Chiles rellenos is a great dish to recreate because the opportunity to create unique and flavorful options are endless. No matter the choice of chile or distinctive elements you choose to fill them with, they always provide a wow factor when they approach a table of hungry guests. For this recipe, we’ll be using fresh poblano chiles stuffed with roasted potatoes and huitlacoche. Huitlacoche is a Mexican delicacy commonly found in traditional recipes. It’s part of the fungi family and grows on the outside of ears of corn. It’s hard to find fresh, unless you’re in Mexico, so canned, jarred or frozen versions can be purchased at local Mexican grocery stores or online. If you’re in a pinch, and need to use a substitute, you can always reach for minced shiitake or portobello mushrooms.

Reprinted with permission from La Vida Verde by Jocelyn Ramirez, Page Street Publishing Co. 2020. Photo credit: Zohra Banon

Chile Relleno con Papas, Huitlacoche, Tempeh Chicharrón y Salsa de Tamarindo [Vegan]

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Serves

4

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Ingredients

For the Tempeh Chicharrón:

  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) cooking oil
  • 1 cup (166 g) tempeh, small dice
  • Salt, to taste (should taste slightly salty)

For the Tamarindo Salsa:

  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) cooking oil
  • 1 dried ancho chile, washed, destemmed and deseeded
  • 1 dried guajillo chile, washed, destemmed and deseeded
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) water
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) seedless tamarind paste
  • Salt, to taste

For the Cashew Crema:

  • 5 oz (142 g) raw cashew pieces, soaked and drained (see Note on page 25)
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) water
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) lemon juice
  • Salt, to taste

For the Poblano Chiles and Filling:

  • 5 poblano chiles (one always tears!)
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) cooking oil, plus extra 3 medium russet potatoes, diced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3/4 cup (185 g) jarred huitlacoche
  • 1/8 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

For Serving:

  • Cilantro leaves, microgreens or edible flowers
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Preparation

For the Tempeh Chicharrón:

  1. To make the tempeh chicharrón, preheat a small saucepan over medium heat and add the oil. Once hot, add the diced tempeh and continually mix for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. Remove the tempeh and place in a bowl lined with paper towels to gather excess oil. Season immediately with salt. Set aside for garnish.
  2. To make the salsa, preheat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the oil and the chiles to panfry for 1 to 2 minutes until slightly blackened on both sides. Place into a small bowl with the water to rehydrate. Place another bowl over the chiles to hold them down into the water. Allow them to soak for about 10 minutes. Check the tamarind paste for seeds and add to a blender. Add the rehydrated chiles, salt and 1/2 cup (120 ml) of the water from the bowl used to rehydrate the chiles. Blend until smooth, and add more water from the chile soaking water, if necessary, to create a smooth sauce. Set aside for garnish.

For the Cashew Crema:

  1. To make the cashew crema, add the cashew pieces to a blender with the water, lemon juice and salt.
  2. Blend until completely smooth to create a creamy consistency. It should be slightly salty and tangy. Set aside for garnish.

For the Poblano Chiles and Filling:

  1. To make the poblano chiles, turn a burner to high heat. Using heatproof tongs, hold each chile over the open flame to char the chiles for about 10 to 15 minutes until fully blackened and blistered on all sides. Be careful to not overcook the chiles. They should still hold their shape and be a vibrant green color under the charred skin. Place into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to let steam, and set aside for 15 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  3. While the chiles are cooling, make the filling. Coat a medium baking sheet with the oil. Place the potatoes on the baking sheet. Add salt and pepper to the potatoes to taste, and hand mix until each piece is coated in oil and seasoning. Spread out the pieces, and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool enough to handle, and add to a bowl.
  4. Coat a saucepan with oil. Add the huitlacoche, cumin, crushed red pepper flakes and a pinch of salt. Allow to come to a simmer, and then add to the roasted potatoes and fold together. Add salt as needed.
  5. Lower the oven temperature to 200°F (95°C). Peel the charred skin on all sides of the chiles and discard. Do not rinse the chiles under water. Use a paring knife to gently make a lengthwise slit down the chiles to remove and discard the seeds. Gently add 3⁄4 cup (53 g) of the filling to each poblano chile, and place on a baking sheet. Cover with foil, and heat the chiles for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until the filling reaches a temperature of 165°F (75°C).
  6. Plate each chile by adding about 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of tamarindo salsa to a dish, and place the filled chile over the salsa. Add a dollop of cashew crema over the top of the chile or use a squeeze bottle to create a zigzag shape over the dish.
  7. Garnish with 1 tablespoon (10 g) of crispy tempeh chicharrón sprinkled over the crema. Add a light garnish of cilantro leaves, microgreens or edible flowers.
 
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