January 18, 2012
I apologize for the long hiatus, but we spent all of December moving again. We're still not all unpacked here at the new place, but I made the kitchen a priority. It's the only room in the house that is 100% functional. With that said, I'll kick off my return to blogging with this month's HH6 challenge (due to the holidays there was no December challenge so I didn't miss one)!
Prepare a dish that you have never made before but always wanted to try. Tell us why you have taken quite some time to make this dish.
Back in August of 2009, just before school started (you know, the days the teachers are there working but the kids aren't), I remember going out to lunch with my co-workers. We headed to Mexican place down the street. I had the chili rellenos. I'm not sure how the conversation ended up where it did, but I made some comment about how it was probably hard to make chili rellenos or something along those lines. One of my friends then pointed out that I was no slouch in the kitchen and certainly I could make chili rellenos if I wanted to. Huh, I thought to myself, I guess I could! So I decided that I would learn to make chili rellenos by the end of the year.
Yeah, that never happened.
I did go and read up on how to make them and I think that intimidated me. It seemed like a whole lot of steps, between roasting and skinning the chili and making the batter and the tendency of things to go horribly, horribly wrong when I have hot oil around... So the whole thing sort of fell to the wayside. Until I got this challenge in my email, that is. So I began researching once more and as soon as I had the kitchen put to rights, I whipped out the frying oil and dove right in.
Honestly, it wasn't all that difficult. The batter got nice and crispy, the poblano was tender, the salsa perfectly spicy. I think I'll continue questing for a different sauce, but other than that both The Husband and I enjoyed this dinner very much.
One of the big decisions in making a chili relleno is what to stuff them with. Cheese is, of course, the standard. But why be boring? I happened to have some pulled pork on hand (the first thing I did when I got my Traeger back was smoke a pork butt!) so I mixed that up with some spinach and grated cheese to make the filling. Be creative!
The basic recipe came from Macheesmo, whom I had never heard of before. They're really awesome though - go check them out!
1 poblano pepper per person, plus one extra
1 head garlic, peeled
1 jalapeno, seeded and halved
1/2 onion, quartered
1 c flour
1/2 c beer
4 eggs, separated
handful pulled pork
grated mozzarella and cheddar
handful of spinach, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 450. Spread the poblanos, garlic, tomatoes, jalapeno and onion out on a baking sheet and roast until tender, turning the poblanos every few minutes. If some things are cooking faster than others, pull them out early. It should take about 30-40 minutes.
Carefully place one poblano per person into a plastic or paper bag. Fold up and set aside to steam.
Combine the remaining poblano with all the other roasted goodness in a food processor. Squeeze in the lime juice and process briefly until you have salsa! Set aside.
Combine your filling ingredients in a bowl.
Now, back to the poblanos. This is a bit tricky, so be very careful with every step here! Remove the poblanos from the bag. Peel the skin off, but don't tear the pepper! It's ok if there's a bit of skin left on there. Then make a small slice along the side. Reach in and cut/scoop out all of the seeds.
Time to make the batter! Mix egg yolks, flour and beer together in a bowl. In another bowl, whip your egg whites until frothy. Carefully fold the whites into the flour mixture, keeping as many air bubbles as possible.
Stuff the peppers! Gently fill each pepper with your stuffing mix. Don't over fill!
Heat oil in a skillet. You should have about 1/4 inch of oil in the bottom. Once it is hot, carefully dip the stuffed peppers in the batter. Lay in the skillet seam side down. After 2-3 minutes, turn and fry the other side.
Drain on paper towels. Serve with salsa spooned over top.