Chiles Rellenos with Goat Cheese, Chorizo & Tomato-Red Pepper Sauce
Finals are over! Finals are over! Woohooooooooo!!!! I'm sitting here with a smile on my face and a cold beer at my side. La la la... I'm a happy girl. Now cross your fingers that I did well on my finals...
Well, I'm a little late for Cinco de Mayo, but hey... in my book, it's ALWAYS time for some good southwestern style food. Mark is a huge fan of chiles rellenos, so I wanted to make them for him. I don't really have my own recipe worked out yet, so I found one by none other than the great Bobby Flay. Bobby is the resident chef on The Early Show on CBS and this was one of the things he made on the air. You can see the recipe here. Now, there's different ways you can prepare chiles rellenos. They can be baked with or without a tortilla cover or they can be battered and fried. This particular recipe batters the poblano peppers in a dark beer batter.
Yeah, exactly... he had me at beer. The other unique thing about this recipe, to me, was the fact that he uses goat cheese in it. Now that's about the last type of cheese I think of when I'm trying to dream up my next Mexican/southwestern style dish. However, it ended up being not only a great tasting choice, but a very necessary choice in a functional sort of way. You see, because of the goat cheese's texture, it actually was the reason that these peppers stayed together and didn't fall apart when battered and fried. This was a recipe that, halfway into it, I wasn't sure I was going to be able to finish. After roasting the peppers, then peeling and seeding them, the flesh was a bit flimsy and started tearing in a couple areas. I wasn't sure how I was going to be able to stuff them and get the stuffing to NOT fall out into the oil when frying them. BUT, it ended up working out great and I would make them again in a heartbeat. Oh and don't forget to make the sauce... it's REALLY good and is a perfect companion to this version of chiles rellenos.
Here's how it's done:
To make the sauce, start by roasting a red pepper. I did this one my usual way: directly over the open flame on my stovetop. When the pepper is completely charred, place it in a paper bag and close up the bag for a few minutes. The skin will get wrinkly and easy to remove this way; you'll be able to simply rub off the skin. Once the skin is removed, slice the pepper open, remove the seeds and stem, then chop it up.
Heat some olive oil in a pan over medium heat and add your onions. After about a minute, add your garlic and saute both for a few minutes so they can release their flavors and start to get tender.
Next add the red pepper and cook for another couple minutes.
Then add your pureed plum tomatoes and cook the sauce for about 10 minutes.
The recipe tells you to cook it longer, but I'm really not sure why. It starts to thicken up almost right away.
After your sauce has thickened, add your cilantro and season with salt and pepper.
This is a very easy sauce to make once you've mastered roasting a pepper (which is nothing really) and the result is a fresh, bright, wonderful flavor that completely compliments the chile relleno.
Set your sauce aside until you're ready to plate. I just microwaved mine right before I was ready to plate so it was hot.
Next, prepare your chiles. Since I had four to stuff, I decided to roast my poblano peppers under the broiler. After they're charred on both sides, do the same thing with the paper bag to loosen the skin on these, too.
While your peppers are roasting, put together your filling. This recipe has a lot of different choices you can make for the filling, but since I had some sliced chorizo on hand AND some leftover goat cheese, I went with the obvious combination. Mix together your cheeses, chorizo, and cilantro, then season with salt and pepper. Easy. Oh, and now's the time that you have to try not to eat all of this stuffing out of the bowl rather than stuffing the peppers. It's good!
Ok, back to the peppers. So after you've roasted and bagged them, rub the skin off CAREFULLY (you're trying to keep these peppers in tact as much as possible), then gently slice a slit down the front of each pepper so you can open it up and reach in to pull out the seed pod. I chose to leave the stems on because I think it's a nicer presentation AND it assures that the tops of your peppers will be sealed. It's also easier loading the stuffed peppers into the hot oil when you're hanging onto the stem.
After you have managed to de-seed the peppers, stuff them with the cheese-chorizo mixture. Now here's the cool part. Just close the flaps of the pepper back up and gently squeeze it all over with your fingers. The goat cheese will act as an adhesive and I promise these peppers will easily stay together.
Now make the batter. The recipe says to use a dark beer, so I chose this Ithaca Beer Co. Nut Brown Ale. This stuff tastes great and it did well in this beer batter.
Whisk together your egg and beer (I made a half batch, so only one egg and 1/2 a beer)...
Then add your flour little by little until a thick batter forms. I had to add a bit of water to this batter to thin it out a little, but not too much. You want the batter thick enough to where it will stick to the pepper, but not too thick that it will be gloppy. Yes, "gloppy" is a technical term. Just like "puky", or "hurl-like".
Sorry I don't have pictures of the stuffed peppers and the batter-dipping process, but this was the point in the evening when I was stressing that this wouldn't even work and I didn't have an extra hand to take the picture, so I had to jip ya. I know, I suck!
So, the next step is to carefully dip the stuffed pepper into the beer batter until it's completely coated. Then roll it in some cornmeal (that you have in a seperate bowl). I used yellow cornmeal because that's what I had and it turned out great, so use whatever you'd like.
After you've battered and cornmeal-ed the peppers, place them (one by one! I cooked each one seperately and then kept them warm in the over until they were all done) into the hot oil. Now here's another change: I set the oil to about 345 degrees instead of 370 like the recipe suggests. I also kept them in the oil longer (probably a good five minutes each) until they started to turn golden brown. That way the cornmeal had time to cook and they didn't get too brown too fast.
Once the pepper is done, drain it on paper towels and immediately lightly hit it with some salt. Pop them into the oven until they've all been fried and you're ready to plate.
Then simply put down some sauce onto the plate first, then place a chile relleno on top. Place a lovely piece of cilantro on top for garnish and you're done!
Mark and I both really liked these and like I said, I would make them again. ¡Apetito bueno!
Chiles Rellenos with Roasted Vegetables, Chorizo & Tomato-Red Pepper Sauce
Courtesy of Bobby Flay and CBS's The Early Show
Dark Beer Batter:
1 bottle dark beer
2 cups flour
Salt and pepper
Whisk together the beer and eggs in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the flour until smooth and season with salt and pepper. If the mixture appears too thick, add a few tablespoons of water.
1 large beet, roasted, peeled and finely diced
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
Salt and freshly ground pepper
8 Poblano peppers or Anaheim peppers, roasted, seeded and peeled
4 cups white cornmeal
4 cups peanut oil
Mix together the beets (or eggplant or chorizo), cheeses and cilantro and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Stuff each pepper with approximately 3 tablespoons of the mixture.
Batter lightly and dredge in the cornmeal.
In a large frying pan, heat the oil to 370 degrees F.
Fry the peppers in batches, turning until lightly brown, about 4 minutes.
Drain on paper towels.
Ladle sauce into the center of a plate and place chile relleno on top.
1 small eggplant, roasted, peeled and cut into 1/2 -inch dice; fontina cheese and goat cheese
8 ounces Spanish chorizo, cut into 1/2-inch dice and sautéed until golden brown; white cheddar and goat cheese
Tomato-Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium Spanish onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 cups plum tomatoes and their juice, pureed
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium heat.
Add onions and garlic and cook until soft.
Add red pepper and cook for 2 minutes.
Add tomatoes and cook over high heat until sauce is thickened, about 20 minutes.
Add cilantro and season with salt and pepper to taste.