. Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Stir in sliced onions, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes with the liquid and cook until onions and tomatoes achieve a sauce-like consistency, about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally. Season with cumin.
  4. To assemble the chiles rellenos: Slice cheese into 10 long rectangles (or sticks) 1/4-inch thick and approximately as long as the chiles. Roll each cheese rectangle into a chile half. Place rolled chiles into a baking dish and top with the tomato sauce. Crumble any extra cheese on top of the sauce. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the sauce is bubbly.

Notes:

  • The cojita cheese holds together nicely, so these make great sides without falling apart in the pan.
  • The cojita can easily be replaced with jack or a mixture or whatever light cheeses you need to use up.  I figure that once you have the amazing taste of roasted poblanos, its tough to go wrong.
  • Best chile relleno ever?  The Chilaca at the totally amazing Blue Agave.  Best food combined with the worst web site ever. 
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Chile Relleno For the Soul

chile relleno casseroleHonestly, I crave chiles the way others crave chocolate. Jalapeños, habaneros, Anaheims, poblanos and so many more. Then, of course, there are the roasted versions of each, and we have not even touched on the dried peppers that add that perfect layer of flavor to so many dishes. This time, it was a deep need for roasted poblanos that prompted this dish. Sometimes, I’m so willing to do the whole deep fried chile rellenos, and its not the frying that bothers me as much as the clean up. After dinner, I just want to toss everything into the dish washer, shut the door and call it done.

If you are in a pinch for time or have not yet found the love for freshly roasted peppers and won’t trust me enough to try it this time around, go ahead and used the canned while peppers.

To roast peppers, follow these easy steps:

  • move top oven rack to about 3 or 4 inches below the burner.
  • set oven to broil
  • put peppers on a foil covered cookie sheet and pop them in the oven on that top rack
  • broil until the tops black. Not burned to a crisp black, but more like there is still a bit of green on the pepper showing but there are black blisters not only on the top but also creeping down the sides black.
  • flip over the peppers and broil again until perfectly blistered.
  • Remove baking sheet from oven, put peppers into that plastic bag you put them in at the grocery store, twist the bag to retain the heat, and let it all sit around on the counter for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • remove peppers from the bag, slide the blistered skins off with your fingers (don’t get all hung up on getting every little last bit of skin off, that’s really not the point here), and remove the stem and seeds. Once my hands are all gooey from removing the skins I just finish this last step bare handed. Some people go back to using a knife and being all proper. Doesn’t matter.

Knowing that not everyone in the family was craving poblanos, I did roast a few Anaheim chilis, just to be polite.

Ingredients:

  • 6 roasted peppers or 2 (7 ounce) cans whole green chile peppers, drained
  • 8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 8 ounces Longhorn or Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 (5 ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray an 8×8-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Lay half of the chilies evenly in bottom of baking dish. Sprinkle with half of the Jack and Cheddar cheeses, and cover with remaining chilies. In a bowl, mix together the eggs, milk, and flour, and pour over the top of the chilies.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove from oven, pour tomato sauce evenly over the top, and continue baking another 15 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining Jack and Cheddar cheeses, and serve.

Best Tortilla Soup Ever!

000_0054This weekend we were hosting the occasional home brewers’ group to do some, uh, home brewing. The brewers get started mid day, and generally the families join in the event a few hours later. I figured that doing some dinner would be comforting and had visions of soup and sammies dancing in my head. But, here in California, that quickly became Tortilla Soup and Quesadillas. Yum!

Tortilla soup is a staple in mi casa, with a batch prepared about once a month during the soup season. This time I was ready to play around with it. I started with some research, from my tried and true slow cooker version, to another barely more than broth with chicken and tortillas, and yet another in the “everything but the kitchen sink” soup variety. My mood was leaning towards something a bit leaner than my usual, but still needing a few items from the kitchen sink recipes. How can someone NOT include some black beans and corn in tortilla soup? That would just be wrong!

Lucky for me, the peppers and onions were fresh from a local farm stand. While a few tomatoes can still be found ’round here, I went for the canned variety as the freshies are not so reliable lately.

For our brewers’ gathering, I made huge amounts of this, so here is the scaled back recipe. This makes enough for a hungry family of 4 with left overs for lunch the next day.

Ingredients:

1 TBS vegetable oil

1 yellow onion, roughly diced

1 TBS chili powder

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 quart chicken broth / stock

1 lime, juiced

1 chicken breast, divided into 2 or 3 pieces

1/2 can corn, drained

1/2 can black beans, rinsed

1 Anaheim pepper, roasted and diced

1 Poblano pepper, roasted and diced

1 can diced tomatoes with jalapeno

Accompaniments:

3 corn tortillas, cut into 1/4 inch strips

1 Haas avocado, diced

1 cup grated jack cheese

low fat sour cream

handful cilantro, chopped

1 to 2 jalapenos, seeded and sliced

Directions:

1. Roast peppers. Line cookie sheet with foil and set oven on broil. Lay peppers on the cookie sheet and place under broiler until skin is blackened and blistering, turn over peppers and return to the oven until skin blackens and blisters on the other side. Place peppers in a plastic bag and seal so that peppers steam. When peppers are cool enough to handle, rub off the skins, and remove the seeds. Dice peppers and set aside.

2. In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium – low heat. Add onions and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and chili powder, and cook an additional 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Add chicken broth / stock, raise heat until the mixture simmers. Squeeze in the lime juice and add the chicken breast. Continue simmering for about 15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken to a plate to cool.

4. Add the roasted peppers, tomatoes, black beans and corn to the mixture. Return to a simmer and leave it alone for another 20 minutes.

5. When chicken is cool enough to handle, shred using two forks. Cover with foil and set aside.

6. Place cheese, cilantro, and jalapeños in serving dishes.

7. Serve soup with tortilla slices, avocado and chicken in the bottom of each bowl, topped with soup. Guests may help themselves to the remaining toppings.

Notes:

  • While roasting the chilies, I was sure appreciating those canned versions. But, when tasting the soup, I realized that roasting fresh chilis was an important component to the success this time around. Anaheims are a nice, safe addition, but I really love the poblanos with their stronger flavor. I am convinced that the roasted poblanos were a major contributor to the success.
  • There is no way to overestimate the patience needed with the onions at the start of this soup. Be kind to them and keep that heat low. Also, the low heat at the beginning keeps the garlic from getting that nasty burnt garlic flavor that can jump in way too quickly at this step. Patience!  (This is also an important skill to learn when cooking Indian curries.)
  • Go ahead and get your fingers and hands messy with the peppers. You’re going to chop them up anyways, so don’t worry about keeping them all perfect.
  • I know that half a can of corn and black beans sounds a bit odd, but more than that with these proportions will give you more of a stew. Just take the left overs, toss in a bit of tomato and Serrano chilies and ta-da, you’ve got a lovely salsa for tomorrow night!
  • Avocado in the bottom of the bowl?  Just try it once and you’ll be hooked!