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 left the pine nuts and cheese out of the pesto and used them as a garnish to add texture. The cheese is optional if you want this to be vegan. I used peas and fava beans for protein, along with the pine nuts.
1 package gf gnocchi (2 servings)
1/2 c all natural marinara sauce
assorted spring vegetables - as much as you like! (try asparagus peas, fava beans, rainbow carrots and their tops, spring onions, green beans - anything in season that you like)
5 oz packages of arugula spinach mix
1 clove garlic
salt and pepper
1/4 c pine nuts
Cook gnocchi according to package directions; drain and toss in marinara. Meanwhile sauté vegetables in olive oil until crisp tender and bright. For pesto - place greens in food processor with garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Chop. With processor running slowly add olive oil until consistency of a thick sauce. Toss with cooked vegetables. To serve: place gnocchi in dish; top with pesto vegetables; garnish with pine nuts and parmesan.