Spruce up your traditional chile rellenos

Chile rellenos recipe
Makes 4 first-course servings or side dishes

Red Chile Sauce

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 5 dried New Mexico chiles
  • 5 dried California chiles
  • 5 ancho chiles
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Chile Rellenos
Serves 4
  • 4 fresh Anaheim chiles
  • 1 tablespoon canola or corn oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  • 9 ounces mixed mushrooms, such as chanterelles, oysters, cremini, or buttons, sliced (3 cups)
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 ounces fresh goat cheese, such as Laura Chenel
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Crumbled cotija cheese for sprinkling

For the chile sauce:
  1. In a dry medium skillet over medium heat, toast the cumin seeds until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Grind in a spice grinder or clean coffee grinder. Stem the dried chiles and remove the seeds. Break the chiles into 1-inch pieces.

  2. Return the skillet to medium heat and toast the chiles, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes. Do not allow to burn.

  3. Transfer the chiles to a bowl, add hot water to cover, and let stand for 20 minutes.

  4. In a heavy, medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until golden brown, 7 to 8 minutes.

  5. Stir in the garlic, toasted cumin, and oregano. Drain the chiles and add to the onion mixture along with the chicken broth and salt.

    Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 20 minutes.

  6. Working in batches if necessary, puree the sauce in a blender. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

  7. Return to the pan and set aside.
For the rellenos:
  1. Preheat the broiler. In a medium bowl, toss the Anaheim chiles with the oil to coat and place on a baking sheet. Broil 4 to 6 inches from the heat source until the skins begin to blister, 4 to 6 minutes; turn and broil on the second side until blistered, another 4 to 6 minutes.

  2. Remove from the broiler and let cool to the touch. Peel off the skins, slit the chiles down the sides with a paring knife, and carefully remove the seeds. Set aside.

  3. In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallot and thyme and sauté until the shallot is translucent, about 2 minutes.

  4. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they have released most of their juices, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the sherry and salt and cook until the mixture is almost dry.

  5. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Stir in the goat cheese. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

  6. Mold one-fourth of the mushroom mixture into an oval and stuff it into a chile; repeat with the remaining filling and chiles. If the chiles tend to fall open, secure each with a toothpick.

  7. In a shallow bowl, combine the flour and cornstarch; stir with a whisk to blend. Dredge the chiles in the flour mixture to coat.

  8. Reheat the chile sauce over low heat. Meanwhile, in a medium nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chiles and fry until browned and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes on each side.

  9. Remove the toothpicks. Ladle the hot chile sauce onto each of 4 salad plates and top each with a fried stuffed chile. Garnish with the cotija cheese.
Wine Pairing: Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel or Syrah

Buy this book on Amazon: Down Home Downtown: Seasonal Recipes from Two Sonoma Wine Country Restaurants

Zin Restaurant and Wine Bar
344 Center Street
Healdsburg, CA 95448
website: www.zinrestaurant.com

About Jeff Mall:

He is the chef and co-proprietor of Zin Restaurant and Wine Bar in Healdsburg, California.

After graduating for the University of San Francisco's Business School of Hospitality Management, and the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, Jeff worked at top-name restaurants such as Stars Oakville Café in Napa Valley and Lark Creek Café in Walnut Creek, before opening Zin in Healdsburg in 1999.

There, his traditional home cooking is enhanced by Southern and Southwestern accent and relies on local ingredients.

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