I like to think I've gotten a first rate education in eating chile rellenos. My mother's family is from San Antonio and we even lived there for a bit when I was a kid. But I didn't know anything about cooking them until I got a half day tutorial from a family friend on a hot Sunday afternoon.
Elda taught me every step of the process from blistering the chiles over a gas stove, to peeling off the hot skin to pan frying them and cooking the rice and beans. They were by far the best rellenos I had ever had. Unlike your Mexican chain rellenos, these had soft, pillowy egg batter. They were not greasy and the flavor of the cheese and chiles and oregano together was so perfect, I could hardly believe the ingredients were so simple.
Only downside- it took half a day. Seriously. While I loved them, I only ever made them this way on two other occasions. Surely there was a cheater method?
There is. You put the same ingredients into a casserole dish and viola. And add some baking powder to fluff up the eggs since we won't be pan frying the chiles.
This recipe can be made with the traditional flavors, queso fresco and poblanos, or for those of you who do not like much spice, you can make what I am calling "italian style" using roasted sweet Italian peppers and a firm Italian cheese instead.
Pope Farm roasted italian sweet peppers
SkyPilot ground pork and eggs
Mini Moos italian casero cheese
tomatoes, onion, garlic and oregano from your favorite veggie grower
flour from farmer John
You will need:
a 9X9 casserole dish
1 pack roasted sweet Italian peppers or Anaheim peppers
1 white onion, diced
1 clove garlic
3 medium tomatoes, cored
1lb fresh ground pork
2T fresh or 1T dried Oregano
Salt to taste
Italian Casero cheese or other fresh cheese, like queso fresco (we used Mini Moo's Italian Casero at the Longmont Saturday market)
1t baking powder
1. Peel the skin off the peppers and remove seeds
You can do this the easy way or the hard way. The easy way is to run them under water, but you will wash away some of those precious pepper oils that give them so much flavor. The hard way is just to do this with your hands.
Happily, it does not matter if you tear up the peppers a bit while removing the skin and seeds since we do not have to stuff them back together with toothpicks.
Place cleaned peppers in casserole dish.
2. Cube the cheese and place them in the peppers
3. Prepare the salsa
Quarter the tomatoes and place them in the blender. Add oregano, garlic, white onion, and salt. Blend until smooth, about 10 seconds. I used some lovely orange tomatoes for this batch of salsa.
4. Pour *most* of the salsa over the peppers
Be sure to get some onto the bottom of the dish. But save a bit for later.
5. Roll the meatballs
Mix one of the eggs and breadcrumbs with the pork. If you don't have breadcrumbs, I have crushed and used pretzels before. I have also skipped them altogether. Roll them into balls, you know the drill.
6. Make the egg batter
Beat the remaining eggs. Add the flour and baking powder and beat a bit more. *Need to make it gluten free? It really won't hurt anything to skip the flour, it just won't be as fluffy. It will still taste great, though.
7. Pour egg batter over everything and top with remaining salsa.
8. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until bubbly and browned on top and egg is cooked thorough.
I'm going to steer you in the direction of slaw for the side. Its such a heavy dish that the tartness of the slaw is going to be really satisfying. Add some chopped fresh cilantro to make it even better.
I love rice and beans as much as the next person, but you should really use up that cabbage hiding in the back of your fridge from your last CSA pick up.