Chiles Rellenos with Pinto Beans

Chiles rellenos are simply stuffed peppers. Most common in the US are Anaheim peppers filled with cheese and deep fried. My version uses long, small chiles filled with mashed beans with a bit of cheese mixed in making for a leaner, more nutritious product. I serve them simply over Mexican-style white rice topped with a bit of chipotle-tomatillo salsa.

Ingredients

4 ounces, about ½ cup, dried pinto beans

1 slice bacon, chopped (optional), or 1 Tbsp. oil

½ onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. dried oregano

3 or 4 cups water

½ cup finely grated Monterey jack or cheddar cheese

4 ancho, pasilla or Anaheim chiles

¼ cup masa harina

2 eggs, separated

2 cups tomatillo sauce or canned tomatillos

3 cloves garlic, unpeeled

1 chipotle en adobo

1 cup canola or other neutral oil

Method

Note: I use a pressure cooker to speed up the cooking of the beans. If you do not have one just extend the cooking time for the beans until they are soft, about 1½ hours.

Put the bacon or oil in a pressure cooker over medium high heat. When hot add the onion and cook, stirring regularly until the bacon is crisp and the onion is well brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the beans, oregano, and water scrapping up any burned bits on the bottom of the pan. The water should cover the beans by about ½ inch for pressure cooking or 1 inch for conventional cooking. Cook at 15 psi for 30 minutes after the weight begins to jiggle (in Binghamton, at an elevation of 1000’, I add a couple minutes to the cooking time). Cool and open the pressure cooker according to the manufacturer’s instructions and drain the beans, reserving the cooking liquid. Mash the beans to a smooth paste adding reserved cooking liquid as needed. Mix in the cheese until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool.

While the beans are cooking, prepare the chiles. Char the skin under a broiler or, as I do, using a plumber’s propane torch. When well charred wrap in a kitchen towel to cool. When cool, carefully rub the skins off. With a small sharp knife cut a slit lengthwise in each pepper then make a T cut just below the stem. Open the pepper and remove the seeds and ribs. Set aside.

For the salsa, put the unpeeled garlic in a dry cast iron skillet and roast, turning from time to time, until soft and slightly charred. Peel and put into a food processor with the chipotle and tomatillos. Process until smooth but still a bit chunky. Scoop into a small saucepan and warm.

Put ½ inch of oil into the cast iron skillet and heat until nearly smoking.

Separate the eggs and beat whites until stiff peaks have formed. Mix 1 Tbsp. of masa harina into the yolks and fold into the whites. Stuff the peppers with the bean mixture, roll in the masa harina and dip into the batter. Fry in the oil, seam side down first, until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels.

To serve, spoon a serving of rice onto a plate, put two chiles rellenos on top, and nap with the salsa.

Serves 2.

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