Poblano and jalapeno peppers
This Labor Day was spent laboring over making chile relleno. My mom’s hot Big Jim peppers were ripe for the picking and the Hub and I had found 4 lovely poblanos on one of our little pepper plants. So, what better to end a long weekend with than a 3.5 hour experimental cooking session. My mother had made them several times with mixed results and I was inspired this year by a post from a favorite blogger who happened to get into more and more cooking posts recently – much to my liking.
It was fun charring the peppers – too much rain meant we couldn’t use the grill so luckily my mom had a gas stove. The poblanos really danced but the Big Jim’s seemed to rest well during the toasting.
The blister-skinned peppers were then placed in a paper bag. Thus making their own steam which helps with the skinning of the pepper. While skinning I held the still hot peppers under cold water which also seemed to help the skins release.
My mother either sliced the tops off or made a slit in each pepper to dig the seeds out as best as possible. With 14 peppers to do I finished the job not as thoroughly which made for a few surprising hot mouthfuls when we’d finally sat down to eat. I told burning-eared sis that she’d won the Prize Pepper. After seeding we commenced to stuffing with triangles of Jack cheese and some cooked burger I’d seasoned with a little salt and cumin.
The very-basic batter is what attracted me. The peppers are simply dusted with white flour . . .
and then dipped in stiff-beaten egg whites folded back in with their whipped yolks. I used a pinch of salt during the white beating to get them to thicken a bit more substantially.
After dipping the lightly floured peppers they were placed in 1/4 inch of oil in a medium skillet. The oil is ready when you can put the end of a wooden spoon in it and small bubbles rise up. This test is less splattery than the water flick test I used to use.
The batter was puffy and light and adhered well to the floured peppers. They turned a lovely golden color. Each one took about 5-7 minutes to make sure the cheese had melted inside, turning every couple minutes. We served them up with homemade refried beans that my mother had started earlier and a tomato sauce I started earlier, from our garden tomatoes we cooked down, strained and blended. It was seasoned with chili powder, cumin, dried onion, fresh garlic, paprika, salt and a pinch of sugar.
It was well worth the mess and process. Definitely not something I’d want to whip up every weekend but a great once-a-year treat when the garden is bursting with that bounty of peppers.