Friday, October 4, 2013

Stuffed Poblano Chiles

I like Mexican food but I hardly ever cook it and am not too familiar with the ways to prepare it. Besides, in the US you can find the best Mexican restaurants outside Mexico and it is hard to improve on what you can get there. Also, from my humble experience with Mexican cuisine, I find it quite labor intensive, which sometimes makes it difficult to experiment with in a daily busy life.

But once in while I cannot resist a look of some typically Latin American ingredients, particularly vegetables, and I buy them without having any specific idea what to make from them. This was the case with poblano chiles. They are always very fresh, shiny, and as aromatic as the peppers I remember from my childhood in Poland.

So, last week, I bought them again. Then I reached for inspiration to the only Mexican cook book I have at home. I found there a recipe for chiles stuffed with cheese in tomato sauce. The recipe appeared delicious as there is no better combination than peppers, tomatoes, and cheese. Later, looking on the internet for other ideas, I discovered that this particular recipe is very popular and features among the classic Mexican dishes.

I grilled the chiles, stuffed them, fried, and my Sunday lunch was ready. I must admit that it is quite a fulfilling dish and just one or two chiles make the whole serving. They reminded me slightly of the dish I made with the zucchini blossoms, probably because I fried them in a batter. However, this chile dish is better defined and spicy and the cheese makes it much richer making it more suitable for a fall menu.

Stuffed Poblano Chiles
(Serves four)

4 poblano chiles,
1 tbsp white vinegar,
1 small onion peeled,
3 medium ripe tomatoes,
1 garlic clove,
1 tbsp olive oil,
2 cups grated Monterey Jack or medium sharp Cheddar (or a mixture of both),
2 small eggs,
1/2 cup flour,
vegetable oil for frying.

1. Place the whole chiles with stems under a preheated broil and grill them until their skin becomes puffy and charred. Remove them from the oven, place in a paper bag or a container with a lid and let them cool.

2. Peel off cold chiles and making a small cut alongside remove the inside membranes and seeds, making sure not to damage the chiles too much.
3. Stuff each chile with cheese through the cut and close them carefully to preserve its shape.
4. Spread the flour on the plate, coat the chiles in flour and set them aside.

5. In an electric blender puree tomatoes, onion, and garlic. Heat the oil in a small pan and add the sauce to it. Bring the sauce to boil, season with salt and pepper and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. 6. When the sauce is cooking, separate eggs. Beat the whites until stiff then add yolks and gently mix them in. 7. In a large frying skillet heat the vegetable oil (about 4 tbsp). Coat the chiles in the egg mixture and fry them in the oil on both sides until lightly brown. Drain them of the excess oil on a paper towel. 8. Arrange chiles on a serving plate, cover with a hot tomato sauce and serve with white breads.