Last week was our city’s Fiesta week, a time where hundreds of thousands flock to our city from all over, to enjoy the parties, the music, the Mexican food, parades, and carnivals. It’s a little not unlike California’s Coachella, except with a very Mexican twist and with the focus not being solely on music, but instead being a celebration of Texas’ unique history commemorating the Battles of San Jacinto & the Alamo. Last year, my husband and I got to experience the night parade, but ended up instead escaping the drunken crowds and going under the streets to be near the romantic, quiet river.
Even though we tried to get out to experience it again this year, the rain kept us from staying for longer than a quick drive around before we headed back. But there’s always next year to try.
Last night I decided to make a traditional Mexican dish called Chili Rellenos, poblano peppers that are stuffed and fried in a creamy batter. We don’t usually eat fried stuff, and the last time I made fried chicken we had to eat it outside because the oil (never use Extra Virgin Olive Oil to fry) smoked so badly it filled the whole house!
I was surprised to find that most Chili Relleno recipes only call for cheese to be the ingredient in the stuffing, every plate of Chili Relleno I’ve eaten in our area of Texas has always had hearty ground beef inside, so I’ve moderated the recipe to include beef and cheese. It’s fairly healthy for “fried food,” with the beef adding an element of protein. Ground turkey would also work great as a healthy substitute.
First, start the meat cooking, I used about 2 lbs lean ground beef. Season it with a tablespoon of each: Cumin, Garlic powder, and Chili powder. You can also add chopped onions for more flavor if you wish!
Broil and really watch the peppers, they burn very easily. You want them to have just enough char on them so that they are easy to peel.
Watch the video below if you aren’t sure on how to peel the peppers, once they’re charred well, you’ll find the skin comes off quite easily. You also want to make a slit or cut inside the pepper in order to cut out the seed pulp and remove any left over seeds. You don’t need to get all of them, but in general, you don’t want many left over inside.
Next is to fill or stuff the peppers. The skins rips easily, as you can tell, don’t worry if they split all the way down, they’re still salvageable if you “glue” them together with the batter when frying them. Stuff with cheese and beef – Mexican Oaxaca cheese is the traditional cheese, but any cheese you have on hand is ok and adds to create a wonderful flavor with each bite.
Use 4 eggs to create the creamy batter from scratch. Separate the whites from the yolks, keeping the whites in a large mixing bowl. Beat with a mixer (or if you really want to… by hand) until it gets to “soft peak” formation.
I should have gotten a pic of when the egg whites are really done… it looks much different from the above photo as it turns into a thicker, creamier batter. Watch the video to get the full effect of what you’re aiming for with this.
Once it’s at soft peak, mix in the egg yolks gently until they’re incorporated.
Use a bit of flour (not necessary if you’re trying to keep this gluten free) just if you want to make the batter stick a little easier. It will stick anyway so don’t feel like you’re missing much if you skip this step for your health.
Then pat the batter over each side, closing any slits that may have opened while you were stuffing the peppers. Fry until each side is nice and golden.