Saturday, March 12, 2011

How to make Chilis Rellenos

A few weeks ago (wow, time just flies here) I was invited to my friend Rosa's house (or did I invite myself...not sure) to learn how to make Chilis Rellenos, I was so excited. These are the authentic Mexican Chilis Rellenos, there are many versions out there but these are, in my opinion, the best. Here is your list of ingredients.

Poblano Peppers (however many you want to make)
Dried goat cheese
Tomatoes (these were Roma)
Eggs (fresh, non refrigerated eggs work best, I'll explain later)
Tomato Consume

To prep your peppers slit them down the middle and roast them on fire. Rosa has a gas stove and held them with a pair of tong above the flame on the burner and kept turning them evenly roasting them all around. This would work wonderful on a BBQ. Roast them until they become black and crackly looking....not burned to a crisp, just lightly black...yes lightly black....not pitch black. 
Once they are cooled enough to handle rub the crackled black stuff off with your fingers, it's a little sticky and messy, rub all the black stuff off and cut the seed ball out but leaving the stem. 
To prepare your caldo place a few onion slices in a pot and heat until the onion is roasted (yup, onion in a dry pot on the burner) meanwhile place a bunch of quartered tomatoes, a about 1/2 a head of garlic, a quartered onion or 2  in a blender, fill with water and puree. Once your onion is roasted (won't take long) pour your tomato puree in pot and add about a tbsp of cumin and a tbsp of tomato consume. Once your broth is heated completely you can taste and add more Tomato consume if you like. Leave this to simmer on the stove while you continue with your peppers. 
Dice a whole pile of tomatoes, how big of a pile depends on how many pepper you are stuffing. Mix the diced pepper with the dried goat cheese. It's about a half and half mixture. I don't know where I am going to get dried goat cheese at home so I am planning on trying this with dry cottage cheese, I think it will be similar. Now stuff your peppers plump full, have all of them full in a bowl beside your stove. Put some flour on a plate and have it ready by the stove as well. 
Now, put your egg white (whites only) in a bowl saving the yolks (you wouldn't have thrown them in the garbage anyway right?) Here is a little Mexican tip or superstition or whatever you want to call it. Rosa was very careful to explain to me that when you are beating egg whites into a meringue you need to be alone, yes alone in the room, reason being is apparently some people have something in their eyes that if they make contact with the egg whites it won't fluff up regardless of how long you beat them. When she told me this I was certain I had misunderstood her, but she saw my confused look and repeated it over and later when her daughter showed up she made sure that Jasmine explained it to me again in English this time. So she stepped into the bedroom and whipped her egg white and when she came back I couldn't believe how the eggs had fluffed up, I have never seen eggs fluff like that so I thought maybe I am one of the people that have the egg fluffing jinx in their eyes. I have since then learned that eggs that have never been refrigerated will fluff up more than refrigerated eggs. The eggs in the stores here are not stored in the coolers (ever) and if you never put an egg in the fridge it will not spoil left out but if an egg has been refrigerated it has to stay refrigerated or it will spoil. The key to a fluffy meringue,chiffon  or angel food cake is fresh non refrigerated eggs. There is your egg tip for the day.....and whip it alone just in case, especially if I am over. 
So now your eggs white are fluffy as clouds add your egg yolks to it with about a tbsp of flour and whip a little bit more. 
Now heat your oil in a pan, you don't want your chilis completely covered in oil...about half. The oil of choice here is soy oil but I think any kind will do. Make sure your oil is hot, very hot. Rosa say she can always taste when she eats them elsewhere if the oil has not been hot enough. 
Roll your chili in the flour coating it and being careful not to spill your cheese and then dip in your egg fluff completely covering it and put in your pan of oil, as it is frying spoon oil onto the top of the chili letting it run down the side...over and over until it is lightly browned, do not turn it over, just spoon the oil over it. Remove from pan and place on a paper towel. Do this to all the chilis. 
Just before you are ready to serve put all the chilis in pot of caldo (this is when you discover your pot is too small) and let sit for a few minutes (2 or 3) to serve spoon a chili into a bowl and spoon in some broth. Eat....yummmmm. If you have some left over egg fluff (we did) just pour into a hot pan, it make a nice little pancake. 
When I get home I plan on doing this all on a BBQ outside, just the thought of having a boiling pan of oil on my stove scares me.
If you don't have Tomato consume and you live near me I will bring back some from here and should have some to share. I know finding Poblano peppers is also not easy in High Level. I am bringing back seeds from here (don't tell the snoopy people at the airport) so I will see if I can't fool these peppers into thinking my greenhouse is a tropical Mexican garden.

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