These two recipes, one from Food and Wine, the other from Ms. Stewart turned an otherwise high-fat-battered/refried-in-lard meal into a dinner that was light, fresh and flavorful. The beans are not fried or even refried for that matter. They're the ones that get made first and then the leftovers are mashed and refried in lard. The recipe does call for you to mash them but I left mine whole and let them swim around in the delicious pool of sauce. They have a whole head of garlic in them! How bad can they be? Manly likes his Mexican beans anyway he can get them but he really loved these (I had to sleep on the couch that night if you catch my drift).
As for the rellenos and the star of this dinner...the first time I made this recipe I followed the ingredient list given here. This time I used cheddar and tossed in a little bit of cooked chorizo. DON'T DO THAT! While they were very good it kind of mucked up the fresh flavors of the pepper and the salsa. Speaking of fresh...where have all the grape tomatoes gone? Four grocery stores and all I could get were those things they call "vine-ripened". Vine-ripened my butt! They were mealy and tasteless. Hold out for good tomatoes for this. It will look and taste much better if you do. Oh summer, oh summer. Where for art thou, summer? *sigh*
One last note, the rellenos here are baked in the oven but they are even more fantastic if you lightly grill them and let the cheese get all melty. Not neccesary at all but it does give them yet another flavor component that is most enjoyable. Enjoy!
Recipe: Chiles Rellenos with Tomato-and-Avocado Salsa
Food And Wine Magazine; January 2010
6 medium poblano peppers (about 3 ounces each)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 small onion, minced
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 small jalapeño, seeded and minced
6 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, quartered
1 Hass avocado, finely diced
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1/2 small jalapeño, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Make the Chiles Rellenos: Roast the poblanos directly over a gas flame or under a broiler, turning occasionally, until they are charred all over. Transfer the poblanos to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let cool. Peel the poblanos. Using a small, sharp knife, make a small lengthwise slit in each one, near the stem end. Using kitchen scissors, carefully cut out the core and seeds, then remove the core and seeds without tearing the poblanos or enlarging the opening.
Preheat the oven to 425°. In a small skillet, heat the vegetable oil. Add the diced onion, garlic and jalapeño and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Let the vegetable mixture cool, then stir in the Monterey Jack, Parmigiano-Reggiano and chopped cilantro. Press the cheese filling into 6 logs.
Lightly season the insides of the poblanos with salt. Carefully stuff the cheese filling into the poblanos and press the poblanos closed. Place the stuffed poblanos on a baking sheet and roast in the upper third of the oven for about 12 minutes, until the cheese is melted.
Meanwhile, Make the Salsa: In a bowl, combine the grape tomatoes with the diced avocado, onion, cilantro, jalapeño and lime juice and season the salsa with salt and pepper.
Transfer the chiles rellenos to plates, spoon the salsa on top and serve.
Recipe: "Refried" Beans
Martha Stewart's Living Magazine; June 2009
1 pound dried pinto beans, soaked overnight in cold water, rinsed, and drained
1/2 medium white onion
1 head garlic, halved crosswise
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 smoked ham hock (about 4 ounces)
2 jalapeno chiles, halved lengthwise (optional)
1 tablespoon coarse salt
2 teaspoons paprika
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Combine soaked beans, onion, garlic, oregano, cumin, and ham hock, and jalapenos if desired, in a heavy 6-quart pot, and cover with water by 3 inches. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook until beans are tender, adding more water if needed to keep beans covered, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Remove onion, garlic, and jalapenos from pot; discard. Remove ham hock, and reserve for another use. Ladle out cooking liquid and reserve, until it covers beans by only 1/4 inch. Add salt, paprika, and pepper. Using a potato masher, mash beans into a coarse puree, adding reserved liquid if desired. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 5 days. Reheat in a 350-degree oven in a skillet (preferably cast-iron), adding water if needed, about 20 minutes.