Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Do not try this at home: Chile Rellenos

I've been pleasantly surprised that most recipes I tackle turn out quite well. Lest I forget, though, not all recipes are winners, and last night I was reminder of that. Over the weekend I bought poblano peppers at the Morningside Farmer's Market. I searched for recipes online only to find a dearth of interesting looking options. I finally settled in a recipe from Recipezaar that you can see here and below.

It was an epic disaster. I should have been forewarned based on the fact that the recipe doesn't offer time or temperature suggestions. How are you supposed to replicate the recipe creator's intent without knowing how long to cook things for or how hot to cook them? I did my best to make reasonable assumptions, but it could have been much easier had I just had the right information. I am wary of recipes that don't come from sources like Food Network, Epicurious or Food & Wine, and this reminded me why. Home chefs rarely provide you with all of the information you need, and there isn't a professional chef vouching for them! Rest assured the recipes I provide on my site (save this one) have been vetted by professionals, so it's not just my personal opinion.

Not only was I doing a lot of guesswork, but the recipe itself made for a bland, decidedly-not-tasty meal. The sauce was a yawn - there was hardly anything in it, and it was too liquidy. I added cumin, salt and pepper, but in the words of Obama (and McCain!), "you can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig." We threw out the leftovers.

The peppers were very hard to handle and I lost one to tearing. This is not this particular recipe's fault, of course, so I don't intend to cook stuffed poblanos ever again. Worst of all, the stuffed peppers burned very quickly in the oil (how hot was I supposed to turn it up? Who knows?!), so half of my peppers were too charred. Even ignoring the burning issue, they simply didn't taste that good. The boyfriend didn't even try to pretend it was any good, and he followed up my crap dinner with some frozen Belgian waffles, which appeared to make him much happier.

Damn you Recipezaar, this recipe was a stinker! Disappointing to waste time and money on something so very unsatisfying, but you win some, you lose some, right?

SERVES 12

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Roast chiles on an open flame on the stove top. When skin becomes charred, put them in a plastic bag for about 15 minutes. Take them out and peel them. Cut a slit open and deseed them. Cut the cheese in strips, and stuff the chiles with them. Close slit with a toothpick. Beat the egg whites until stiff and stir in yolks. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan. Coat the chiles with flour and then dip them in the egg batter. Fry in hot oil until batter is golden. Place chiles in a serving dish.
Sauce:
  1. Boil tomatoes in 1/2 water. Blend tomatoes, water and the clove of garlic in a food processor to make a sauce. Strain sauce.
  2. In a saucepan, heat olive oil and fry onions until soft.
  3. Add oregano and tomato sauce. Add sugar.
  4. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Pour sauce over chiles and serve.

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