Check out the post, Some Like it Hot, about the science of chile peppers that accompanies this recipe.
Originating in the Puebla region of central Mexico, chiles rellenos are a delicious dish consisting of fried poblano peppers stuffed with cheese and topped with salsa. The recipe is fairly straightforward and quick once you get the hang of it. Depending where you live, the biggest obstacle to making this dish could be obtaining fresh poblano peppers.
What you’ll need:
- 6 Fresh Poblano Chile Peppers
- 5 eggs with whites and yolks separated
- 1 Tbsp flour
- Salt to taste
- Monterrey Jack Cheese
- Diced hot pepper (optional)
- Diced green onions
- Fresh Cilantro
- Your favorite homemade or store-bought salsa(s)
- Canola or other vegetable oil (for frying)
What to do:
Remove the Skins from the Peppers: Set your oven to broil and put the whole Poblano peppers on a baking sheet. Broil the peppers until the skins become charred in spots and start to bubble and pop (about 5 minutes). Flip the peppers to char the opposite sides if necessary. Remove the peppers and wrap them in damp paper towels to steam for a few minutes. Run the peppers under cold water and carefully peel off the skins. The skins should lift right off, but take your time and don’t squish the peppers or poke holes in them.
Stuff the Peppers: Beginning at the top of each pepper near the stem, cut a slice partway down one side so that you can reach in and pull out the seeds, ribs, and other pepper guts to make room for the cheese. Peppers produce capsaicin in the spongy ribs, so these are the hottest part of the pepper, even though poblanos are pretty mild (note: if you have sensitive skin you might want to wear rubber gloves for this). Slide a few slices of cheese into the opening in the pepper. If you want you can also stuff some green onion or diced hot pepper (if you like your stuffed peppers extra spicy) into the pepper. Actually you can put whatever you want in the pepper at this point. Let your imagination run wild – shredded meat, corn, diced vegetables, tuna, whatever. Once you’re done stuffing the peppers, use toothpicks to hold each pepper closed.
Make the Batter: Whip the egg whites with a whisk (or, I imagine an electric mixer would make this process much easier) until they hold peaks. Add the tablespoon of flour and as much salt as you want into the yolks and whisk those as well – a paste should form. Recombine the yolk paste and the whipped egg whites and set aside.
Fry the Peppers: Heat the oil on medium heat in a frying pan or skillet until it’s hot (you want about 1/3 of an inch of oil in your pan). You can tell that it’s hot by dripping a small amount of the egg batter into the oil to see if it immediately starts to fry. Coat each pepper in a dusting of flour and dip it in the egg batter. Fry the peppers in the oil for about 3-4 minutes per side, or until the batter browns. Put the cooked peppers on paper towels to drain.
Serve: Remove the toothpicks and serve the peppers hot over rice with a topping of your favorite salsa along with fresh green onions and cilantro.