“Years ago, when I was the chef at a restaurant called Enoteca Vin, one of the dishwashers blew my mind with his technique for chiles rellenos. Up until that point, the only chiles rellenos I’d had were dredged in flour and deep-fried. Ruben was coating the stuffed peppers in a pillowy coating of egg whites and searing them carefully in a pan. This technique produced a light-as-air, almost crepe-like crust that seemed to barely clasp the chile. I was hooked and started thinking about this form of chiles rellenos as the perfect vehicle for a myriad of rich fillings, from shrimp mousse and smoked chicken to roasted winter squash or even sweet potato and goat cheese. Feel free, if rabbit isn’t your thing, to swap out for a filling of your choosing.” —Ashley Christensen
Reprinted with permission from Poole’s: Recipes and Stories from a Modern Diner by Ashley Christensen, copyright © 2016. Photography by Johnny Autry. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House LLC.” Click here to purchase your own copy of Poole’s: Recipes and Stories from a Modern Diner.
- 4 medium poblano chiles
- 1 cup rabbit confit
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- sea salt
- 6 large egg whites
- 1/4 cup neutral vegetable oil
- fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
- green onions, sliced on the diagonal, for garnish
- lime wedges, for garnish
- Countertop crème Fraîche or sour cream, for garnish
Charred Chile Sauce
- 4 Roma tomatoes
- 1 poblano chile, stemmed and cut into quarters
- 1/2 jalapeño chile, stemmed, seeded if you’d like less heat
- 1/2 yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- For the Sauce: Slice the tomatoes in half across the equator. Using a paper towel, wipe a thin layer of oil over the surface of a cast-iron skillet and set it over high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the tomato halves, cut side down, along with the poblano, jalapeño, onion, and garlic. Cook until the vegetables are charred on one side, about 4 minutes, then flip and cook for another 2 minutes to cook the peppers all the way through. Transfer the vegetables to a small saucepan and add water until the vegetables are just barely covered.
- For the Sauce (cont.): Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer over low heat. Cook, simmer¬ing, for 45 minutes to 1 hour, adding additional water to the pan if the veg¬etables begin to stick to the bottom. Transfer the ingredients to a blender and puree with the salt until the mixture is a smooth, pourable sauce (add more water if it’s too thick). Keep warm while you work on the chiles.
- For the Peppers: Place them directly over a high gas flame. Using metal tongs to safely rotate the peppers, char the entire surface of each pepper. My final step in this process is to balance the pepper on its curvy stem end on the grate of the burner to char that part. This ensures the best yield. (If you don’t have a gas range, roast the peppers under an oven broiler set on high; rotate them with metal tongs so they char evenly.) Transfer the peppers to a metal bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let sit for 15 minutes.
- For the Peppers (cont.): Carefully peel the skins off the peppers by rubbing with a paper towel. Make an incision lengthwise along the side of each pepper and use a small spoon to remove the seeds; take care to keep the chile intact. Using a small spoon or your hands, stuff each chile with rabbit confit so that it is full but not overstuffed, about 1⁄4 cup each. Pull the edges of the incision together so that one overlaps the other. Set the chiles aside.
- For the Peppers (cont.): Place the flour and 11⁄2 teaspoons salt in a shallow bowl. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with a mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Add 1 teaspoon of the flour mixture to the egg whites and whisk to combine. Place a medium skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Preheat a convection oven to 350°F (or a regular oven to 375°F).
- For the Peppers (cont.): Working in batches, place each chile in the flour and turn to completely coat. Then transfer the chile to the bowl with the egg whites and use your hands to coat the chile with a thick coating of egg white. It’s not going adhere very gracefully; do what you can to keep the chile well coated as you transfer it to the skillet. Fry until golden brown on the first side, about 4 minutes, then carefully nudge the chile onto its second side and cook an additional 4 minutes.
- For the Peppers (cont.): The egg whites will compress quite a bit into a thin, almost crepe-like golden crust. Turn the chile onto its final side and cook for 4 more minutes, or until the crust is golden and cooked evenly. Transfer the chile to a wire rack set over a baking sheet and repeat with the remaining chiles. When all of the chiles have been fried, transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes.
- For the Peppers (cont.): Divide the chiles among four plates and douse each with a generous ladle of the charred chile sauce. Serve with cilantro, green onions, lime wedges, and crème fraîche on the side.