I was excited to see the poblano peppers in the share box this week. This deep emerald green and moderately spicy pepper is a sight to behold. Chile Rellenos is one of my favorite recipes involving poblanos. According to the Spanish/English translation offered in cyberspace, Chile Rellenos means “filled peppers”. A poblano filled with cheese and fried in egg batter, in my opinion, is quite delicious. The dish I’ll share today is based on variations of the most common recipe from what I can tell. All you need is eggs, cheese (I chose Monterey Jack) and poblano peppers. The sauce you serve with them is negotiable. I should add that though the ingredients are few, the prep can take some time, but if you don’t cut corners, it’s time well spent!
First, you broil the pepper pretty close to a flame until it begins to char. There’s a method to hold the pepper directly over a gas flame until it starts to char, but I’ve always chosen to just go the broiler route. Once the skins start to char and blister, transfer the peppers to a closed container until they cool to the touch. At this point you can rub the skin off of the pepper, leaving a softer and more malleable pepper that imparts more flavor to the final dish. (Be cautious with contact to fingers and mucous membranes during this part of the process. Though poblanos aren’t as spicy as their spicy friends, don’t let them fool you!)
Cut a small “T” around the stem and down the middle to gain access to remove ribs and seeds (it’s okay to leave some seeds in the pepper, but be mindful that pepper seeds can add to the heat of the final dish.)
The egg batter is made using a pretty standard method. First separate the egg whites from the yolks (I did 6 eggs for 3 peppers) and beat the whites until they are stiff and foamy. Beat the yolks a bit before folding them into the whites. No shortcuts allowed on this step or the batter won’t be the fluffy goodness that you want in the end product.
After stuffing your peppers with the cheese combo of your choice, heat your oil (I used vegetable oil) and spoon enough egg mixture into the pan to seat your poblano comfortably. As it cooks, you can dollop some more mixture on top and start to work it around the pepper.
Flip the pepper in the oil until the filling is melted and the batter is golden brown.
I tested a pepper today skipping the charring step entirely to see what would happen, and I must say that the crispness of an unpeeled poblano in this dish is nice, but the tenderness and extra flavor found in the skinned version is much better. The charring step is totally worth the extra time in my humble opinion. Look at that oozy goodness! It is great with rice and beans, or all on its own. This particular poblano was about to get messy as I topped it with some peach tomatillo salsa (thawed from the freezer). Any salsa that tickles your fancy can work with this pepper. Hope you like these as much as I do!