I LOVE Chiles Rellenos. However, let's face it, they are not very healthy. In fact, they can be downright UNhealthy. I came to realize that my favorite part of Chiles Rellenos is the poblano pepper; fresh, flavorful and with just a little bit of spice. I can never order them in a restaurant because they are not gluten free. I was going to try to make them at home, but then I decided that filling it with enough cheese to have a cardiac arrest right there, then breading it and deep frying, not only was still going to be unhealthy even if gluten free, but also the cheese and fried breading take something away from the flavor of the poblano pepper. So I took the breading off, instead stuffing it inside of the pepper with a
fraction of the cheese and adding lots of other delicious flavors. Result?
My NEW favorite Chiles Rellenos!
Chiles Rellenos (serves 4)
4 nicely shaped poblano peppers
1 onion cut into thick slices
1 tomato, halved or quartered
1 red bell pepper
1/2 orange bell pepper
1 jalapeno pepper
1/2 Anaheim pepper
1 cup masa harina or cornmeal
1 large ear corn, kernels removed from cob
3 cloves roasted garlic
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
salt, pepper, cumin and chili powder to taste
1 1/2 cups cheese - I used extra sharp cheddar (optional if you want this vegan - cheese isn't the star here)
Mole sauce - see note*
Grill the onion and tomato and grill the all peppers whole until charred on all sides. Place peppers in a paper bag and close tightly. Once cool, you should be able to pull off the charred skin. Slice into one side of each poblano pepper to make a pocket, taking care not to cut all the way through to the other side or the bottom. Set aside. Dice up the onion, tomato and all other peppers. Add diced vegetables to bowl with corn, chopped garlic and add salt, pepper, cumin and chili powder. Mix well. Prepare masa harina: In a pot bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Whisk in 1 cup of the cornmeal masa. Continue to whisk until incorporated, turn heat to low and let simmer, covered, whisking occasionally for about 15-20 minutes. Add the can of beans, half of the vegetable mixture and 1 cup of cheese, along with salt and pepper to taste. Stir over low heat until cheese is melted and all is incorporated. Assemble: Place a pool of mole sauce on each plate. Stuff each poblano with some of the masa mixture. Place down on top of mole. Use some of the remaining cheese to cover the opening of the pepper exposing the masa, so it looks like its all cheese. Spoon some of the remaining vegetable mixture over the top like a relish. I ate as is, and my husband topped his off with more jalapenos and some sour cream. Enjoy!
*Note: I didn't have the time or desire to make mole from scratch this time. You can purchase it store bought. However, I couldn't find any store bought mole that wasn't mostly soybean oil and preservatives, so I made Half Ass Mole - not authentic but still delicious in this recipe.
Half Ass Mole -
So I bought a Pasilla chile cooking sauce that had way less offensive ingredients than the store bought mole. I chose the Pasilla because it was dark like mole. I would have probably gotten the Chipotle flavor
if the store had it. I poured about half of the jar into a bowl and added a spoonful of unsweetened cocoa powder, and blended well. It was great.
I love to cook Spanish food as much as I love to eat it, especially in the summer. Having Spanish guitar music playing while sipping a mock sangria and manning the grill on a balmy summer evening just feels right. Although
this is not listed in the recipe, you can sear the shrimp, scallops and chunks of fish in a cast iron skillet on the grill beside the paella while the rice is cooking - this just adds another layer of flavor and color. Feel free to change up the seafood or eliminate the seafood all together and amp up the veggies. It's ok if the bottom of the rice burns a little - crunchy rice at the bottom is considered the best
1/2 pound calamari, sliced into rings
1 onion, chopped
1/2 each green, red and yellow bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic
4 tbsp olive oil
4 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 good sized pinch saffron
1 tbsp spanish paprika / pimenton
2 c Bomba or Calrose rice (or any short grain rice)
4 c vegetable or seafood stock
1/2 c clam juice
1/2 pound each shrimp and scallops
1 large corvino fillet (or other firm white fish)
12 ea clams and mussels
1/4 c green peas
Put olive oil in paella pan on grill. Add onions, peppers and garlic. Cook a few minutes. Add tomatoes, calamari and clam juice. Stir well and let cook a few minutes. Make a well in the center and add saffron and paprika. Incorporate into mixture. Add rice, salt and pepper and stir a few minutes to coat. Add broth, stir once, and never again. Close grill and cook until rice is done, about 20- 30 minutes depending on grill. Add shrimp, scallops, fish, clams and mussels, pressing the seafood down into the rice. Sprinkle with peas. Cook another 5-10 minutes until seafood is done.
**NOTE- As you will soon learn from this blog, I like everything spicy. If you do too, add some chopped jalapenos or other hot pepper with the vegetables, and/or finish with a little cayenne pepper
You shouldn't have to choose between healthy and yummy. I focus on showing you how you can have both, utilizing functional ingredients that keep you at your best!