Chile Rellenos

Chilies rellenos

We have a restaurant near by that specializes in Latin and South American cuisine. My absolute favorite part of this restaurant is their table-side guacamole, which pairs perfectly with their margaritas! One night, on a whim, we didn't feel like cooking and ended up going there for dinner. On their menu were chiles rellenos, which they stuff with black beans and roasted vegetables and serve over soft polenta, topped with queso fresco. Some of the other entrees I've had there lack flavor, but this one is excellent! After ordering it, I couldn't stop thinking about it. Luckily, I was able to find this recipe on Mrs. Regueiro's Plate. While these weren't quite as complex tasting as the ones I ate at the restaurant, they were easy enough to make at home and delicious enough to satisfy my taste buds! My house smelled like the kitchen of a pub after deep-frying the peppers, but it was nothing that opening the windows couldn't fix, and they were totally worth it!

1 1/2 cups Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon Fresh Oregano, finely chopped
3 Egg Whites + 2 Egg Yolk, at room temperature
6 Poblano Chile Peppers
5 Plum Tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
1/2 Onion, chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, chopped

On a gas burner (I used a grill), char the peppers over medium-high heat until blackened and blistered all over. Place the peppers in a large zip-top bag; let them stand for 10 minutes, which will let the peppers soften and become easy to peel. Gently rub the skin off the peppers. Using a pairing knife, make a slit across the top of the peppers just below the stem, leaving the stem intact. Slice lengthwise down from the top to the bottom of the pepper. Open the pepper and carefully remove the seeds and inner membranes, using the pairing knife if needed to loosen the seedpods. In a blender, puree the tomatoes, onions, and garlic until smooth. In a small saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the tomato puree and simmer for 5 minutes, taste for seasonings and add salt and pepper, if needed. Keep warm. In a small bowl, mix the shredded cheese and chopped fresh oregano. Season with salt and pepper. Fill each pepper with 1/4 cup of the cheese mixture and gently fold the sides over and thread 2 toothpicks to form an X. If needed, use additional toothpicks to secure the filling (just make sure you remember how many you used in each!!). In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the yolk and beat for 3 minutes. In a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 inch of vegetable oil until ready (about 375 degrees). Place flour in a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper. Dredge each pepper in flour, then dip into the egg mixture to cover completely. Let excess batter fall off the pepper. Add the peppers to the oil, 1-2 at a time, and cook, flipping once, until golden brown. Spoon hot oil over the peppers to ensure even browning. Remove the peppers and place them on a paper towel lined plate to absorb excess oil. Repeat with remaining peppers. Spoon tomato mixture onto a plate and place the fried pepper on top. Serve immediately…but remember to take the toothpicks out first!