Wednesday, July 22, 2009
My husband grew up in Texas and went to medical school in San Antonio, so he's had the privilege of sampling some dang-golly-good Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine.
Me, not so much. North Dakota didn't have much to offer growing up; I don't think we even had a Taco John's. And you'd think Colorado would have at least some decent offerings--I mean, we're not that far from Texas and Mexico, but I've eaten some incredibly shitty food here. When I get down to Denver (which is, actually, never) I have maybe a 5% chance of finding authentic and edible Mexican food.
Okay, rant about lack of good Mexican cuisine in the Rockies over. Sorry.
Anyways, my husband loves nothing more than a good chile rellenos. When he heads back to the Lone Star State, that's always one of the first things on his mind. Note that I said good chile rellenos. When done properly (which apparently darn few people know how to do) chile rellenos makes you groan and roll your eyes in ecstasy. Shitty chile rellenos? You'll groan and you'll roll your eyes, but it's not 'cause you're blissed out, lemme tell ya. Shitty chile rellenos=colon bomb.
I'd love to make chile rellenos for my husband, but I don't fry. Hot oil scares the heck out of me. I don't know how my grandmother Henrietta fried chicken almost every day of her married life, but I applaud her bravery.
Plus, my dear husband has high cholesterol, and I really, really, want him to stay on this planet for a long time. So where fried food is concerned, I'm kind of the Food Gestapo. He probably sneaks it behind my back, but when I'm present, he's allowed to eat it maybe twice a year. And yeah, I know I'm no fun, so shut up.
I made a great discovery the other day. The cool folks at Weber make a cookbook! A pretty darn good one! It's called Weber's Way to Grill, by Jamie Purviance, and it tells you how to grill just about anything. Sorry Bobby Flay, I am now two-timing your ass.
The Weber Grill Cookbook has a recipe for Grilled Chile Rellenos. Genius! Of course, I had to mess with the recipe and alter the heck out of it, because I cannot leave well enough alone, but we were all quite pleased.
Here's the recipe (with my modifications):
Grilled Chile Rellenos
modified from Weber's Way to Grill by Jamie Purviance
6 large poblano chile peppers
1 cup grated pepper jack cheese
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup crumbled fresh goat cheese
2 idaho potatoes, scrubbed and pricked with a fork
1/3 cup salsa
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
Bake the potatoes at 350 degrees for an hour; cool and scoop out potato from shells, reserve. Discard potato skins.
Heat the grill to medium. Place poblano chile peppers directly on the grill with the lid open until the skins are blackened and blistered all over, 10 to 15 minutes, turning occasionally. (The goal is to char the skins quickly so that you can peel them without the chiles collapsing. You will need chiles with enough structure, even when roasted, to hold the filling).
They'll look something like this--although I think I'd even blacken them some more next time.
Place charred chiles in a large bowl; cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow chiles to steam, about 10 minutes.
Gently peel and discard the skin from the chiles. Leaving the stems intact, carefully cut a slit down one side of each chile and remove and discard the seeds and veins.
In a medium bowl, combine the potato, salsa, chopped jalapenos, cheeses, ancho chile powder, salt and pepper.
Carefully stuff the chiles with the filling mixture. Brush chiles with olive oil.
Grill the stuffed chiles, seam side up, over indirect medium heat, with the lid closed, until the cheese melts, about 6-8 minutes. Alternatively, you can just pop them under the broiler until the cheese melts.
The original recipe didn't call for potato in the filling, but I wanted a dish that was more substantial. Read: Dana's ass is too lazy to make more than one thing, so she's trying to turn these into a heartier, more entree-like dish.
I actually thought of this because another of my hubby's favorite things are samosa and dosa, which are Indian dishes using spiced mashed potatoes.
Prepping the chiles really isn't as hard as it sounds. Just make sure you sufficiently blacken and char the skins and steam for enough time. In retrospect, I think I would have let mine steam another 5 minutes because they were a leeetle tricky to peel. In fact, I only got about half the skin off the peppers. It didn't really matter, though. Honestly, next time I might not peel them at all.
Wham-o! I hit this out of the ballpark! Everyone loved them (except for the little girls, who do not like spice in their food). Very delicious vegetarian chile rellenos. Not Texas-fried-good, mind you, but reasonably healthy and quite flavorful. Not bad for a North Dakota girl!