Cooking Week #2: Mike’s Amazing Chile Rellenos

For the second Cooking Week, Mike volunteered to make his much-discussed Chile Relleno dish.  We’d been hearing about this recipe for ages, but hadn’t managed to score a dinner invite with it on the menu.  When it was suggested, both Catherine and I jumped at the chance.  This actually surprised my wife, as I’m not a huge fan of peppers as actual food.  I love to cook with them as flavoring, but I rarely actually eat the things.  However, everyone who’s had them raves about Mike’s Chile Rellenos, so I was looking forward to getting a chance to sample them.

For dinner at Mike’s, I volunteered to do a Salsa appetizer.  I make a ton of salsa during the summer months, as we usually have a large garden with lots of tomato and pepper varieties (ten tomato types and eight pepper types in the 2011 garden).  My recipe is quite straightforward, but it is very serviceable and gets the job done nicely.  I made it up the day before, to give the flavors time to merge and to give me time to adjust the spicing and heat level.

Roasted and Stuffed, Ready to Cook!

We arrived to find the cooking in progress, with the peppers roasted and stuffed.  Mike was in the middle of making the batter for the Chile Rellenos, and we broke out some beer (Dos Equis and Corona), tortilla chips and the salsa.  Everyone said I’d made too much, but I put some aside in a separate bowl in the fridge to use as a topping for the Chile Rellenos.  The salsa didn’t last until the Chiles were ready…!

The battered Chiles were a sight to behold.  The mounds of fluffy batter smeared onto the peppers and plopped into the frying pan looked very unwieldy, and it wasn’t clear to me that they’d hold together during the cooking.  However, Mike worked his magic, and the Chile Rellenos came out beautifully, as the pictures will admirably demonstrate.

Almost done!

In the end, the peppers came out perfectly cooked, tender enough to cut with a fork edge and loaded with lots of oozing cheese.  We covered them with liberal amounts of sour cream and the reserved salsa.  Mike also made refried beans and Spanish rice to accompany the peppers, and they also came out well, providing a nice mix of flavors to the meal.  For dessert Mike’s home-made Sopapillas, fried up and served warm with a dusting of powdered sugar and cinnamon, made the perfect ending to an excellent meal.  Mike’s Chile Rellenos definitely lived up to the star billing they had been given!

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