It is the peak of pepper season, and I have peppers coming out my ears! I have been stuffing them, slicing them, roasting them, and adding them to every kind of salsa imaginable. But it isn’t enough. It’s time to fry them. And the best way to fry a pepper is to make the infamous chile relleno. Infamous in my house, anyway, as tonight will be my third attempt — with the previous two ending in unmitigated disaster. (After Note: Success!!! Finally!!!!)
This time, I’m prepared. I’ve done my research, and I won’t be repeating any of my previous mistakes. For your reference, those were:
- using the wrong kind of peppers
- incorrectly peeling
- misapplying batter
- removing stems
3 Poblano (Ancho) Peppers
3 C. Oil for frying – preferably a mix of olive oil and canola or sunflower seed oil
1 1/2 C. Queso Fresco, Shredded
1 Ear Sweet Corn
1/2 C. Cilantro
1/4 tsp. Salt
2 C. Corn Flour
1 1/2 C. Beer (something light, not too much hops)
1 C. Milk
1/2 tsp. Cumin
1/2 tsp. Coriander
Salt and Pepper to taste
1. Place peppers in baking dish. Roast on 350 for 45 minutes or until beginning to blister. Remove, let cool, and peel. Slit peppers from top almost to tip, de-seed (preserving stem).
2. Strip corn and mix kernels with cheese, cilantro and salt to form filling. Gently stuff the peppers until almost full. You will now want to use tooth picks or other such apparatus (I used bobby pins because I had no toothpicks. Weird, but effective) to pinch the sides of the pepper closed.
Now for the Enlightened step, courtesy of Home Cooking in Montana
3. Stick the peppers in the freezer until very firm but not totally frozen.
4. While you wait, mix the corn flour, beer, milk, and spices for the batter. This should be well mixed but still fluffy – don’t overdo it!
5. Heat the oil in a wok or deep pan over medium high heat – you want it high enough that water will sizzle and evaporate instantly, but not so high that it boils or smokes or anything scary like that. Remove the peppers from the freezer, dispatch with their toothpicks, and plop gently, one at a time, first in the batter and then in the hot oil.
5. Gently brown on all sides before removing, cooling, and of course enjoying. For best results, top with a tasty sauce. You could try a classic mexican mole, or better yet my Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Verde. Buen Provecho!