Friday, November 5, 2010

Back in time... Chiles Rellenos


I miss living in Arizona (sometimes).  The sun.  The dry heat.  The food.

Everytime I go back I make sure I hit up my favorite food and drink spots.  No Anchovies, Rosa's, Nico's, The Shelter, The Buffet, Taco Bron (now called Papas y Beer, I think).

As if I needed to tell you this, but the Mexican food in Boston is... well.... to put it lightly... crap.  It's either over-Americanized or over-thought, and never nearly as authentic.  Maybe its the lack of lard?  The boring tortillas?  And even though I might seem like I'm complaining about this... like I expect someone to *finally* open the ideal taco stand, I'm perfectly happy about this situation.  Why?  Because food tastes best when it grows near where you live.  When you find me an avocado tree or some Hatch green chilies growing in Massachusetts... then I will start to get antsy for some real Mexican food.  But that's not what we do here.  We do lobster and clams.  They grow here.  Its why our Lobster Rolls and Clam Chowder are famous and why you can't really reproduce them anywhere else.

But that doesn't mean I can't try.... :)

I haven't had chiles rellenos since I left AZ, so I think that puts it at around 4 years.  When I was at the farmer's market last week, you won't believe what I saw.  POBLANOS.  Yeah, that's right. So I snatched them up and was on a mission to make some delicious Mexican food because a smart woman once said,
"....food tastes best when it grows near where you live.  When you find me an avocado tree or some Hatch green chilies growing in Massachusetts... then I will start to get antsy for some real Mexican food."
Seeing poblanos sitting in a bin having traveled only 50 or so miles to Boston from my CSA farm made that statement true as day.

Ingredients
Poblano peppers
cheddar cheese (I bought a block and cut it in slices.  If shredded works better for you, fine)
cojita cheese
soy-rizo (or use real chorizo, up to you, but I think Trader Joe's soy chorizo is the bomb)
eggs (1 egg per pepper)
flour

Seems simple, right?  Actually, it is.

1) Roast the poblanos until the skin is charred and black.  Put them in a covered bowl or plastic bag to steam for at least 15-30min (until the skins peel off easily).
2) Once you've peeled the poblanos, cut a slit in them lengthwise and remove the seeds and ribs carefully, trying not to tear the pepper up.
3) I sauteed my soy-rizo in a skillet to bring out some of the flavor, but this is optional if you just want to use cheese only.
4) Stuff the peppers with cheddar cheese and soy-rizo, but not so full that you can't get them closed.
5) Separate the eggs into yolks and whites and beat the whites into stiff peaks.
6) Mix the yolks with flour (1 tbsp per 3-4 eggs) to make a paste.
7) Add the yolk paste to the beaten egg whites to form a homogeneous but fluffy batter.
8) Heat 1/4" oil in a skillet (for frying).
9) Carefully roll each stuffed poblano in a coating of flour, then dip in the egg batter.  Place in the hot oil and fry on all sides until golden brown and delicious looking.

I served these over some cilantro brown rice with a sprinkling of cojita cheese.  Delicious!  And, better yet, the poblanos had some serious kick to them.  Now, I'm very tolerant to spicy food.  Love me some spicy food.  But even I ended up chugging water and eventually going to the kitchen for a swig of milk because my mouth was on fire.  Boyfriend said his weren't nearly as hot as mine (maybe I missed some seeds?).

Still, next year when CSA season is cranking, you can bet your hot peppers I'll be snatching up some more of these darlings to satiate my Mexican cravings.

Arizona.  Mexico.  I miss you.

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