One of my mother’s neighbors, Doña Rosa, always tells the story of when she was a newlywed and didn’t know how to cook. In order to impress her husband, she used to go the small eateries (FONDAS) in the nearby
market and buy ready-made food. One of those meals was “Chiles Rellenos”, a dish that requires some time and skill
in the kitchen due to its complexity. Doña Rosa tells that one day her husband came back early from work and saw her on the way to the market. He decided to follow her and discovered his wife's cooking secrets. Doña Rosa is a funny lady, every time she tells that story she makes us laugh. Sometimes I also wish there were some fondas close by and buy the great foods the ladies at the market cook. If you ever get to visit Mexico make sure to visit the markets and its small eateries you will be glad you did. There you will find some of the everyday dishes of our country like these chiles rellenos, fried fish, beef and chicken milanesas, soups, mole, and many more comfort foods.
I hope this recipe and instructions help you recreate this dish in your own kitchen, you will see that the time spent is worth it.
If the “picadillo” filling seems like too much for you, the Chiles can also be filled with cheese, canned tuna, chicken, refried beans or vegetables.
Ingredients for the Picadillo
2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 pound of ground beef
1 cup of finely diced carrots (about 2 medium carrots)
1 cup of finely diced potatoes ( about 2 small potatoes)
1/2 Large onion finely chopped
2 garlic cloves minced
2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup of water
1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup of green peas
Raisins, olives and capers also added by some cooks to make a richer dish.
This picadillo recipe will be enough to prepare 8 Stuffed Poblano peppers, but you will love the leftover to prepare a nice sandwich or burrito for tomorrow’s lunch.
If your family is a small one like mine, go ahead and make the 6 peppers any way or 8. If your are going to all this trouble of making them, then why settle for half the recipe? They taste great the next day as well when you give them a little reheating in the microwave. (I know: that evil machine!)
Do not buy large Poblano Peppers, specially if this is your first time making them, it is not easy to handle them while frying and they lack flavor. You can now find them at farmer markets.
For the Chiles
6 Medium size Poblano peppers roasted, cleaned and seed removed (See instructions for this here)
About 3/4 cup of flour
4 eggs separated
1/2 teaspoon of salt
About 1 cup of oil or more to fry the stuffed peppers
1. Place a skillet in a medium high heat. Add oil to warm and add the ground meat to cook breaking down the lumps that form. About 5 minutes. Add the onion and garlic until slightly translucent. Add the carrots and keep cooking for about 5 more minutes. After that time add the potatoes to cook stirring frequently.
2. While the meat and vegetables are cooking, place the tomatoes and water in the blender process to form a pure. Add this the tomato pure to the skillet and stir in the rest of the ingredients. Simmer until vegetables are cook and liquid has reduced and very little remains. In case the liquid has reduced before the vegetables are cooked add some more water during the cooking process. Cool before stuffing the peppers.
3. Once your peppers are clean and seed removed dry them with a paper towel. Gather all your ingredients for the final preparation.
4. Stuff the pepper using a spoon being careful not to over stuff or the fill will spill while frying it.
5. In a large frying pan eat the oil. The oil should be about 3/4 in. deep. While the oil heats beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks and them stir in the yolks one by one while beating until you have a fluffy batter season with salt.
6. Spread the flour in a large plate and coat the peppers lightly, one by one. Shake off any excess of flour. Making sure they do not open while doing this step.
7. Once the peppers are covered with the flour, dip into the beaten eggs making sure it is well coated.
8. Carefully place the peppers in the hot oil, do not overcrowd the skillet. Fry each side until it gets a deep golden color. It will take a few minutes for each side. It takes practice to master this step,use a large spatula to help you turn the peppers gently. Place the pepper on a paper towel to absorb the oil.
In some regions of México this dish is served rice and topped with a tomato sauce you can find a recipe here that will go great as a topping you can reduce the amount of peppers to your liking.
If you like Poblano Peppers you will also like this recipe for Rajas de Chiles Poblanos and a Mexican Rice Recipe to alone with it.