Monday, March 10, 2008

Chiles Rellenos

1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, pressed
3 bay leaves
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 chipotle peppers, canned in adobo sauce, chopped
4 Tbsp adobo sauce, from canned peppers
1 cup canned diced tomatoes
1 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
salt & pepper

8 large poblano peppers
8 oz pepper jack cheese, cut into 1-oz sticks
2 cups flour
4 eggs, separated
vegetable oil, for frying

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic and bay leaf; saute until onion is translucent. Add tomato paste, chopped chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, canned tomatoes, and spices. Simmer 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Char the flesh of the peppers under a broiler, turning frequently, until the skins are blistered all over. Put peppers in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let sweat for about 10 minutes to loosen the skins. Rub off as much skin as possible and cut a slit along the side of each pepper, keeping the stems and tip intact. Carefully remove the seeds and inner membranes, but do not rinse with water.

Heat 1-inch of oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat until very hot.

Place flour in a shallow platter and season with salt and pepper. Beat egg whites until foamy, add a pinch of salt, and whip to stiff peaks. Lightly beat the egg yolks and fold into the whites. Stuff the chiles with cheese sticks, leaving enough room to close the opening. Overlap the seam slightly and gently squeeze closed. Secure with wooden toothpicks if desired. Pat the peppers dry and lightly coat in the seasoned flour. Pick the chile up by its stem and dip into the egg batter, making sure they are well covered, tap off excess. Fry until evenly browned, about 3 minutes each side. The egg burns easily so take care not to cook too long. Drain on paper towels. To serve, ladle a pool of sauce on plates and set chiles rellenos on top, serve immediately.

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