Rellenos Pequenas (or, miniature Mexican food)
At one of our local farmer’s markets, the fabulous Boggy Creek Farms (boggycreekfarm.com), I found these small, organically grown poblano chiles. Poblanos are ideal for chile rellenos, but bigger is better: as any good Texan knows, the more crap you can stuff into a chile and deep-fry, the happier we all will be.
For my healthier version, I stuffed these little guys with seasoned cotija cheese (doesn’t the pepper on the left look like he’s flashing you?), then baked them with bread crumbs to make it taste crunchy-fried. The pecan cream sauce on top was made from my family’s pecan tree crop, and was seasoned with cumin, cinnamon, and family values. Not really.
Rellenos Pequenas with Pecan Sauce(sauce recipe below)
8 small poblanos
Cotija cheese (about ¾ cup crumbled)
- 1 jalapeno, diced and mixed into the cheese *skip this if you’re a wuss*
- dash of cumin and salt in the cheese
- 1 egg
- ½ cup flour
- 1 cup Panko (japanese bread crumbs)
The best part of making rellenos is burning the skin off your chiles. This is a healthy form of releasing aggression, just like yoga. You leave the chiles on a burning stovetop (gas or electric) and let them blister till blackened, ~5 min with turning. Throw in a plastic bag and seal, leave for ~30 min. This steams the skin loose and makes it easy to peel off. Or, if you’re lazy like me, a clean scour pad skins them like a champ.
After they’re cleaned, make a cut on the top to create a pocket inside, and stuff with 1tbsp each of cheese. Stuff all and press skins tight to the cheese to seal. Dredge in flour, then egg, then lay in an oiled cast iron skillet. Press the panko into the egg coating on each.
Bake at 450° till breadcrumbs brown lightly (~15-20 min).
- ½ c pecans, 2 cloves garlic, ¾ c heavy cream
Puree ½ cup pecans and 2 cloves garlic till mealy. In a skillet with 1bsp olive oil/ marg/butter, brown this mixture while adding 2 pinches salt and a dash of cumin and cinnamon. Add cream and simmer till thickened and light brown. Mine needed cornstarch to thicken; different brands of heavy cream have different levels of heart-clogginess.
In the center of the dish is the majick-leftover-salsa-rice from my last post.