A few days ago my brother, who has been annoying me for the past 58 years and shows no signs of stopping, sent me a Youtube video of a guy making chiles rellenos with a shrimp and cheese filling. The video was in Spanish but cooking translates pretty well visually. So well, in fact, that I became suddenly obsessed with chiles rellenos. It was the culinary equivalent of getting a song stuck in your head, except in my case it was food. Every time I thought about cooking something, a little voice piped up and suggested that I might want to make chiles rellenos. So finally, I gave in.
There wasn’t a recipe associated with the video, and I don’t understand enough Spanish to follow it all, but I figured it out well enough to get the thing done. Here’s how I did it. I will say by way of a disclaimer that I did not add cheese because I’m not crazy about cheese, but these would certainly benefit from adding cheese to the filling if you are a cheese person. I like shrimp, and these were really delicious, but I would also like to try these with a ground beef filling.
Chiles Rellenos con Camarones
3 fresh whole poblano peppers
1/2 lb. fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup grated Monterrey Jack cheese (if desired)
3 eggs, separated
flour for dredging
oil for frying
1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
3-4 canned chipotles in adobo sauce
1 fresh Roma tomato, diced
1 clove garlic
cumin, salt, and pepper to taste
First, roast the fresh poblanos over an open flame or on a griddle until blackened. Place peppers in a plastic bag, close the bag, and allow the peppers to cool. When cool enough to handle, remove them and peel the charred bits off the peppers.
Make a slit down the middle of each pepper, and remove the seeds with a spoon. Set aside.
Coarsely chop the raw shrimp. If you want, you can certainly pulse them in a food processor briefly, but since I was already using every implement in my kitchen I decided not to get the food processor dirty.
In a mixer, whip the egg whites until they hold peaks. Add the egg yolks and mix together briefly.
Fill the peppers with the shrimp (and cheese, if using) and close the peppers. Fasten with toothpicks.
Dredge the filled peppers in flour, then submerge in the egg batter. This batter is very fluffy but it should stay on the pepper pretty well.
Heat about a half inch of oil in a frying pan. Place the battered peppers in the hot oil, and cook on each side until browned, approximately 5 minutes total, depending on the heat of the pan.
Preheat the oven to 350°.
In a blender, combine the tomato sauce, the chipotles, the fresh tomato, and the seasonings. Blend until it is as smooth as you like it.
Pour the sauce over the peppers in an ovenproof pan, and bake at 350° for 20 minutes. At the end of this time, the shrimp will be done and the pepper will still have a little bite; if you want the pepper to be softer, bake longer.
Serve with Mexican rice and beans, if desired.