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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

"R" Is For Relleno

Hello and thank you for stopping by to share the letter R with me today.When you have left your comment and entered my double teapot giveaway twice  and join in the fun postcard exchange why don't you stop by my favorite teacher Mrs. Matlock and thank her for hosting this wonderful Alphabe Thursday post. She is

Today I am featuring the letter R which is a really well-rounded letter. It is also featured in my last name! R is a  rad letter and one of my favorite foods is Mexican food and one of my favorite dishes is the chile relleno. The dictionary describes a relleno as usually stuffed with cheese. It is a delectable dish and I have many really tasty recipes for this dish. The light eater will use the egg white coating and bake this dish. I like it batter dipped and deep fried after it has been stuffed with cheddar and Monterey jack cheese. One of my favorite PBS chef's Rick Bayless cooks up a tasty relleno dish too. Then you have to smother it in green chili unless you are a red chili lightweight. I come from a town that grows some really tasty chilies and there is nothing like a fresh chili pepper smothered with cheese and green chili. I like my green chili medium and the hubby likes it racy hot!

I am showing you a few different photos of the relleno and then I am giving you a couple recipes to try for yourself.

When you are really hungry try a couple of these delicious and rarely talked about delights and wash them down with a Margarita on the rocks or frozen! I think you will like it!

Chile Rellenos a la Rick Bayless
Serves 8 as a moderate-size main dish,
less if you have hefty eaters

