Chiles Rellenos de Pollo (Chicken, Jalapeño and Cheese Stuffed Poblanos)

One of my great finds at the farmers market a few weeks ago were these beautiful, hearty, red poblano peppers. I knew as soon as I saw them, they would become a Chile Relleno recipe. I just couldn’t see blending them up into a salsa recipe and not really enjoying it’s full flavor. I found myself with a few chicken breast, cheese and jalapeños in escabeche (pickled), so rellenos for dinner it was. Instead of the traditional egg batter that my mom used to prepare for rellenos, I decided to go with some seasoned homemade breadcrumbs I had in my freezer. And instead of frying them, I baked them instead. I have prepared many breaded recipes in the oven with great success. The results are a crispy and crunchy finish without all the extra oil. The filling was inspired by these great chicken tostadas we used to enjoy on our family trips to Monterrey. Tender, shredded chicken, mixed with Mexican crema, pickled jalapeños and brine. Can’t forget the jalapeño brine, it adds great acidity! The creamy guacamole was perfect too!

Chicken Stuffed Poblanos/Chiles Rellenos de Pollo
Chicken Stuffed Poblanos/Chiles Rellenos de Pollo
So lucky to find these beautiful red poblanos at the farmers market.
So lucky to find these beautiful red poblanos at the farmers market.
Roasted red and Green Poblanos
Roasted red and Green Poblanos

Ingredients
5 large poblanos, red or green
2 large boneless chicken breast (about 1 pound)
olive oil
1/2 cup diced red onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large pickled jalapeños, seeded and minced,
1/3 to 1/2 cup mexican crema or sour cream
Juice of 1/2 lime
2 tablespoons pickled jalapeño brine
salt and pepper, to taste
8 thin slices of deli ham
4 to 6 oz. asadero or mozzarella cheese, shredded or sliced into thin strips

Saute of red onions, garlic and pickled jalapeños
Saute of red onions, garlic and pickled jalapeños
Chicken and Jalapeño Filling for Rellenos
Chicken and Jalapeño Filling for Rellenos
Chicken and Jalapeño Stuffed Poblanos
Chicken and Jalapeño Stuffed Poblanos

For Breading
2/3 cup flour
salt and pepper
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon hot sauce
2 cups seasoned breadcrumbs

*For Homemade Breadcrumb recipe, go to the end of this post

Homemade breadcrumbs are easy to make and great stored in your freezer for a variety of recipes.
Homemade breadcrumbs are easy to make and great stored in your freezer for a variety of recipes.
Rectangular baking pans work best for me when it comes to breading.
Rectangular baking pans work best for me when it comes to breading.

Directions

1. Preheat broiler on high for 5 minutes. Line a baking sheet with foil paper, add the washed poblanos. Broil the peppers for about 20 minutes, turning peppers and rotating pan halfway through cooking time. Never leave the broiler unattended. Remove peppers, transfer to a plastic storage bag and let steam and cool.

2. In a pot, cover chicken with water. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Bring up to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 40 minutes or until chicken is tender. Let cool in the poaching liquid while you prep.

3. Add one tablespoon of olive oil to a saute pan. Add the red onions and garlic. Season lightly with salt and pepper and cook for 6 to 8 minutes. Add the minced pickled jalapeños, stir and remove from heat.

4. Remove the chicken from poaching liquid and shred finely. In a bowl, combine the chicken, sauteed onion/mixture, crema, lime juice, jalapeño brine, salt and pepper (to taste). Remove blistered skins, stems and seeds from poblanos. Try not to tear the pepper too much. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

5. Set up breading station. I find that a rectangular shallow dish works best. Combine the flour, with salt and pepper in one. Whisk the eggs with hot sauce in number two. Add the seasoned breadcrumbs to number three.

6. Open up the roasted poblano pepper, layer 2 slices of ham across, leaving a small border all the way around. Spread out some of the chicken mixture. Add some cheese  over chicken, roll gently, but as tight as you can. Once they are all filled, dredge in flour, dip in egg then coat with breadcrumbs. Transfer to a lined baking sheet that has been drizzled with oilve oil. Place seam side down. Drizzle a little more olive oil over top of peppers. Bake for 30 minutes, move up to broiler and broil for 1 more minute. Remove from oven and let stand for a few minutes before serving. Yields 4 servings. Serve with rice and your favorite guacamole or salsa for topping. 

