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Chef Tony Perez - Stuffed Pasilla Peppers (Chile Rellenos)

Today's request is special, for many reasons. First of all, it's a very traditional recipe that always brings me back to when my grandma, Mama Teré, used to make it, so I had to refer to my mom to really understand what makes the famous Chile Rellenos authentic. Her answer, simply was "Love." Chile Relleno literally means "the stuffed chile," which means there can be variable flavors to this recipe. Everyone will make the stuffing differently! Traditionally this dish is made using the Poblano pepper, but I've noticed that I prefer the Pasilla pepper taste; I just think it's better! It is usually only filled with cheese and served during Lent on Good Friday. But since we're not in Lent right now, I chose my favorite ingredients to create the stuffing, so I hope you enjoy them too. At the end of the process I realized that by saying "Love," what my mom really meant was patience, care and attentiveness! You will need all three.

Chef Tony Perez - Stuffed Pasilla Peppers (Chile Rellenos)

Mis en Place
The Peppers + Stuffing

  • 5 Pasilla peppers
  • 3 medium Mexican green onions
  • 1 cup Baby Bella mushrooms (diced)
  • 1 cup Mexican squash (diced)
  • 1 Tbsp. Fresh Tarragon
  • 1 lb. Ground beef
  • Pepper Jack cheese
  • Queso Fresco (crumbled)
  • 2 tsp. Fresh Thyme
  • 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
  • Eggs (Approx 6 medium eggs)
  • Salt + Pepper to taste
Flour Mixture
  • 1 cup flour
  • Salt + pepper to taste
  • Ground Annatto to taste
Sweet Tomato Sauce
  • 10 ripe Roma tomatoes- leave whole
  • 1/3 small yellow onion
  • 3 large garlic clove
  • 2 jalapeños
  • 1/3 tablespoon
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of ground Cumin
  • Pinch of sugar
Preparation

Step 1: The Peppers

Over a high flame char-up the chiles. Turn chiles over until blistering and black all over. Right off the flame, put chiles in a large metal bowl and cover with plastic wrap to continue steaming/cooking until they are cool enough to handle. Let sit for approx 15 minutes. Peel chiles and discard skins.

Chef Tony Perez - Steaming Chiles for Chile Rellenos

In the mean time, in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, cook ground meat, stirring occasionally to break up the meat until brown, (approx. 10 minutes.) At this point, season with salt and pepper and add in the fresh chopped thyme.

Set your large sauté pan over medium-high heat with a bit of oil, and add in the mushrooms and squash. Sauté for 4 minutes. Throw in the green onions, jalapeños, and fresh Tarragon. Sauté for 2 more min and remove skillet from heat.

In a large bowl, mix ground meat, vegetables, and queso fresco. Stuff the chiles with this mixture and add a 1 in. peice of Pepper Jack cheese. Leave the stem and seed attached. Once they are stuffed, set aside and turn your focus on the batter. **This is where it can get a little complicated!

Step 2:The Batter:

To make the batter, separate the whites of the eggs saving the yolks in a separate bowl. Whisk the egg whites at high speed until it creates fluffy peaks; it should almost look like foam. At this point, lightly beat the yolks and fold them into the whites keeping it fluffy. Once ready, set yourself up with the next steps to begin frying. Have fry skillet or pan of your choice ready with hot oil -- heated to 375 F -- it's very critical to watch the temperature of your oil.

Chef Tony Perez - Chile Rellenos

This is where patience is important. The best "assembly line," I like to call it, is to have your peppers stuffed, sitting in a bowl farthest away from your frying pan. Next to your peppers, in a separate dish, should be your seasoned flour (Salt + pepper, ground Annatto). Then finally, closest to your frying pan, should be the batter. Start from the pepper bowl, coat each pepper with flour, dip into batter, and fry each pepper until lightly golden brown, turning peppers no more than twice all the way around (approx 2-3 min. each pepper)

Step 3: The Sweet Tomato Sauce

Boil tomatoes and jalapeños until tender. Put in blender or food processor, along with onion, garlic cloves and puree, (i recommend adding a little broth of the tomato). Add, salt, sugar, and Cumin. Lightly coat a medium saucepan with the oil, add tomato mixture. Simmer over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. I recommend to have the tomato sauce hot add ready before your start the stuffed pepper procedure.

Step 4: The Presentation!
After frying, drain them aside, and serve the sauce on top of the pepper upon serving. Garnish with chopped green onion and crumbled Queso Fresco. Enjoy!

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