3 tablespoons rich-tasting pork lard or vegetable oil
2 medium white onions, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
2 28-ounce cans good-quality whole tomatoes in juice, undrained
OR 3 pounds (about 6 medium-large round or 20 plum) ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into large pieces
1 teaspoon cinnamon, preferably freshly ground Mexican canela
1 teaspoon black pepper, preferably freshly ground
2 cups chicken or beef broth
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 1/2 pounds coarsely ground pork shoulder (look for “chili grind” in the grocery store, special order it from your butcher
1/2 cup raisins
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
Oil to a depth of 1 inch, for frying
8 medium (about 1 1/2 pounds total) fresh poblano chiles, not twisted or deeply indented, preferably with long stems
8 6-inch wooden skewers or 16 toothpicks
6 large eggs, cold
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus about 1 cup for dredging the chiles
Sprigs of fresh cilantro, watercress or flatleaf parsley, for garnish
The broth base and filling. In a medium-large (4-quart) saucepan, heat the lard or oil over medium. Add the onions and cook, stirring regularly, until they are very well browned, about 10 minutes. While the onions are cooking, puree the undrained canned tomatoes (if using fresh tomatoes, puree them with 2/3 cup water), using a blender or food processor and working in two batches if necessary for your equipment.
When the onions are well browned, raise the heat to medium-high and add the pureed tomatoes, cinnamon and black pepper. Stir regularly as the mixture boils briskly, reducing until it becomes the consistency of thick tomato sauce, about 25 minutes.
The tomato broth. Remove 2 cups of the tomato mixture and set aside. Stir the broth into the mixture that remains. Partially cover and simmer over low heat for 45 minutes or so, while youÂ’re preparing the filling and chiles.
The pork picadillo filling. Set a large (12-inch) skillet (preferably non-stick) over medium high heat. Add the almonds and stir around until they color to a deep golden, about 2 minutes. Remove. Crumble the pork into the skillet and fry, stirring often, until thoroughly cooked (some of the edges should be browned and crispy), 10 to 15 minutes. If the pork has rendered a lot of fat, drain it off. Mix in the reserved 2 cups of tomato mixture, raisins and vinegar. Cook over medium heat, stirring regularly, until the mixture is very thick and homogenous, about 20 minutes. Stir in the almonds, then taste and season with salt, usually about 1 teaspoon. Cool.
Preparing the chiles. While the picadillo is cooking, pour 1-inch of oil into a heavy deep skillet or pot-the pot should be 12 inches wide and 3 to 4 inches deep for easiest maneuvering of the chiles-and set over medium to medium high to heat to 350 degrees. (Using a thermometer is the most accurate way to assure the proper heat, but there are other reliable clues: The oil releases that “hot oil” aroma and its surface begins shimmering. When you think the oil is hot, test the edge of a chile-it should sizzle vigorously. Remember-smoking oil is dangerously overheated and will give the chiles a bad taste.) In two batches, fry the chiles, turning them continually for about 1 minute, until they are evenly blistered (they’ll look uniformly light green, having lightened as they blister). Drain on paper towels. Remove the oil from the heat.
When the chiles are cool enough to handle, rub off the blistered skins, then cut an incision in the side of each one, starting 1/2 inch below the stem end and continuing to within 1/2 inch of the tip. One by one, work your finger inside the chiles and dislodge all the seeds clustered just below the stem. Quickly rinse the seeds from inside the chiles, being careful not to rip or tear the opening any wider; rinse off any stray bits of skin. Drain on paper towels, cut-side down.
Stuffing the chiles. Stuff each well drained chile with about 1/2 cup of cool pork filling, then slightly overlap the two sides of the incision and pin them back together with a skewer or 2 toothpicks. For the greatest ease in battering and frying, flatten the chiles slightly, place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze for about 1 hour to firm. (For notes on working with thoroughly frozen chiles, please read the note in Working Ahead below.)
Battering and frying the chiles. Reheat the oil to 350º and set up a tray lined with several layers of paper towels. Separate the eggs: whites into the bowl of an electric mixer, the yolks into another bowl. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the whites and begin beating them on medium speed. When they are beginning to look dry and hold a stiff peak (but are not at all rigid), beat in the yolks two at a time until well incorporated. Lastly, beat in the 2 tablespoons of flour. Spread the 1 cup of flour on a plate.
One at a time, batter the first four chiles: roll in the flour, shake off the excess, pick up by the stem, dip into the batter, pull quickly straight up out of the batter, then lay into the hot oil. (If your kitchen is very warm, itÂ’s best to hold the remaining batter for the second round in the refrigerator.) Once the first four are in the oil, begin gently, gently basting them with spoonfuls of hot oil (this will help set the uncooked batter on top). When theyÂ’re richly golden underneath, about 4 minutes, use one small metal spatula underneath and another one (or a spoon) on top to gently turn the chiles over. Fry until the other side is richly golden, another 3 to 4 minutes. Using the metal spatula, remove the chiles to drain on paper towels. Repeat with the second half of the chiles.
Serving the chiles
Heat the oven to 400º. Once all the fried chiles have cooled for at least 5 minutes, pick them up by carefully rolling each one onto one hand, then transferring to a baking sheet (lined with parchment, if you wish, for extra ease at the time of serving). Pull out the wooden skewer by twisting it gently. Bake for about 15 minutes to reheat, to render some of the absorbed oil and to crisp slightly.
Meanwhile, bring the tomato broth to a boil and check the consistency: it should be similar to a brothy tomato soup. If too thick, thin with a little water or broth; if too thin, boil rapidly until thickened slightly. Season it with salt, usually about 1/2 teaspoon. Ladle about 1/2 cup of the broth into each of 8 deep serving bowls (large soup bowls or pasta bowls are perfect here). Nestle in one of the chiles, garnish with the herb sprigs and get ready for a taste of real Mexico.
Working Ahead
The beauty of this dish is the way so many steps can be done in advance. The brothy sauce and filling (Steps 1 through 3) can be made several days in advance and stored in the refrigerator, covered. The chiles may be blistered, peeled and seeded (Step 4) a day in advance, though if I were that far ahead, I’d stuff (Step 5) and freeze them, too, just for ease in the frying. Battered and fried chiles will hold for an hour or two at room temperature before reheating them in the 400º oven (Step 7). (If you freeze the chiles until solid, be sure to complete the frying a full half hour in advance of oven-reheating and serving.) While reheating the chiles, warm the broth and you’re ready to serve.
To Make Cheese Chiles Rellenos
Coarsely shred 1 pound melting cheese, such as Mexican Chihuahua, Monterey jack, brick or mild cheddar. Divide the cheese into 8 portions and form each into a football shape. Stuff the cheese into the chiles, then batter, fry, reheat and serve as directed.

