Monday, August 13, 2012

Meatless Monday: Hand Made Chiles Rellenos and Brown Rice with Green Pepper and Jalapeno

About six years ago my husband and I discovered an award winning Mexican restaurant in Gig Harbor, Washington called Moctezuma's. They have great food, great service and we love to go there on a night out. The first time we went there, I noticed they had hand made Chiles Rellenos. I'd never had them before, but I knew that with them being hand made, it would be the perfect first time :)

That's the day I fell in love with Chiles Rellenos. If you've never had them, you're missing out. It's a roasted poblano pepper, filled with cheese, breaded in a very lite batter, fried and smothered in a special seasoned tomato sauce. Basically, it's nothing short of amazing and I order it every time we're at Moctezuma's.

I saw this recipe on Food Network's $10 Dinners, and I've had it in my "to-make" file for a few months now. I finally got around to making it tonight, as it's been sounding amazing to this pregnant woman :) The sauce came together in no time. The peppers although not complicated, had a few more steps to them. Overall, this recipe was easy to put together and it was beyond delicious! It was just as good as the handmade ones I had at Moctezuma's.

A few notes based on my experience, when you're removing the seeds try to make the slit as small as possible to avoid splitting the pepper entirely. If your peppers are too warm and are falling apart, you can pop them in the freezer for 10-20 minutes before battering them. Also I would only fry two at a time, otherwise your oil cools down too fast, making your peppers oily and soggy and not as delicious as they're supposed to be.

I served these with Melissa's Rice with Green Pepper and Jalapeno, subbing brown rice for the white. You can find that recipe with my adjustments at the bottom of this post. I hope you'll try these Chiles, it's a fun to give tacos and enchiladas a break every once in awhile and try something new.

Chiles Rellenos, Recipe by Melissa d'Arabian
4 servings

4 large poblano peppers
4 eggs, yolks and whites separated
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded jack cheese
1/2 cup fresh corn (or frozen if unavailable)
Vegetable oil, for frying
Chile Relleno Tomato Sauce, for serving, recipe follows

Preheat the broiler.

Place the peppers on a baking sheet and broil until the skin is blistered and charred, turning to cook on all sides, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Place the charred peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to cool for at least 10 minutes. Once cool, remove the skin easily with your hands.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, use a hand mixer to beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. In a small bowl, mix 2 egg yolks with 1 tablespoon flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt. (Reserve 2 remaining yolks for another use.). Place the remaining flour on a small plate. Mix one-third of the egg whites into the egg yolks, and then gently fold the egg yolk mixture into the remaining egg whites just until incorporated. In a third bowl, mix together the cheese and corn.

Remove the seeds from the peppers by slicing them open along one side. Slice about two-thirds the length of the pepper, just long enough to remove the seeds with a small spoon. Stuff the peppers with the cheese mixture, squeezing the cheese gently so that it stays together.

Heat 1 1/2 inches of oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Gently roll the peppers in the flour. (If the cheese and peppers are too warm and are falling apart, place in the freezer for 10 minutes). Coat the peppers in the egg batter by dunking and spooning the batter all around. Lift the pepper, and gently spoon off any excess batter hanging from the bottom. Place in the hot oil and fry until golden, about 3 minutes per side. Place on paper towels to absorb the excess oil. Serve with Chile Relleno Tomato Sauce.

Chile Relleno Tomato Sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup chicken stock
One 14-ounce can whole tomatoes, roughly chopped (juice included)
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Add the olive oil to a medium saute pan over medium heat. Then add the onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the cumin, cayenne and garlic, and cook until fragrant, 1 minute longer. Add the chicken stock and the tomatoes with their juice and bring to a boil for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool a few minutes. Mix in the blender for 10 seconds (the sauce will not be smooth). Add the cilantro, vinegar, salt and pepper to taste and pulse just to blend. Yield: 2 cups.

Brown Rice with Green Pepper and Jalapeno, Adapted from Melissa D'Arabian

2 tablespoons butter
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
Kosher salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups brown rice, uncooked
1 cup chicken stock
Zest and juice of 1 lime

Melt the butter in a large sauce pan. Then add the jalapeno, onions and green peppers, sprinkle with salt and cook over medium heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir. Add the rice and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the rice is golden, about 5 minutes. Turn the heat up to high and add 2 cups water and the stock. Bring to a boil, cover tightly, and reduce the heat to a simmer for 45-50 minutes. Remove from the heat and let rest, still covered, 3 minutes longer. Sprinkle with the lime zest and juice before serving.

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