Clay's Kitchen : Recetas Mexicanas (Mexican Recipes)

Recetas Mexicanas (Mexican Recipes)

© Copyright 1995-2017, Clay Irving <clay@panix.com>, Manhattan Beach, CA USA

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Chile Rellenos (Stuffed Chiles)

Recipe from: The Cuisines of Mexico by Diana Kennedy ISBN 0-06-012344-3
Servings: 6

This dish consists of large chiles or bell peppers stuffed with meat or cheese, coated with a light batter, and fried. They are served in a light tomato broth.

There is alays an exclamation of pleasure and surprise when a cazuela of golden, puffy chiles rellenos sitting in their tomato broth is presented at the table. If you have eaten those sad, flabby little things that usually turn up in so-called Mexican restaurants in the United States as authentic chiles rellenos, you have a great surprise in store. Here is yet another prime example of the fine feeling the Mexicans have for texture in their food: you bite through the slightly crisp, rich chile poblano to experience the crunch of the almonds and little bits of crystallized fruits in the pork filling. Then there is the savory broth to cut the richness of the batter.

Chiles poblanos are imported in great quantities to large centers of Mexican population here in the States but very few find their way to the East. (Maybe this was true in 1972 when this book was published, but these days they are readily available here in Cambridge. To me, bell peppers are no substitute.) I am afraid the bell pepper is about the only suitable substitute for appearance and size—you can always spike them with a little chile serrano.

Assembling the chiles may seem like a long laborious task, but it is no more complicated and time consuming than most worthwhile dishes, and this dish is certainly worthwhile.

Picadillo:
3 pounds boneless pork
½ onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon salt
6 tablespoons lard or the fat from the broth
½ medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
8 peppercorns
5 whole cloves
½ inch stick cinnamon
3 tablespoons raisins
2 tablespoons almonds, blanched & slivered
2 tablespoons acitron or candied fruit, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1 ¼ pounds tomatoes, peeled and seeded

Tomato Broth:
1 ¼ pounds tomatoes, peeled and seeded
¼ medium onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
¼ cup lard or reserved fat from the broth
4 whole cloves
6 peppercorns
2 small bay leaves
2 ½ sticks cinnamon
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
3 cups reserved pork broth
salt, to taste

The Chiles:
6 chiles poblanos, or bell peppers

The Batter:
Peanut oil - at least ¾" deep
4 eggs, separated
¼ teaspoon salt
a little flour

Prepare the picadillo:
Cut the meat into large cubes. Put them into the pan with the onion, garlic, and salt and cover with cold water. Bring the meat to a boil, lower the flame and let it simmer until just tender—about 40 to 45 minutes. Do not overcook. Leave the meat to cool off in the broth.

Strain the meat, reserving the broth, then shred or chop it finely and set it aside. Let the broth get completely cold and skim off the fat. Reserve the fat. Melt the lard and cook the onion and garlic, without browning, until they are soft.

Add the meat and let it ook until it begins to brown.

Crush the spices roughly and add them, with the rest of the ingredients to the meat mixture. Cook the mixture a few moments longer.

Mash the tomatoes a little and add them to the mixture in the pan. Continue cooking the mixture over a high flame for about 10 minutes, stirring it from time to time so that it does not stick. It should be almost dry.

Prepare the tomato broth:
Blend the tomatoes, with the juice extracted from their seeds, with the onion and garlic until smooth.

Melt the lard and fry the tomato purée over a high flame for about 3 minutes, stirring to prevent sticking. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook them over a high flame for about 5 minutes, stirring.

Add the pork broth and continue cooking the broth over a medium flame for about 15 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.

Prepare the chiles:
Put the chiles straight onto a fairly high flame or under the broiler—not into the oven—and let the skin blister and burn. Turn the chiles from time to time so they do not get overcooked or burn right through.

Wrap the chiles in a damp cloth or plastic bag and leave them for 20 minutes. The burned skin will then flake off very easily and the flesh will become a little more cooked in the steam.

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. (If the chiles are too picante, let them soak in a mild vinegar and water solution for about 30 minutes.) Rinse the chiles and pat them dry.

Stuff the chiles until they are well filled out. If you are using bell peppers, add some chopped fresh chile to make them a little picante. Set them aside on paper toweling while you make the batter.

Prepare the batter:
Heat the oil until it starts to smoke.

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

Pat the chiles completely dry (or the batter will not adhere) and sprinkle them lightly with flour. Coat them with the batter.

Fry the chiles in the hot fat, turning them from time to time, until they are an even gold all over.

Drain the chiles on the paper toweling and place them in the tomato broth—it should come about halfway up the chiles—to heat through over a low flame.

Serve immediately.

Variation:
Chiles Rellenos De Queso (Chiles Stuffed With Cheese)

Follow the instructions for Chiles Rellenos but stuff the chiles with slices of mozzarella or mild Cheddar cheese instead of the picadillo. In Mexico the braided queso de Oaxaca is generally used.


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