Monday, October 28, 2013

Cooking with Padre (sort of) - Chiles Rellenos con tocino

As I mentioned in my last post, Padre came over for dinner yesterday but didn't have time for a cooking lesson, so instead I found a recipe for chiles rellenos from a Mexican cooking show and made them: a MAJOR hit with all of us!

Here's the recipe. It takes some prep time, which can be done up to a day ahead, but it only takes about 10 minutes to cook.


4 chiles poblanos
1 can frijoles refritos (frijoles negros taste better than the more common tan kind)
4 oz white cheese, preferably string cheese or monterey jack

3 roma tomatoes, cut in chunks
1/4 onion, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic

Prepare the salsa:
This is a VERY basic salsa recipe, so if you have a favorite one you like to make, go for it, or add whatever seems appropriate to this recipe. DO NOT USE PURCHASED SALSA - that's a completely different thing!

Cook the tomatoes and onions in a pan (with or without a tiny bit of oil) until they're softened. Put them in a blender with the garlic and a cup of water (or broth, if you have some). If you want to add some heat, add some Tabasco or other hot sauce to taste. Once it's been liquified, heat the mixture in a small pan on LOW heat (don't let it boil!). It should be served warm.

Prepare the chiles:
On a gas stove, lay the chiles (one at a time) over a high open flame and char the skins well, turning with tongs frequently until they're uniformly blackened and stop snapping (I generally do 2 chiles at a time, on 2 different burners). The more charred they are, the easier it is to remove the skins. If you have an electric stove, put the chiles in a wide pan on maximum heat & do as described above.

Put the chiles in a plastic bag, close it and let them sweat for about 10 minutes to soften the skins further. Remove them from the bag and scrape off the skins. You can do this with your fingers, or with a paper towel or with a knife. Be careful not to tear the meat of the chile! This is messy, so I do it over a bowl.

Make a small slit in each chile and carefully cut out the bump with the seeds, making sure not to cut away the stem. Remove the seeds (don't worry if there are a few left - cooked poblano seeds aren't hot). Fill each chile loosely with frijoles refritos (about 1/4 per chile), and lay a slice of cheese on top of the beans. Take a slice of uncooked bacon and wrap it tightly around the chile, using it to cover the slit and keep the contents from spilling out. Fasten it with one or more toothpicks. At this point the chiles can be covered and left on the counter for a few hours, or even refrigerated.

When you're ready to cook them, put them in a wide pan on high heat. Turning frequently with tongs, cook them until the bacon is sufficiently cooked (it should still be soft - not crisp). If you want to, you can then put some shredded cheese on the top and put them in the oven for a few minutes for it to melt, but this isn't necessary - it's completely a matter of presentation.

Serve the chiles with the salsa to spoon over. Since I forgot to take pictures of the process of roasting the chiles, here's a link to a site that describes (with pictures) how to roast poblanos if you don't already have experience in doing this.

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