Chiles rellenos y refritos

August 31, 2006 on 7:47 am | By | In Recipes | Comments Off on Chiles rellenos y refritos

Refried beans have a bad rap. Sure, while often you’ll find they’re fried in lard in many Mexican restaurants (and yes, they ARE delicious that way), that’s not the only way to cook ’em. In fact, the way I prepare them, they’re downright diet food!

I often prepare refried black or pinto beans for clients to go along with my Southwestern dishes. They’re nutritious, delicious and very inexpensive. And when cooked in a pressure cooker, they’re relatively fast and easy to make. While I used to do a quick soak (cover the beans with an inch of water, bring to a boil, turn off heat and let sit covered for 1 hour), I’ve found I can eliminate this step. If you want your beans to maintain their shape, then soaking (either overnight or with the quick-soak method) is recommended. But considering I’m just going to mash ’em all up for this recipe, I don’t bother. You just need to add a few minutes to your cook time. These beans are incredibly healthy and flavorful, and SOOO much better than store-bought!

Chiles Rellenos, on the other hand, probably deserve their bad rap. Cheese — wrapped in a chile — batter dipped — and fried. I have a recipe for baked chiles rellenos, but they’re just not the same (they’re stuffed with a sausage and bean filling and topped with goat cheese). True chiles rellenos are pure goodness inside an incredibly light and fluffy batter (a treat for which I must limit myself to once a year).

Chiles Rellenos are traditionally prepared with Anaheim chiles, but I’ve found Poblano (or Pasilla) are easier to work with (one makes a nice dinner portion). You first must char the pepper to remove the skin. If you have the time you can do this over a flame, but I find it’s just as easy to do this under a broiler. Be sure to turn often so that the pepper is charred evenly.Â

Once charred, let the peppers sit covered for a few minutes (the steam will help the skins slip off more easily). Remove the skins and cut a slit in one side of the chile. Carefully remove all the seeds (you can rinse the chiles under a slow stream of water, if desired). Blot on a paper towel. They should look like this: Peppers

For 4 peppers you’ll need about 1 1/2 cups of cheese. I typically use Monterey Jack, but you can also use cheddar, Asadero or queso blanco (or a combination). You’ll want to grate the cheese yourself, as pre-grated cheese is coated with some sort of substance that inhibits clumping. You want the cheese to clump! Here’s what they should look like: Grated CheeseÂ

Carefully place the cheese in the chiles, folding over the sides to enclose the cheese. Some recipes call for securing with a toothpick, but I’ve found it’s not necessary. Dust the chiles with flour and set aside. You’ll now want to make your batter.

For 4 chiles you’ll need 3 eggs, separated. Beat the egg whites in a bowl until stiff peaks form (sorry, I didn’t take a picture of this). Sprinkle in 1 T. of flour and beat in egg yolks, 1 at a time. Be careful not to overbeat; the goal is to keep the batter fluffy.

Meanwhile, start to heat your oil. You’ll want about an inch of oil in the pan (you can also use shortening). Heat to 350 degrees (it should look like it’s just about to smoke). Dip your chiles into the batter and carefully place in the hot oil. I splash the top of the relleno with oil to help the top set, but be careful if you try this! Cook the relleno unil it’s golden brown on the bottom and carefully flip to the other side (this usually requires a couple of spatulas). Cook until the other side is golden brown, then place on a paper towel to drain. You can now eat them, or you can cool them completely and freeze. To bake, preheat your oven to 375 and bake your thawed rellenos for 15-20 minutes, or until hot. Enjoy!Rellenos

Pressure Cooker Refried Beans
Serves 6

1 pound dried pinto or black beans
1/2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 chipotle chile en adobo, minced (or more or less to taste)
2 T. oil, divided use

Rinse the beans and sort through to make sure there isn’t any dirt or rocks in the bunch. Place the beans, onion, garlic and chipotle chile in the pressure cooker and cover by about 2″ of water. Add a couple of teaspoons of oil (to help prevent water from boiling over). Bring to pressure and cook for 15 minutes for black beans, 20 for pinto. Let pressure release naturally and check if beans are done. Bring back up to pressure, if necessary, and cook for 5-10 minutes more.

Heat a skillet over medium heat and add remaining oil. Add a ladle of beans (include a bit of the cooking liquid) and mash with a potato masher until creamy. Continue adding ladles of beans, mashing and stirring each addition (I would have included a picture of this, but it didn’t come out well!). You should end up with a rather smooth, creamy consistency. Salt to taste and enjoy!


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