Chile Relleno Casserole Recipe

This chile relleno casserole recipe is perfect for entertaining and a quick and easy meal to prepare for your family. You can serve this dish for breakfast, lunch, brunch or dinner. It doesn't really matter.
I have personally brought this particular recipe to pot luck dinners and people love it.
One thing I have to mention, Do not use low fat cheese. You will be disappointed. I made the mistake of doing that one time and it really ruined the dish. I don't know what I was thinking but I will never do that again.

  • 12 oz.can of Chile Ortegas, whole Chiles
  • 1 1/2lbs. of shredded jack cheese or Mexican 3 cheese blend. Do not use low fat.
  • 1 1/2 cups of milk
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • pam spray
  • 9 x 13 baking dish

Lightly spray the casserole dish with Pam. Drain and cut chiles into slices. Layer chiles and cheese in casserole dish.
In a separate bowl combine and mix with a wire whip:
  • eggs
  • milk
  • flour
  • salt
Pour egg mixture over the chiles and cheese. Bake in a 325 degree oven for 45 - 50 minutes or until golden brown.


Linda said...

That looks yummy! My Mom loves Chilie Relleno's and I would love the Margarita!

Red Couch Recipes said...

Great "R" post! Both look good! I might opt for the easier casserole. Joni

Anonymous said...

All the recipes sound fab but, I'll prolly make the last one for supper tomorrow night with some refrieds. Muchas gracias, Senora ;)

Jenny Moore said...

Thanks for the recipes! I was drooling over the pictures and got very excited when I realized you were going to share some. :) Going to have to make that casserole I think!

Heart2Heart said...

I know this is a dish my hubby and youngest would probably like as they prefer their Mexican dishes on the more spicier side. I will have to try this.

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Diann @ The Thrifty Groove said...

Oh, we will be right over for dinner and a drink!!

Christy said...

Oh I love Mexican food of all kinds. Thanks! Yummy R post.

JDaniel4's Mom said...

These look great! I don't think mine would look the same.

Riet said...

That looks like a yummy dish. Great R post.

GFDINER - Kathy said...

Oh so yummy. Will have to try and make this gluten and dairy freee. Won't be as good as yours, but I will try. Thanks. Love it

Jo said...

well this just looks all too yummy!

Brimful Curiosities said...

I've never had relleno before. Something new to try.

Amanda said...

Mmmmmmmm, rellenos! My favorite! Thanks for the recipes!

Viki said...

It looks good but I'm not much for hot, spicy food but I know my husband and son would love something like this. Great R post.

jeff campbell said...

We are relleno fans and will surely try this recipe...great post...thanks for your visit...peace

mbkatc230 said...

Wow! This is one of my favorite Mexican dishes, and these recipes both sound great. Thanks for sharing them. Kathy

Christy said...

rick bayless should be crowned the king and you the queen for making anything of his! these rellenos look amazing!

Steph said...

I've never heard of Relleno and all the options look flavorful and delicious. Thanks for this interesting stop on my Alphabe-Thursday adventure. :)

Betty (picture circa 1951) said...

I love Mexican food too. The hotter the better. Thank you for the recipes. I think I'll give the casserole a try.

Jenny said...

Oh, I love, love rellenos and Rick's recipe looks sublime!

Thank you for sharing it!

If you link the URL to your Alphabe-Thurdsay post directly it is easier for people to follow your link. If you need help figuring this out I will be happy to lend a hand!

I am printing out the top recipe to try. I suspect my family would really love it!

Thanks for such a yummy stop on our little journey through the letter "R"!