About this recipe
Food is a part of every gathering at my house. Like most home cooks, sometimes I cook just to get everyone fed, but other times I cook to celebrate important milestones. Chiles rellenos (stuffed chiles) are a traditional Mexican dish often served at weddings, birthdays or holidays. Apples and pears, so abundant in Michiana in the fall, are used in the sauce that is poured over the chiles.
Poblano chiles are often available from local growers in the late summer and early fall. If you can’t find them at your farmers market, look for them at your local Mexican market or in the Mexican section of your grocery store.
You will notice in the recipe that I use the broiler to char the chiles. Alternatively, you can use a grill or a flame on a gas stove to char the flesh. If you do use an open flame, do not oil the peppers prior to charring.
To make the sauce for the chiles, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 3 minutes. Add the apples and pears and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the tomato purée and 2 cups of water to the pan and cook the fruit until tender.
While the fruit is cooking, mix 1 teaspoon of cornstarch into ¼ cup of water until dissolved. Slowly add the mixture into the pan. The cornstarch should thicken the sauce. If the sauce is still too thin, add more dissolved cornstarch into the pan until it thickens. Add the oregano, black pepper and season with salt. Set aside, but
Heat the broiler to high and adjust the rack to the second highest position. Wash and dry the chiles. Slather them with 1 tablespoon of oil and place them on a baking sheet. Place the chiles under the broiler and watch them closely. You will notice the skin begin to char. Flip them over every 2–3 minutes for a total of about 6–9 minutes. Broil all sides until they are charred, but be careful not to overcook them or else they will become mushy.
Once the skin is charred, place the peppers into a large metal bowl and cover them with a plate or lid. Allow them to steam for about 5 minutes. This makes the peppers easier to peel. Remove the chiles from the bowl and carefully remove the skin. The skin is very thin and semi-transparent, so be careful not to peel off too much flesh.
Once peeled, make a small slit into each pepper and remove the seeds. Make sure not to make the slit too big, or else the fillings will fall out when frying.
Slice the cheese and stuff each pepper with a mixture of cheese slices, raisins and nuts.
Place the 5 egg whites in a bowl. Beat the whites until they form very stiff peaks. Once the peaks are firm, add the yolks one by one, mixing well before adding each additional yoke. Whisk in the remaining teaspoon of cornstarch.
Fill a medium frying pan with about 2 inches of oil. Allow the oil to heat thoroughly. (A good way to check the temperature is to take a piece of tortilla and toss it in. If it sizzles right away, the oil is perfect; if it sinks, you need to wait a bit longer.)
Dip each pepper individually into the egg batter and fry them two at a time. You do not want to overcrowd the pan. Drain the cooked peppers on a plate with a paper towel as you cook the remaining peppers.
Once all of the peppers are cooked, place a pepper or two on a plate and pour the fruit sauce liberally over them. Serve immediately.