Monday, February 20, 2012

Chile Rellenos con Pollo y Papas

Being a good Catholic girl, I feel like this post should go something like this: Bless me Readers for I have sinned. It has been six months since my last post. Please forgive me for not posting sooner, but it turns out being a full-time mom and doctoral college student is overwhelming (a word Erika and I both find ourselves using a lot lately). What's my penance? Ok, I will promise to write more often, do my homework, and try to be a good mom  Amen.

Ok, back to reality. Last November my husband and I took a trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. It was there that I had my first taste of a real chile relleno. Now, my mental vision of chile rellenos is synonymous with oozing cheese, being deep friend beyond all recognition, and served at Tex-Mex restaurants. Being a health conscious person has always limited my appetite for ordering something deep fried and calling it dinner. However, the chile rellenos I had at the all-inclusive resort we stayed at were lightly fried and were stuffed with mashed potatoes. It was like heaven. Since then, I have been dreaming about how to replicate those beautiful chiles in my kitchen. Here is my version. And no, I don't speak Spanish, but the title is much more eloquent than the English version.

Chile Rellenos con Pollo y Papas
Ingredients (Serves 4)
 For the chicken:
1 chicken breast
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. peppercorns
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp chili powder

Chiles and Stuffing:
4 poblano peppers (also called pasilla peppers)
1 cup shredded cheddar
2 cups mashed potatoes

3 eggs, whites and yolks separated
1 tbsp cornmeal

canola oil for frying
1 10oz can verde sauce or green enchilada sauce 
cotija cheese for garnish
cilantro for garnish

Place chicken breast in large stock pan. Cover with 3-4 inches of water. Add bay leaves, peppercorns, cumin and chili powder. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to medium and leave at a rolling boil for 15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken from pot and set aside to cool.
Chicken and Seasonings Cooking Away

Meanwhile, use a gas burner, oven set at broil, or grill to char the peppers. You want the peppers to be burned all over as this will help to remove the skins. Place charred peppers in a bowl and place plastic wrap over the bowl. Let the peppers sit for at least 15 minutes. Once the peppers are cool, use a paring knife to remove the skins. It helps to make a brushing motion with either side of the knife along the pepper to remove the skins. Once skins are removed, set peppers aside. 
Chiles Getting Burned
Steam Bath
When the chicken is cool, use two forks to shred the chicken. Mix the shredded chicken with cheddar and mashed potatoes. Using a small knife, cut a slit along the length of each pepper, and cut a small slit across the top of each pepper, so the cuts forms a "T". Remove the seeds and ribs of each pepper. Stuff each pepper with 1/4 of the chicken mixture.
Shredding Chicken
Stuffed Peppers waiting for the Batter
Break eggs into two bowls, one larger bowl for egg whites, and a smaller bowl for egg yolks. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add cornmeal to egg yolks, and mix with a fork until a paste forms. Fold paste into egg whites.
Pepper in Batter

Pour canola oil into cast iron pan or frying pan to approximately 1-inch depth. Heat oil. It is ready when a drop of batter is put into the oil and it sizzles and fries.

Roll each stuffed pepper in the batter, and place in pan. Cook in hot oil for approximately 2 minutes per side, or until pepper batter is deep golden brown. When done, remove and place on paper towel-lined plate. 
Fried Pepper waiting for Dressing

Top with verde sauce, cotija cheese, and chopped cilantro.

Oh man it was delicious!!

NOTES: I had mashed potatoes in the freezer that I used for this dish, which is why I didnt give any instructions on how to make mashed potatoes.

(This post is linked to Real Food Wednesdays.)


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