20 September 2009

Chile Rellenos Casserole

My mom and I used to be Mexican food connoisseurs while I was growing. I mean, we used to frequent Casa Ole AT LEAST once a week. ;) My mom used to always order chile rellenos, I could practically bet money on it that she would order them. I attempted to eat one once and thoroughly did not enjoy it. It was mushy and peppery and soggy and just plain gross. Since that day, I had never tried once again.

The dish that started it all. It's the little dude on the right.

UNTIL, I went to New Mexico this summer. I inadvertently ordered one. It came on the New Mexico special plate. A green hatch chile stuffed with white cheese and fried. Ohmygosh, it was delicious, I couldn't believe I had missed out on this for so long. Since July, chile rellenos have been my weakness at Mexican food restaurants. But on Friday, I had my first bad chile rellenos incident. It wasn't necessarily bad, but it just didn't live up to my standards. I decided to take the task of making chile rellenos myself but I decided to try and bake them in a casserole style so I don't have to worry about frying. My results was TASTY but not too pretty. I'll keep working on it though. I had an odd amount of chiles so you can either go down to four for two layers or up to six/seven for three layers. Your choice. And once again, I'm using some regional ingredients, so I don't have a substitution suggestion...yet. I'll keep working on that for you.

Serves 4

1 14 oz. can Hatch 5 Pepper Enchilada Sauce
8 poblano chiles
1 round sliced queso asadero cheese
6 eggs
1/3 c. crushed tortilla chips
Splash of milk
Salt/Pepper to taste

Turn over to broil and move rack to top shelf. Place chiles directly on oven rack. Blacken chiles on each side (just be warned, they will pop and hiss at you). Once chiles are thoroughly blackened, remove and place in a plastic sack (an old HEB one works fine) and tie the bag to let steam for 15 minutes or so. Go ahead and change the oven to 375 degrees. After 15 minutes, remove chiles from bag, (and it works best if you work over said bag), remove skin from chiles. It will be a thin layer that should have blackened. It should come off relatively easy. Then, seed chiles, remove stem and spilt in halves. Do with all remaining chiles.

Pour half of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of an 8x8 pan. Place chile halves down to cover the sauce. Think about putting them in a single layer, much like you would lasagna noodles. You might need to tear some of the chiles to fit. Next, tear your queso asadero cheese slices with your hands and place them on top of the chiles. You don't want them next to each other because they will melt (and oh so nicely I might add) and spread. Repeat chile/cheese/chile.

In a bowl, mix/whisk eggs, splash of milk, crushed tortilla chips and salt and pepper throughly. (Here, I made the mistake of not whipping the eggs thoroughly and I had some patchy areas in my casserole.) Pour this layer over the top. Bake for 30 minutes.

When eggs are set, but not browned, place remaining slices of cheese on top. Bake for an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. This next step is VERY important, but will be very hard to do. Remove from oven and let it set for ten minutes! If not, you'll end up with a short layer casserole with cheese sauce in your dish that you'll have to spoon over tortilla chips, and while tasty, it would be much better in between the chiles. Queso Asadero is a very melty cheese. It WILL run out of the layers if you don't give it time to set. That's why my picture looks short and small. Slice into pieces and spoon remaining enchilada sauce over the top. Serve with some refried black beans and you are done!

No comments: