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REC: Diana Kennedy's Chiles Rellenos. I've been enjoying my earth oven for baking bread lately

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Joined: Dec 14, 2005


Posted to Thread #29437 at 7:24 pm on Feb 14, 2017

and the technique calls for building a very hot fire to heat the clay, then raking out the coals and letting the oven cool down a bit before baking. In the interim the hot oven can be used for pizza or pita bread, but I've found it perfect for roasting chiles. I've also found they freeze well after peeling.

I've never met a chile relleno I didn't like. My mom made them with a can of Ortega chiles and jack cheese. I thought they were so exotic at the time. I like them with thin batter, thick batter, any type of sauce, and any type of cheese. I've even enjoyed them stuffed with Velveeta.

Diana Kennedy's recipe is superb. The batter is light and crisp--mostly air--and the broth (not a sauce!) is delicious. She calls for a meat picadillo stuffing, which is in the link, and cheese as a variation. The pork broth from making the picadillo becomes the base for the tomato broth for serving. Here is my version. I use cheese for the filling because it's hard for me to imagine a chile relleno without cheese, and chicken stock for the broth:

Diana Kennedy, The Cuisines of Mexico

1 pounds tomatoes
3 tbsp. roughly chopped white onion
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 tbps. lard or vegetable oil (I use the fat from the chicken stock)
4 whole cloves
6 peppercorns
2 Mexican bay leaves
tsp. dried thyme
1-1/2- inch cinnamon stick, broken into two pieces
3 cups chicken stock
Salt to taste

6 poblano chiles, charred and peeled
About 8 oz. Oaxaca or Jack cheese, cut in 12 strips

Vegetable oil for frying
4 large eggs, separated
tsp. salt


Peel and seed the tomatoes: blanch in boiling water for 15 seconds, then plunge in cold water. Peel off the skin. Cut the tomatoes in half and squeeze out the seeds. Strain the seeds to extract the tomato water and reserve.

Blend the tomatoes and their water with the onion and garlic until smooth. Melt the fat in a wide pan and fry the blended tomatoes over high heat for about 3 minutes, stirring to prevent sticking. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the broth and salt, and cook them over high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring.

Add the broth and continue cooking the over medium heat for about 10 minutes. By that time it will be well seasoned and reduced somewhat-but still a broth rather than a thick sauce. Add salt as necessary.

Make a slit in the side of each chile and carefully remove the seeds and veins. Be careful to leave the top of the chile, the part around the base of the stem, intact.
Stuff each chili with 2 strips of cheese and bring the edges together. Don't worry if the chiles tear. The batter will hold them together for frying

Meanwhile, beat the egg whites until they are firm, but not too dry. Add the salt and egg yolks one by one, beating well after each addition.

Prepare one chile at a time: pat the chile completely dry (or batter will not adhere)and sprinkle them lightly with flour. Coat with batter.

Fry in the hot oil, turning it from time to time, until the batter turns a deep golden color-about 2 minutes.
Drain the chiles on paper toweling and place them in the tomato broth--it should come about halfway up the chiles--to heat through over low heat. Serve immediately.

You can prepare the stuffing and the sauce the day before, and clean the chiles. You can prepare the chiles 2 hours ahead, but do not put them into the broth. Place them on a rimmed cookie sheet lined with several layers of paper toweling, and reheat in a 350 F over for about 20 minutes. This method has the added advantage that the paper absorbs quite a lot of the grease. Then place the chiles in the broth or pour broth over and serve with hot tortillas. I do not recommend freezing.

Joe's notes: I find the roasted chiles themselves freeze well, so it's worth the trouble to roast and peel extra while you're at it. Chiles Poblanos are sometimes called Chiles Pasillas in the Californias, while the name pasilla usually refers to dried chiles in other parts of Mexico. By any name they are the dark green, heart-shaped mild chiles. Their dried version, Chiles Anchos, are dark brown and sweet. They are the base for mole poblano. Diana suggests using them as a variation for chiles rellenos--soaking them first, then cutting out the veins and seeds. I haven't yet tried it but it sounds interesting.

Since there are only two of us, this lasts for three meals, served with tortillas and beans (The beans cook overnight in the outdoor oven after the baking is done.) I keep them out of the broth and they reheat well, two at a time, in the toaster oven on a pan lined with paper towels.


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