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Tex-Mex Chile Relleños

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These stuffed chile peppers feature the flavor of roasted corn and a minimal amount of cheese. Fresh tomato salsa or guacamole makes a great-tasting accompaniment.

Yield: Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium ears corn, shucked
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 fresh poblano chiles
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 green onions (white and light green parts), finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chile powder
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3 large egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup stone-ground yellow or blue cornmeal

Preparation:

1. Preheat the broiler. Coat the corn cobs with vegetable oil spray and season with salt and pepper. Broil the corn 4 inches from heat source, turning occasionally, until the kernels are well browned, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool. When cool enough to handle, cut the kernels from the cobs and place in a medium bowl (you should have about 1 1/2 cups).

2. Broil the chiles until nicely charred, about 3 minutes on each side. Transfer to a paper bag and seal closed. Let stand for 15 minutes to loosen the skins. Scrape off and discard the skin (wear rubber gloves). Set 6 of the roasted chiles aside.

3. Remove and discard the seeds and chop the remaining 2 chile peppers. Add to the bowl with the corn kernels. Stir in the cheese, green onions, garlic, chipotle chile powder, and cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 4. Carefully make a 2-inch-long lengthwise cut in each of the 6 reserved chiles. Using a spoon, scrape out the core and seeds, leaving the stems intact. Stuff each pepper with the corn mixture.

5. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Put the flour in a shallow bowl, the egg whites in a second bowl, and the bread crumbs and cornmeal in a third bowl). Dip each chile first in the flour, shaking off the excess, then in the egg, then in the crumb mixture. Place on the baking sheet. Generously coat the tops of the chiles with vegetable oil spray.

6. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the chiles are golden brown and the filling is heated through. Serve hot.

Recipe Notes

• There are over 200 varieties of chile peppers, and purchasing them can be very confusing. Each variety can go by several different names, and these can change from region to region. Fresh poblanos are medium to large tapered chile peppers with a dark green, thick skin. Look for them fresh in the produce section of large supermarkets and Mexican grocers.
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