The produce season is in full swing in Maine, and my favorite local farm stand at Gathering Winds Farm and Orchard had some beautiful poblano peppers from their gardens. I am a Mexican food junkie, and since we dont get a lot of good spicy food options in Maine, I snatched up four of them to indulge in some delicious Cheesy Chile Rellenos!
This tasty fare can be stuffed with all sorts of meats, but I went for the simple cheese filling this time. After roasting the chilies on the grill, putting them immediately in foil, I then proceeded to take the skins off. Once the skins were off the chilies, I got straight to work making these. The trickest part was deseeding the chiles.
When cutting open the chiles, I slit them lengthwise along one of the folds then gently cut out the pocket of seeds. (All while wearing gloves.) The seeds and ribs then easily come out. After the seeds and ribs were out, I chose to rinse my chiles to remove the loose seeds.
Next comes the filling. I went simple this time with a traditional Mexican cheese-Oaxaca. Oaxaca is very similar to mozerrella cheese and is formed into long ropes of cheese. To prepare the cheese for the chiles, I just shredded the cheese as I would pulled pork by breaking it apart with a fork. Once it was all crumbled, I stuffed the chiles and closed with a couple toothpicks.
Once the chiles are stuffed it is time for breading. Roll each chile in the flour and set aside. Then whip the egg whites until they are at stiff peaks when the thick is removed. Finally, and maybe the strangest part, coat the chiles with the egg whites. This is where the coating happens, so more egg white means more coating.
Chile Rellenos are oftentimes served with a thick sauce-like salsa. (I prepared mine on the stove while I was making the rellenos.) Some elect to put it on the side, others put it right on top…it is really a personal preference.
Cheesy Chile Rellenos
4 Poblano Peppers
1 package Oaxaca Cheese
3 Egg whites
3 T flour
4 C Vegetable Oil
2 Large tomatoes, quartered
1 small onion
3 cloves garlic
- Roast the poblano peppers on the grill until the skin is black in spots and the pepper softs slightly.
- Immediately place in a foil packet so the peppers steam. Leave for 5 mins or more.
- Remove skins and seeds from peppers and set aside.
- Crumble cheese.
- Stuff the peppers and secure with a toothpick.
- Start the sauce by cooking onions in the bottom of a medium sized pot until soft. Add garlic and cook for a min.
- Add tomatoes, cover and cook until the tomatoes break down (you may need to add a little water to keep it all from sticking).
- Blend the salsa mixture until smooth using an immersion blender. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
- Coat chiles with flour.
- Beat egg whites until stiff and then coat chiles with the egg whites.
- Heat 4 cups vegetable oil in a dutch oven until a drop of egg whites begins to sizzle.
- Fry Chiles in oil 2 at a time until each side is golden brown.
- Remove and place on paper towel lined rack to drain and cool for a few minutes.
- Serve with salsa and enjoy!