At this time of the year, with fresh chile pods in the garden and in markets everywhere, my thoughts turn to stuffing them. They are amazingly tasty and there are a wide variety of recipes to choose from. Originally from Mexico, of course, they are also a favorite where I live, New Mexico, so I thought that I would give you a choice of two different styles–one recipe from Mexico City and another from Las Cruces. Enjoy.
Chiles Anchos Capones (Stuffed Seedless Ancho Chiles)
The word capon translates as “castrated” but in this case merely means seedless. Yes, dried chiles such as anchos and pasillas can be stuffed, but they must be softened in hot water first. They have an entirely different flavor than their greener, more vegetable-like versions.
10 ancho chiles
1 quart hot water
2 pounds queso añejo or romano cheese, grated
8 cups chicken stock
3 cups small green onions, without the green ends
1 cup pork lard or substitute vegetable oil
¼ cup flour
Salt to taste
In a dry skillet, lightly toast the ancho chiles without burning them. Soak the chiles for 5 minutes in hot water to soften them, then drain and dry them. With a knife, make a slit in the side of each pod and deseed them. Stuff the chiles with the cheese and set aside. You can tie them to keep the stuffing from falling out if you wish.
Heat the chicken stock and boil the green onions for 3 minutes. Remove the onions from the stock and set both aside.
Heat the lard until lightly smoking. Fry the chiles on both sides, starting on the open side. Remove the chiles from the oil and drain on paper towels. Fry the green onions in the lard. Remove and set aside. Add the flour to the lard and stir until completely mixed without letting the mixture turn brown. Pour the chicken stock in the pan and stir until no more lumps are seen. Simmer the sauce to thicken for 5 minutes while stirring. Add the chiles and let simmer 2 more minutes. The sauce should be smooth, but not too thick. Add stock if necessary. Serve the chiles immediately with some green onions on the side.
Serves: 8 to 10
Heat Scale: Mild
Chiles Rellenos with Corn
Chiles rellenos literally means “stuffed chiles,” and in Mexico many different chiles are used, including poblanos, jalapeños, rocotos, and even fresh pasillas. Here in the Southwest, we prefer New Mexican green chiles. Whatever type of chile you use, the preparation and fillings are the same.
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups cooked whole kernel corn
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/3 cup sour cream
6 ounces cheddar cheese, cubed
6 green New Mexican chiles, roasted and peeled, stems left on
Flour for dredging
3 eggs, separated
1 tablespoon water
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Vegetable oil for frying
Green Chile Sauce (see recipe)
In a skillet, heat the butter and saute the onion and garlic until soft. Add the corn and oregano and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the sour cream and cheese.
Make a slit in the side of each chile and stuff with the corn mixture. Dredge the chiles in the flour and shake off any excess.
Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Beat the yolks with the water, the tablespoon of flour, and the salt. Fold the yolks into the whites and stir gently.
Dip the chiles in the egg batter and fry one at a time in 1 to 2 inches of oil until they are golden brown.
Serve covered with green chile sauce.
Yield: 6 servings
Heat Scale: Medium
For more great spicy recipes, click the image above!