♥ Baked Chili Rellenos

It’s spring . . . but you wouldn’t know it here in Tahoe. This is the front room view here all week-long:

Sometimes the snow melts off; sometimes it doesn’t. Even though it snows daily here, the bears are awake and out of hibernation mode. And they are hungry.

Hungry enough to snack out of the bird feeder. Man, are the birds and squirrels p-i-s-s-e-d!

The picture isn’t very sharp, but there is no way we were going to venture any closer to Mr. Snacky.

Then a neighbor dog spooked him and he demonstrated his bear-like agility (I didn’t know the lumbering brutes were agile!). He walked the entire length of the side and back yard fence before dropping down in a vacant lot behind us.

Snowing or not, we’re still in Cinco de Mayo mode here (if the previous post, and the post before that hadn’t clued you in). Tonight’s dinner was a healthier take on a Mexican restaurant classic:

♥     ♥     ♥

Baked Chili Rellenos

Ingredients:

6 large Poblano chilies

Non-dairy cheddar, mozzarella or Monterey Jack cheese (we used pepper jack from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook).

1/2 cup soy milk

1 cup panko breadcrumbs, organic corn starch,  whole wheat flour or organic corn meal, the finer the better (we used organic corn meal)

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon Mexican oregano

Chili relleno sauce, recipe below

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven to 425°F. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

Broil the chilies until the skins brown and pucker. Place the peppers in a brown paper bag to cool; then peel while still warm. Cut a 3-inch slit in each chili and remove the seeds, if desired. Stuff each chili with cheese.

Pour the soy milk in a shallow bowl. Spread the panko/corn starch/flour corn meal on a plate or a shallow bowl. Add the spices and mix well.

Dip the chilies in the panko/corn starch/flour/corn meal mixture, then the milk and then the panko/corn starch/flour/corn meal mixture again. Place the chilies on the prepared baking sheet and bake 25 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown (I flipped the chilies the last 5 minutes to brown on the other side).

Pour a small pool of warm relleno sauce on a serving plate and place the chili over the sauce. Top the chili with additional relleno sauce and garnish as desired.

Chili Relleno Sauce

Ingredients:

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1/3 cup white whole wheat flour or organic corn starch

1-1/2 cups ripe chopped tomatoes

2 jalapeño peppers, seeds removed and chopped

4 cups water

1 teaspoon sea salt

1-1/2 teaspoons Mexican oregano

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 large bay leaf

Directions:

Chop the onion and garlic together in a food processor.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Sauté the onion and garlic mixture in the oil until translucent and golden.

Add the flour or corn starch to the sauté mixture, spreading the mixture evenly as it cooks, until a deep golden color.

Place the mixture into the food processor with the tomatoes and jalapeño pepper; process until smooth. Pour the pureed mixture back into the saucepan.

Stir in the water, salt, Mexican oregano, black pepper, cayenne pepper and bay leaf. Bring the mixture to a boil, while whisking. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for about an hour, whisking occasionally, until the desired consistency is reached. Cover, slightly vented so the steam can escape. Keep the sauce warm over lowest heat, whisking occasionally, until served.

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16 responses to “♥ Baked Chili Rellenos

  1. cadryskitchen

    You’re so lucky to have bears snacking at your bird feeder (from a safe distance, of course). That would be incredible to see a bear that close. We’ve been making friends with neighbors at our bird feeder too. As coincidence would have it, I posted a video of it today. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6J_mXiQN84

    You seem to be taking the snow in stride; at least you have some good eats! The chile relleno looks delicious!

    • What a sweet video! We have racoons, too, but they seem to keep to themselves. I haven’t seen one yet. They definitely aren’t as brazen as the squirrels! I like seeing the bear (from the other side of the window!), but I worry about him making himself at home in the yard. I don’t mind (the dog is completely oblivious!), but if the neighbors do it could end badly for him. Apparently, “problem” bears aren’t relocated, they are destroyed. I moved here from wet, rainy western Washington so I will not complain about the snow as long as the sun shines every day!

  2. Those pics are unreal! I can’t imagine having a bear coming up and eating out of my bird feeder! Did you feel sorry for him? I would have wanted to throw him a loaf of bread or something, but probably wouldn’t b/c I wouldn’t want wild bears coming regularly to my home! That squirrel pic is sooo funny—he’s like, “hey, that’s mine!!” lol The chili rellenos look yummy! I don’t think I’ve ever had one!

    • He looked pretty well fed, so I didn’t feel too bad for him. Just a block away are the wooded meadows (is there such a thing?) adjacent to the lake and there should be plenty of food for him there. We take the feeder in at night now because we don’t want to encourage him to forage in our yard (our meatless garbage cans do not interest the bears, apparently!). Like I said above, if he comes around regularly and someone complains, it will end badly for the bear. I don’t want that!

      You’ve never had a chili rellano?! I used to order them a lot in Mexican restaurants before I went veg. They usually are dipped in egg and coating and fried and arrive at the table swimming in sauce with rice and beans. Not a low-cal or low-fat meal, but I loved them. I like this version better because it’s guilt free (on a few different levels)!

  3. do you know that chili rellenos are one of our favorites around here?? oh yes!! we use panko and bake them too for a healthier version…I love your recipe! YUM!!

  4. I am not surprised, actually (that Mexican soup of yours still rocks my world)! I’ve used Panko before, and I like it, too. But I really love the corn flavor with Mexican foods. Organic corn, of course!

  5. I love the bear and squirrel pictures! What fun to have bears around…even if you need to give them a wide berth.

    Great idea to bake the rellenos instead of frying…they sure look good!

  6. Wow, that looks delicious!!! And the bear is so adorable.

  7. Can you believe I went 40 years without seeing a bear in real life?!

  8. Great pics! We had a run in with a bear in New Hampshire. ‘Watching TV late at night, in the dark. Suddenly he appeared at the slider looking in. Probably couldn’t see us but wanted to watch some free cable.
    Get some more pics if it’s safe 🙂

  9. Wow, that has to be quite a thrill to see a bear in your yard like that, albeit one tinged with caution! He looks agile indeed, did a lot better than I ever managed to on the balance beam! You could have held up a judge’s scorecard in your window for him. LOL Did your bird feeder live to feed another day? It looks like a sturdy one, but it took quite a pummeling. If it survived that, you should send that photo to the manufacturer!

    We’ve been getting late snows too, but you’ve gotten a lot more! Of course, Tahoe is pretty infamous for that, and it’s awfully pretty out your windows. Great chili rellanos weather for sure!

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