Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Chile Rellenos

Chile Rellenos

I've written before about my friends' mom in Tampa, Florida, who first introduced me to Mexican cooking. They were an Air Force family who came to Tampa by way of California. In Cali, they had an Hispanic maid, who taught them her way of cooking. My friends' mom taught me at the tender age of 14, because I was SO taken with this way of cooking. I've been cooking the dishes she showed me ever since, and they are always a big hit!

When she first taught me how to make chile rellenos, there was no great abundance of fresh peppers in the markets like there are now. Over the years, I've tried this dish with different kinds of fresh peppers, but I always come back to the original canned peppers. They are peeled, ready to use and just the right size for an appetizer or a side dish! If you want a bigger version, like the ones sold in so many Mexican Restaurants, you can try a poblano pepper or any that you like, but this is what I've used for many years:
Canned Chilies for Chile Rellenos
Whole Chilies draining on paper towels
First, you need to lay the chilies out on a paper towel and drain them, like this:
Next, mix up the batter:

1/2 c. Bisquick

1 large egg

1/4 c. beer

Mix this well, pressing a fork into the mixture to get rid of all the lumps. You will have enough batter for about 6 of these smaller sized chilies. Most cans have 3 to 5 chilies in them, so if you need more, you'll have to buy 2 cans. I made four and discarded the rest of my batter. (NOTE: this batter is good for onion rings too!!)

Now, stuff your chilies:

1/4 med. onion, finely minced

about 2 ounces of white cheddar cheese, cut into rectangles and slightly tapered at the bottom

Put a few pieces of onion into the bottom of the chile, then slide in the cheese and stuff in a little more onion. Make sure to cut the onion VERY finely and slice the cheese into a shape that will fit your chilies!

Preheat about half an inch of vegetable oil in a large skillet. The oil is ready when a drop of the batter sizzles and floats to the top when dripped into the skillet. If the the oil starts to smoke or the drop to burn your oil is too hot.

While the oil is preheating, put the chilies carefully into the batter and turn them over until they are completely coated, including the open tops. Plenty of batter will prevent your cheese from melting out of the chile.

Place them carefully into the hot cooking oil, and drizzle a little more batter on the side facing up ( a small tsp. works well for this, just be careful so the oil does not pop and splatter). Let them fry for a minute or 2 and turn them over, keeping the oil hot enough to sizzle but not burn. Cook them until they are golden brown. Serve with a little salsa if desired. Enjoy!

Yummy Chile Rellenos, topped with salsa and cheese oozing out!

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