Pecan Mushroom Chiles Relleños

6 Jun

So….

Look at them, all oozy like that. They're taunting you.

Look at them, all oozy like that. They’re taunting you.

I haven’t posted in, well, many, many units of time. But in that time I have completed the most ridiculous semester of my life, graduated from seminary, and moved back to Texas. So maybe I’ll post more now, or maybe I’ll even get back on a regular schedule.

Anyways, I made these chiles relleños tonight and they were really delicious. So now I’m going to tell you how that happened.

Stuff

12 oz. Oaxaca Cheese (mozzarella if you can’t get Oaxaca)

8 whole poblano peppers

6 oz. mushrooms

So I didn't use the flour, or the egg, because I didn't fry them. Also you can't see the pecans. Basically this is a bad picture.

So I didn’t use the flour, or the egg, because I didn’t fry them. Also you can’t see the pecans. Basically this is a bad picture.

3/4 c. pecans

1 bunch green onions

3 T. Mexican crema (could sub cream and lemon juice, but you’d be sad)

1 T. cumin

1 T. smoked paprika (it needed color. Paprika is a color, not a spice.)

1 t. oregano

pepper

toothpicks

Garnish

queso fresco

1/2 bunch of cilantro

4 oz. Mexican crema

1 t. cumin

1 t. salt

Steps

IMG_2161

Sorry, wonderful cheese maker, if this is a copyright infringement. I’m just trying to spread the good word of your magical cheese!

First, take your 8 poblano peppers, put them into a produce bag, twist it shut, and microwave them for 3 minutes. “But Nathan,” I hear some of you saying. “Doesn’t microwaving stuff in plastic destroy my body or something??” I don’t know the answer to that, but I do know that if you want to pre-steam poblano peppers painlessly, you’ll let Chef Mic do the heavy lifting.

While the peppers are steaming (and after they finish, since you can just leave them to continue pre-cooking as they cool down) shred 12 oz.  of Oaxaca cheese (also known as Mexican melting cheese). A word about Oaxaca cheese. It is magical, wonderful cheese. Have you ever noticed how quesadillas at Mexican restaurants taste way better than the ones you make at home? Oaxaca.

This is what it looks like out of the wrapper. It's stringy and delicious.

This is what it looks like out of the wrapper. It’s stringy and delicious.

Or how some enchiladas have magically stringy, melty but not greasy cheese in the middle of them? Oaxaca. Where people go wrong (I think) is that when they make Mexican food at home, they assume that jack cheese or cheddar or name-brand “Mexican blend” is what they should put inside of things. Don’t do that. If you can’t get Oaxaca, by far the most similar cheese is mozzarella. Yeah, I know, weird. But true. Okay so rant aside, grate 12 ounces of cheese into a mixing bowl.

I think my favorite thing about this recipe is the texture variation that the chopped pecans add. So chop some pecans and put them in the bowl with the cheese, or you’ll be missing the best part. A rough chop is fine, but make sure you don’t have any glaringly large pieces.

Don't be afraid to experiment with the filling. I'm certainly not.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with the filling. I’m certainly not.

Chop up the mushrooms (with the same basic theory as the pecans, don’t leave any pieces so big that they won’t cook through while everything else does), and chop up the green onions, and throw everything into the mixing bowl. Add the cumin, smoked paprika, oregano, some black pepper and a little bit of Mexican crema to help mix it all together, and then, well, mix it all together. For those of you wondering, Mexican crema is a slightly sour cream that is really great in sauces and fillings. If you can’t find it, yogurt, sour cream, or regular cream would all do okay as a substitute.

At this point, turn your oven on to 425 degrees or so (if you have a convection oven, convecting is a good idea here) and it’s time to assemble peppers. I could talk you through that annoyingly, or I could just post bigger pictures with helpful captions. Let’s do that.

IMG_2168

Cut a slit down the side of the pepper with your knife. Don’t go quite all the way to either end, especially the top, as that would make the top of the pepper fall off when you clean out the seeds.

Take a spoon and gently remove the seeds and ribs from inside the pepper. The first one or two may take you a minute, but you should get the hang of it. Be thorough, poblanos are spicier than I thought they were.

Take a spoon and gently remove the seeds and ribs from inside the pepper. The first one or two may take you a minute, but you should get the hang of it. Be thorough, poblanos are spicier than I thought they were. Somehow, I forgot to include a picture of myself stuffing the peppers. So do that, with about 1/8 of the stuffing mixture per pepper.

Once you've stuffed the pepper, stick a toothpick through it to help keep it from totally collapsing while it cooks.

Once you’ve stuffed the pepper, stick a toothpick through it to help keep it from totally collapsing while it cooks.

Okay, now it’s time to bake. Put the peppers into a glass baking dish and throw them into your 425 degree oven uncovered for 15-20 minutes. My dish was just barely big enough, so I had to stagger my peppers, alternating which end was on which side of the pan. Keep an eye on them while they’re cooking; the outsides should start to blister and the insides should start to bubble, but you don’t want anything to burn.

While your peppers are in the oven, you can make the garnish sauce that you’ll see in the “finished product” picture at the bottom of this post. It’s similar to sauces I’ve put on here before, but really helped to tie the dish together. Put 1/2 a bunch of cilantro, 1 t. of cumin, 1/2 t. of salt and 4 oz. of Mexican crema in a blender, and blend till the cilantro has disappeared. This stuff is delicious on anything. I would put it on my cereal in the morning if I thought that was socially acceptable.

At any rate, it’s time for plating! I served my rellenos with some Spanish rice and corn on the cob, which was really only a side because we had some in the fridge. Serve your relleno with the cilantro crema sauce and some crumbled queso fresco.

I was feeling fancy, so i employed the, "spoon full of sauce traced down the plate" method.

I was feeling fancy, so i employed the, “spoon full of sauce traced down the plate” method.

Let’s Eat!

– N

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6 Responses to “Pecan Mushroom Chiles Relleños”

  1. Valerie Freseman 6 June 2013 at 12:59 am #

    Thanks, Nate. Great to see the blog back. I love Chille Rellenos and have made them myself so I will attempt this version.

  2. John Shore 30 July 2013 at 4:29 pm #

    Your photo captions are awesome.

  3. Serena 30 July 2013 at 5:22 pm #

    Could you clarify “produce bag”?

    • nbledsoe 30 July 2013 at 7:09 pm #

      Sure! Produce bags are the plastic bags at the grocery store in the produce section. The clear plastic kind, rather than the thicker opaque check-out kind.

  4. Krista 30 July 2013 at 7:05 pm #

    I enjoyed the captions on the photos!

  5. John Shore 30 July 2013 at 8:26 pm #

    I FINALLY just read the whole recipe! Wonderful! Entertaining, easy to follow. Just great.

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