Chiles Rellenos De Picadillo-Poblano Chiles Stuffed with Meat-Diana Kennedy
There are many variations of chiles rellenos, but the best known, and most popular, are poblano chiles, charred, peedled, and cleaned of their seeds. With the top-the base for stem-intact, the chiles are stuffed with either a meat or chesse filling, fried in a batter coating, and served in a tomato broth.
Many cooks take a shortcut and use ground meat, but the flavor and texture of the stuffing, or picadillo, is far better if the meat is first cooked and then shredded. The touch of sweet from the raisisns and acitron, the crunch of the acitron and almonds, and the acidity of the broth with the not-too-hot chiles combine to make an intriguing dish.
Poblano chiles riepened and dried become anchos. I particularly like them stuffed with cheese. The whole chiles should be soaked briefly to soften, slit open carefully, seeds and veins removed, and then stuffed.
- THE PICADILLO
- 2 pounds boneless pork with some fat, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1/2 white onion, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves
- salt to taste
- 1/4 cup lard or vegetable oil
- 2/3 cup findely chopped white onion
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 8 peppercorns
- 5 whole cloves
- 3 heaped tbps. raisins
- 2 tbps. blanched and slivered almonds
- 2 heaped tbps. cubed acitron or chopped candied fruit (dried pineapple)
- 1/14 pounds tomatoes roughly chopped
- THE TOMATO BROTH
- 1 1/4 pounds tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 3 tbps. roughly chopped white onion
- 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 2 tbps. lard or vegetable oil
- 4 whole cloves
- 6 peppercorns
- 2 mexican bay leaves
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1/4 tsp. dried
- 1 inch cinnamon stick, broken into two pieces
- 3 cups reserved pork broth
- salt to taste
- THE CHILES
- 6 poblano chiles, charred and peeled
- THE BATTER
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/3 about 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
Put the meat into a large saucepan with the sliced onion, garlic, and salt and barely cover with water. Bring the meat to a simmer and continue cooking over low heat until the meat is tender-about 40 minutes. Leave the meat to cool in the broth. When cool, strain the meat, reserving the broth. First shred and then choop the meat to a medium texture-there should be about 3 cups.
Skim the broth.
Melt the lared in a large skillet and cook the chopped onion and garlic until translucent-about 2 minutes.
Add the meat and let it cook until it begins to brown, about 8 minutes.
Crush the spices roughly and add them, the the rest of the picadillo ingredients, except the tomatoes, to the meat mixture. Cook the mixture a few momnents longer.
Blend the tomatoes briefly and add them to the mixture in the pan. Continue cooking the mixture over high heat for about 10 minutes, stiring it from time to time to avoid sticking. Add salt to taste. It should be moist but not juicy.
TO PREPARE THE TOMATO BROTH:
Blend the tomatoes with the onion and garlic until smooth.
Melt the lard in a wide pan and fry the blended tomatoes over high heat for about 3 minutes, stirring to prevent sticking. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the broth and salt, and cook them over high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring.
Add the pork broth and continue cooking the broth over medium heat for about 10 minutes. By that time it will be well seasoned and reduced somewhat-but still a broth rather than a thick sauce. Add salt as necessary.
TO PREPARE THE CHILES:
Make a slit in the side of each chile andcarefully remove the seeds and veins. Bea careful to leave the top of the chile, the part around the base of the stem, intact.
Stuff each chili with about 1/2 cup of the picadillo until they are well filled out but the cut edges still come together.
TO PREPARE THE BATTER:
Meanwhile, beat the egg whites until they are firm, but not too dry. Add the salt and egg yolks one by one, beating well after each addition.
Prepare one chile at a time: pat the chile completely dry (or batter will not adhere)and sprinkle them lightly with flour. Coat with batter.
Fry in the hot oil, turning it from time to time, until the batter turns a deep golden color-about 2 minutes.
Drain the chiles on paper toweling and place them in the tomato broth-it should come about halfway uup the chiles-to heat through over low heat. Serve immediately.
You can prepare the stuffing and the sauce the day before, and clean the chiles. But do not put the stuffing into the chiles until about 2 hours before cooking.
If you do prepare the chiles 2 hours ahead, do not put them into the broth. Place them on a rimmed cookie sheet lined with several layters of paper toweling, and reheat in a 350 F over for about 20 minutes. This method has the added advantage that the paper absorbs quite a lot of the grease. Then place the chiles in the broth or pour broth over and serve with hot tortillas. i do not recommned freezing.