Monday, October 26, 2009

Augustine's Chili Rellenos and Perfect Spanish Rice

We have been growing this idea for quite awhile!  After our drought this summer I thought the garden was a total loss.  Even the jalepenos we grew were not hot at all and worse, they literally had no flavor. Very Strange.

Then the rains came and everything changed.  We actually have grass growing again and all of the plants are happy happy happy.  My jalepenos not only have flavor but they are nice and hot!  My poblano plants started budding out and growing big and beautiful peppers.  It has rained for weeks now, somewhere in the neighborhood of 9 to 12 inches, depending on who you talk to.  Today, at our house, it's 3 inches so far!  My poor garden is confused about what time of year it is and we are reaping the benefits! 

Since my summer garden is finally producing these beautiful poblano peppers, we have been watching and waiting with anticipation to harvest and make our dear friend's Chili Rellenos.  I have always wanted to make them, but I think it's one of those things that is best learned from a friend, hands on, not from a cookbook. 

After picking them and washing them, it was time to roast them!  I love this part.  I turn on all the burners and stradel the flame with the peppers, turning them over and over until they are completely black(if you don't have a gas stove, you can do this under the broiler or on your grill outside).  As soon as one is blackened, it gets tossed into a bowl and covered with a large plate until I finish all of them.  The steam in the bowl losens the charred skins so they can easily be peeled.   The house fills with the most amazing aroma and my poor husband has to listen to me everytime he passes through the kitchen.  "Doesn't this make your mouth water", "They are so beautiful", "Can you smell these", "Oh, come look!"  Poor guy, this is my normal routine and we have been through this many many times.  We will go through this many more times in the years to come.  He knows this.  I gotta hand it to him though, he feigns excitement just for me.

It's my personal preference, but I do not hold the peppers under the water to remove the charred skins.  I am afraid they might lose some of their amazing flavor.  I scrap off the outside with my fingers and rinse the charred pieces off of my hands under the water.  The peppers are then split down one side, opened up and the seeds are then removed.  We pat them dry, just in case, so we don't get splattered when it's time to fry.

My mouth is watering again!

The poblanos are then filled with Panella or Oaxaca cheese and secure with tooth picks.  They are rolled in plain flour and set aside.  Meanwhile, August instructed me to seperate some eggs.  Whites in one bowl, yolks in the other.  One of the best things about August's Chili Rellenos, is that the batter doesn't fall off.  The technique that I learn is new to me and it works!  The whites are beaten (with a mixer unless you are a marathon mixer) to very soft peaks.  Basically, super foamy.  The yolks are beat seperately.  Then whites and yolks are gently combined.  You'll want to hold off doing this until just before you fry.

He's such a cutie!!  I am learning from the Master!!

That's me pretending I'm actually doing something.

Remember we dusted them with flour.  Combined the whites and the yolks.  August then dipped the floured poblanos into the egg mixture to coat and carefully layed them in the hot oil (we used Canola).  They are fried until they are light golden brown and just like he said, the batter stayed on!  Amazing!!

Earlier, August started his beautiful Spanish Rice.  This rice is the most delicate, fluffy, tender rice I have ever had!   He heated a large pan over a med-high heat.  The rice is added to a dry pan.  Tossed around with a spoon to keep it from burning.  Added chopped fresh garlic and onion, dry sauted that too.  Meanwhile, it a seperate sauce pan he heated water.  The hot water was then added to the rice along with the seasonings.  Do not stir the rice, cover with a tight fitting lid, reduce heat to low and simmer until the liquid is absorbed.  What a HUGE difference.  The hot water added to the rice, instead of cold water, August said, keeps the rice from getting sticky.  The lack of any kind of fat helps too.  He's right, it was perfect!

August served the Chili Rellenos with fresh tomatillo sauce he brought with him from home.  Sprinkled them with fresh pomegranet seeds he brought from his mother's garden.  And it was amazing! 

Augustine's Most Tender Spanish Rice

1 Cup rice
2-3 Cups VERY HOT water
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 onion, finely diced
1 Tbl. Knorr Caldo de Pollo (Chicken Boullion)
2 Tbl. Fideo Ole'

1 tsp Cumin powder
2 -3 Tbl Cilantro, roughly chopped

Heat water in a sauce pan.  In a seperate pan, toast rice in a dry pan on med-high heat.  When it starts to change color add garlic and onion. Saute for a few minutes longer.  Add hot water to rice.  Season with chicken bullion, Fideo Ole' and cumin.  Cover pan with a tight fitting lid.  Reduce heat to low and simmer until liquid is absorbed, try not to mess with it!  Once rice is cooked, remove lid, toss with cilantro and serve.

Thank you August!  That was a fabulous meal!  Great Food and Great Friends....perfect evening!

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  1. It looks and sounds like a wonderful meal for a great evening. Your photos are wonderful.

  2. I love chile rellenos! And you captured how to make it well!


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