Late last week the weather forecast was for an overnight frost. That’s a few days early for these parts, but as gardeners – you work with what nature gives you. What she gave me was a nice harvest of chillies – Fatalli’s, Jalapeno, Habaneros, Cayenne, Sweet Bell, and Poblanos.
I’ve been giving away the hot chillies, bringing bags of jewel-like fruits to give to my colleagues. Funny how some of the young guys think they can just munch down a Fatalli. It has FATAL in the name! Ah youth… But I digress.
The bells I’ve been stuffing and freezing as a made ahead weeknight meals as well as cutting them into strips and freezing for later use.
But the Poblanos – I had plans for them. Oh yes….
Poblanos are a thin walled fruit with medium heat and smooth dark green skins. Named for the city of Puebla, they are the chillies that are traditionally used for Chilli Relleno (literally stuffed chilli), and historically stuffed with minced meat and coated with eggs.
Here in the States, and the way I’ve most often seen them, they are prepared with cheese – usually Montery Jack and coated in a light batter then either pan or deep fried. Pan frying is a more traditional approach but some restaurants do deep fry them in the interest of speed and efficiency.
A somewhat time consuming process, the chillies are first roasted, peeled, de-seeded, then stuffed with shredded cheese (or whatever) before being dipped in a light egg batter and then fried as described above.
A few tips: 1) Chill the chillies after stuffing to get them to hold their shape; 2) the batter works just fine to seal off any incisions or tears in the peppers as long as they are not too big; and 3) dip only only half (side) of the pepper in the batter, lay it in the hot oil and spoon additional batter over the top. That’ll keep any mess to a minimum.
Makes 6 stuffed chillies
8 oz (250 g) Monterrey Taco cheese – shredded
4 eggs divided
1/4 cup (60 ml) flour
oil for frying
Cilantro for garnish
- Roast the peppers over an open flame or under the broiler until blackened all over. Place in a bowl and cover with a plate (you could use plastic wrap but why?) for 10 minutes
- Peel chillies gently, it doesn’t matter if it is not perfect – a little charred skin adds flavor.
- Make two small incisions that form a T on the chilli with the cross at the top of the chilli
- Gently remove the seed core – I used a scissors, this made that part pretty easy
- Pat dry and stuff with shredded cheese. At this point put the chillies into the refrigerator to firm up a bit.
While chillies rest, prepare the batter.
- Whip the egg whites until almost stiff.
- Beat yolks and fold into the whites.
- Fold flour into the egg mixture.
- Heat oil to 350F- 180 C – I used about 1/2″ to 3/4″ for frying.
- Drag one side of stuffed chilli through batter – lay gently batter side downin hot oil.
- Spoon additional batter over the top.
- Fry until golden brown on bottom, gently turn them over (be careful!) remove to plate or rack – sprinkle with salt – repeat until all are fried.
These may be enjoyed as is, over a light tomato sauce (this is how I did it), or with a spoonful of salsa picante.
A light fluffy batter. warm and smokey chilli and melty rich cheese. Not something for every day perhaps, but delicious indeed, especially with a cold beer!
Until next time, Eat Well & Keep Digging!