Thursday, August 21, 2008
I'll be stuffin' a lot of peppers in the next couple of months while they are so abundant. Today I picked a half dozen long green chiles, similar to Anaheims but slimmer and without the square shoulders. The first thing I like to do when stuffing these things is to peel them. Generally you roast peppers to peel them so the first thing we need to discuss is choosing the right roasting method. I'm sure most of you have roasted red peppers in the oven or on the grill which gives you those wonderful sweet, melt in your mouth peppers that are so good in about a bazillion recipes or just by themselves. The problem with this method is that you tend to cook them until they are falling apart which will likely make them hard to stuff. What you need is to char them fast while leaving the pepper largely uncooked. You could char them on a comal or in a cast iron pan, you could char them directly over the flame on your stove or on a very hot grill which works well or you can use my favorite method. I find it works well, especially on thin walled chiles, to scorch the skin with a propane or butane torch. This chars the skin quickly without cooking the pepper at all, leaving you with a firm pepper that will be easy to clean and stuff. unless you have constant plumbing problems or your a sculptor, your torch probably sits in your shop, collecting dust anyhow so you may as well give it something to do. I usually use the bottom of an overturned cast iron pan to set the pepper on while burning it. Char the skin evenly all over and after a brief rest the skin should slip right of under cold water.
Slit the chiles down the side and scrape the seeds and veins away with a spoon and their ready to stuff with whatever you choose.
Naked and eviscerated
Today i'm going to do a couple of kinds of cheese, queso fresco that I briefly fried in some annatto oil to get it a little browned and some Monterrey jack for the melty ooziness.
I made a quick cinnamon-chipotle tomato sauce by putting some fresh tomatoes through my old reliable Foley food mill and cooking them down with some chipotle chile powder and a small chunk of Ceylon cinnamon until the sauce thickens and reduces. After adding a tablespoon a heavy cream to the sauce, I arranged the stuffed chiles in a pan and spooned the sauce over them. A short time in the oven to melt the cheese, brown the top and finish cooking the peppers is all you need.
When I get some fresh poblanos we'll talk about doing some battered and fried chiles rellenos. Have fun.