There are times when I simply amaze myself. No, no, it’s not those times when I’m particularly humble. I mean those times when I “get” a recipe and can recreate it without looking at a recipe. It’s akin to trying to play guitar and singing at the same time. One moment you can’t do it, then something clicks. Your mind goes “a-HA!” and suddenly you realize that your skill set for a particular task has increased +1.
Yes, that was a Dungeons and Dragons reference. I may be amazing, but I’m also a geek with a long history of geek activities.
Where was I? Oh, yes, Chile Rellenos. I love Mexican food, but it’s not my forte in the kitchen. Not because the food is any more difficult to prepare, but rather because it’s a different set of ingredients and different set of preparation skills that I don’t use all that often.
In researching this recipe, I found hundreds of different variations. In my mind, it clicked that I had a great deal of leeway in preparing this recipe, as long as I stuck to a few basic ground rules: I had to stuff a chile with a filling of some sort. I had to use roughly Southwest American or Mexican Ingredients. I had to cook the chile. The following is my result.
Warning: This recipe calls for you using hot oil on your stove top. For goodness sake, be careful!
Chiles and Filling
- 12 Anaheim Chiles, or other similarly large chiles
- 1 lb Chorizo Sausage, ground
- 1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 1/2 cup Jack cheese, shredded
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 6 eggs, separated
- 1 1/2 cups AP Flour
- 1/2 cup corn meal
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Turn on the broiler of your oven. Place the chile peppers evenly on a cookie tray and place under the broiler heating element. Cook for 5 minutes, turn over, and cook for another 5 minutes. You should have a blackened skin on your pepper that looks as if it’s about to fall off. Remove the skin or not, as there’s benefits for either choice. I chose to remove the falling skin which made it holding the filling in more difficult. Set aside and allow to cool.
In a medium skillet, cook your sausage until browned, but not overly so. There should be no pink meat remaining, but you don’t want to cook the sausage like it’s breakfast time either. Drain any fat and put the sausage in a mixing bowl. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. Combine the sausage with apricots, raisins, cheese and cumin.
Set up your frying process. In one bowl, whisk together the egg whites from six eggs until you get firm peaks. In another bowl, mix together the six egg yolks. Combine the egg yolks and whites and fold them carefully together. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but one should try not to remove the fluffiness of the egg whites either.
In another bowl, mix your flour, cornmeal, baking powder and cayenne pepper.
In a large skillet (preferably cast iron), fill with corn or canola oil up 3/4 the side of the skillet. Bring up to medium high heat.
Now, back to the chiles. Place a 1/2″ to 3/4″ slice at the thickest part of the pepper. You can choose to remove the seeds if you wish, but you may be inviting disaster if you do so. Add the filling to the pepper. Repeat the process until you’ve filled all your chile peppers. If the chile has difficulty staying together, toothpicks can be used to hold them.
By this time, your oil should be up to temperature. Roll your pepper in the egg mixture and then coat with the flour mixture. Place carefully into the oil. Cook for 2-3 minutes, flipping them over with tongs if necessary. Fry until a nice golden crust has developed. Remove from oil with tongs and allow to drain on a paper towel. Repeat as needed, cooking between 2-3 peppers at a time.
Plate and top with Salsa, or other tomato-type sauce, and a bit of cheese.
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