Friday, October 14, 2011

Poblano Pepper Ultra-Rellenos

Have I mentioned yet how much I love Mexican food? There's a vendor at the Farmer's Market that sells a couple dozen different varieties of peppers ... awesome.

These are basically like chili rellenos, only instead of being stuffed with cheese, I used a mixture of chicken, zucchini, onion, and cheese, to make this into a full meal rather than a side dish. Still, the basic principal could be used to make gluten-free chili rellenos.

8 medium-sized poblano peppers
1lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
1/2 a medium onion
1 medium zucchini
4-5 oz queso or cojita cheese
4 eggs
3T almond flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1T melted butter/oil
Garlic powder
Chili powder
Grated cheddar cheese (optional)

Part 1: Roasting/seeding the chilies 
The easiest way to do this is in the oven, using the broiler. 
1a) Put the chilies on a flat pan (I used a pie pan) and stick them under the broiler for about 5-10 minutes, until the skin starts to blister. Turn them over and put them back in the oven, so the skin gets blistered on all sides.

1b) Remove the chilies from the oven and immediately place in a ziplock bag. Let them sit for 5-10 minutes in the bag; the steam will help seperate the outer skin from the flesh of the pepper.

1c) Take the peppers out of the bag and carefully remove the outer skin, taking care not to tear the pepper underneath. 
1d) Cut the top of each chili off, trying not to rip the sides of the pepper open. Don't worry about it if you do; it's really just an aesthetic thing. Scoop out all the seeds and discard. Set the peppers aside.

Part 2: Preparing the filling
2a) Chop up the zucchini and onion into relatively small pieces.
2b) Heat some  butter or coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and zucchini. Season with salt, pepper, garlic, and oregano. Saute for about 10 minutes until the onions soften up a bit.
2c) Transfer the zucchini and onion to a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
2d) Chop up the chicken thighs (raw) into bite sized pieces. Cook them in the same skillet you just cooked the zucchini and onion in. Season with salt, pepper, garlic, oregano, and chili powder*(optional)
2e) When the chicken is done (should cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally), put it in the same bowl with the zucchini and onion. Crumble up the cojita/queso and add it to the bowl as well. Mix it all up really good.

Part 3: The whole is greater than the sum of its parts
Forgive the stupid philosophy title for this. I was just attempting to be creative.
3a) Using a spoon, carefully fill each pepper with the chicken/vegetable mixture. Set the peppers in a baking dish (you know, the rectangular ones ... 9"x11", I think).

3b) If there's any mixture left over, just distribute it in the baking dish between the peppers.
3c) In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Add almond flour and baking powder, mix thoroughly
3d) Pour the egg/almond flour mixture over the peppers
3e) Bake at 350 for 17-18 minutes
3f) Remove from oven, sprinkle grated cheddar over the top. Bake for an additional 5 minutes to melt the cheese (if you don't do this step, bake it for 22-23 minutes to begin with)

These things are amazing. I'm going to have to make them again. Soon.

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