Monday, January 17, 2011

Modified chiles rellenos.

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When life gives you leftover butternut squash risotto, make chiles rellenos. Sounds weird, I know. Trust me on this one.

I was planning on putting together a post about the fantastic butternut squash risotto I had made this weekend for family dinner - recipe here. I followed the recipe for the most part, although I did swap out half of the parmesan for smoked gouda. It was face-melting deliciousness, but nothing compared to what we did with the leftovers.

Note: I'm calling them modified since we didn't end up egging/breading them, as is traditional with chiles rellenos. They didn't need it.

Modified Chiles Relleno
4 large poblano chiles
Risotto for filling
Pancetta (thinly sliced)

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees (Fahrenheit). Spray a cookie sheet with some Pam.

Start by roasting each chile over an open flame, turning continuously until the outer layer of skin is mostly blackened and blistered. If you don't have a gas range, perhaps you can attempt to stick them under the broiler for this part. Once roasted, put them in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow them to cool for at least 5 minutes, during which time the blackened skin will soften. Then, take each chile and rub off the blackened bits. The burnt skin should fall off pretty easily.

Cut a long slit in each chile, lengthwise, being careful to keep your face out of the way should some pent-up steam escape. Carefully remove as many of the seeds as possible while leaving the top of the chile intact. Stuff the pepper with the cold risotto, helping it back to its original shape as you go. Should be about two and a half teaspoons of rice per chile. We sealed up each chile with half a slice of uncooked pancetta for flavor.

Bake at 375 for 30 minutes. Serve with a garnish of homemade guacamole.

These turned out so incredibly delicious, words fail me. The poblano held together beautifully,  a meaty, really quite spicy carrier for the molten risotto. The pancetta had crisped up to provide some sugar and some crunch. A tiny dollop of guac on each bite was perfectly cooling, marrying the flavors and soothing the tongue. So, so phenomenal.

Leftovers have a bad reputation for being blah, but seriously, there's no reason they can't outshine the original. Also, this recipe is gluten-free. Hooray! And, for those wanting, my guacamole recipe is below. Happy eating!

3 large ripe avocados
2 jalapeno peppers
1 medium-sized tomato
1 medium-sized white onion
Decent-sized handful of cilantro, including stems
2 limes

Dice the onion, tomato, cilantro and jalapenos, mix together in a large bowl. Scoop the flesh from the avocados and add to the mix. Squeeze two limes over the mixture and mash together until mostly smooth. I like to leave it a bit chunky, but that's just my preference. Salt and pepper to taste; large-chunk sea salt and freshly ground black pepper are my preference.
Tip: I know it seems gross (or it does to me, anyhow), but if you leave an avocado pit in the bowl with your guac, it will never go brown. True story.


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