To commemorate Mexican Independence Day weekend, and just because nos dió el antojo, last night we whipped up a batch of chiles rellenos, Mamá Lilia style. (Mamá Lilia is my grandmother, who at 93 years of age, is the sharpest and best cook I have ever met. She’s the chef that didn’t go to cooking school, but she can teach some of those chefs on television a thing or two.)
Lucky for us we had the ingredients in the house. I’d never made them before in my life… pero pos ahi te voy! (ML supervised and helped with the eggs.)
We used 3 poblano peppers; 1/2 lb. of ground turkey for the relleno* cooked with a bit of onion, 2 garlic cloves chopped; 2 eggs whipped up; about 1/2 cup of flour, salt and pepper, and canola oil. (*Other altenatives for the relleno are Cheese, or even tuna prepared as you like it.)
Anybody who makes chiles rellenos will tell you this is a labor intensive process, de veras que no es difícil pero lleva varios pasos, so you just have to go along and be patient. But in the end it’s totally worth it.
It’s certainly not as complicated as the Chiles en Nogada, which is the traditional platillo de Fiestas Patrias and a beautiful delicacy and historical reference in Mexican cuisine. This chile we make is more likely a dish from Sonora, where ML is from, adapted by yours truly.
Apologize if I don’t have a photo for every step. I was busy cooking and couldn’t use my camera at the same time.
Started out with 3 chile poblano peppers, nice size for stuffing.
Here we are “tatemando” the chiles (roasting) directly on the flame from the grill.
Tatemando (roasting) and preparing los Chiles: You have to blacken the skin of the chile evenly, turning the chile on the flame, then carefully place in a small plastic bag (like those from the produce at the supermarket) to sweat them out. Hay que sudarlos for about 10 minutes. Then you wash them gently under running water, removing the black skin and making an incision on one of the sides to remove the seeds from inside and which will be later used to stuff the chile.
Stuffing: Meanwhile you cook your relleno as you like it. I just used the Jenny-0 ground turkey (half a package for the 3 chiles) and cooked it with la cebollita bien picadita and garlic.
Eggs: The next step was tricky, beating the eggs to a nice foam so you can do the “capeada de los chiles.” I couldn’t master it yet so my ML got impatient. And then she said this to me, “A ver, házte a un lado, te voy a subir los huevos…” (no pun intended!)
She made a little hole on the top of the egg, separated the white and beat it first, then added the yolk, a little bit of flour and a dash of salt.
In the meantime I heated up the skillet with the canola oil, it has to be hot and ready for you to add the chiles.
Here is my grandmother whipping the eggs. There’s a special technique which is to beat the clara first (the white first) until it reaches a merengue foamy texture and then you add the yolk and continue whipping until you get a nice pale yellow foam. Add a dash of salt and a bit of flour.
Whipping up the egg.
After the egg is ready you move very quickly: Stuff the cooked turkey in the chile to make it nice and full, give the chile a dusting with flour on a plate and then move to a bath of the egg foam batter. Transfer quickly to the hot skillet with the oil.
Cooking the chiles: You want to get a golden brown finish on each side. The top white one is what it looks like with the batter mix before turning.
Turn the chiles on each side to thoroughly cook them. Make sure there is no raw egg or flour left uncooked, around 2 minutes per side. Make sure not to burn them either!
Once cooked transfer to a plate with a paper towel to remove excess. Serve immediately. I used a little homemade tomato salsa to serve it.
And maybe I don’t get any points for presentation, but let me tell you, these were delish…if I may say so myself.
Gracias Mamá Lilia por la receta y la ayuda, y por dejarse tomar fotos aunque “no ande arreglada.”
¡Feliz 16 de Septiembre y Qué Viva México!
My first chile relleno. Came out good!