Oven Baked Chicken and Jalapeño Stuffed Poblanos
Oven Baked Chicken and Jalapeño Stuffed Poblanos
Chicken, Jalapeño and Cheese Poblano
Chicken, Jalapeño and Cheese Poblano
Chicken, Jalapeño and Cheese Stuffed Poblano
Chicken, Jalapeño and Cheese Stuffed Poblano

Seasoned Homemade Breadcrumbs Recipe

Ingredients

8 stale bolillos, sliced into 1 inch pieces
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper
Garlic powder

2 teaspoons annatto powder
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed oregano
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon vinegar powder, optional
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder or cayenne
More salt and pepper to taste

Drizzle with oil and season lightly with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes, turning halfway through cooking time. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

In two batches, add half of the croutons to the food processor. Divide the spices in half, add to bread. Process by pulsing at first. Process until you get fine breadcrumbs. Spread out onto lined baking sheet and let them dry overnight before storing in a freezer bag (in the freezer) until ready to use. Yields about 4 cups.

Chicken, Jalapeño and Cheese Poblano
Chicken, Jalapeño and Cheese Poblano
Chicken, Jalapeño and Cheeese Poblano
Chicken, Jalapeño and Cheeese Poblano

Carne Deshebrada (Braised Shredded Beef)

 

 

Carne Deshebrada or shredded beef is one of those staple recipes that I learned early on thanks to my Mom. Most times she would slowly cook up the beef to prepare her delicious taquitos dorados with avocado tomatillo salsa, yum! My job was to help shred the beef and I loved it because I  would sample it while shredding, ha ha! Hey, had to make sure it was good. When preparing a guisado  for carne deshebrada, you can go simple with a chile ancho sauce or clean out the refrigerator, like me, and add tomatillos, tomatoes, chile serrano, jalapeño, onions, garlic. The works!  For this recipe today, I paired the carne deshebrada (shredded beef) with a quick jalapeño salsa prepared with my favorite jalapeños in escabeche from La Costeña. I have tried so many brands, but they have the best flavor. And since my siblings are not here to steal all those tasty carrots that are brined with the jalapeños, I really love adding them to the salsa as well. Instead of serving the beef on a traditional tostada, try frying up a batch of corn tortilla strips instead. It solves the problem of trying to eat the tostada without it breaking and dropping food all over, lol! In this case, forks are allowed. And you are probably thinking, why skirt steak? Should I have used an inexpensive cut of beef instead? Lucky for me one of the local markets carries skirt and flank steak often at discounted  prices that I can afford to purchase more often. Don’t get me wrong, I do love my grilled steak, but for this recipe the skirt steak shreds just perfect and has a wonderful beef flavor.   

Carne Deshebrada (Braised Shredded Beef)
Carne Deshebrada (Braised Shredded Beef)

2 pounds skirt steak or chuck roast
salt
fresh ground pepper
garlic powder
cumin
Olive oil
1 medium white onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, sliced
3 to 6 serranos or jalapeños, stems removed
2 large poblanos, sliced into strips (red or green)
3 tomatillos, quartered
3 roma tomatoes. quartered
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
water

* I keep a small container of my own spice blend in my pantry. It is equal parts salt, pepper, garlic powder and ground cumin.

Skirt Steak
Skirt Steak. I like to trim off the extra fat and tough skin before searing.
Tomatillo ,Tomato and Chile Pepper Medley That Will Become The Sauce.
Tomatillo ,Tomato and Chile Pepper Medley That Will Become The Sauce.

For Jalapeño Salsa
6 pickled (en escabeche) jalapeños (seed and dice finely)
1/2 red onion, diced
any or all carrots from pickled jalapeños
1/8 cup brine from jalapeños
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon mexican oregano
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

* The salsa pictured below is a variation of the one listed above. The pictured salsa did not have red onions, but does include freshly chopped cilantro.

Jalapeño Salsa
Jalapeño Salsa
Beef combine with the tomatillo chile pepper medley with added liquid ready to begin to braise.
Beef combine with the tomatillo chile pepper medley with added liquid ready to begin to braise.

 

1. Season the beef, to taste, with salt, fresh cracked pepper, garlic powder and cumin on both sides. Preheat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large dutch ove style pot to medium heat for 5 minutes. Sear the beef for 3 minutes per side, remove from pot onto a plate, set aside.

2. To that same pot, add 1 more tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onions, garlic, serrano, poblano peppers, tomatillos and tomatoes. Season lightly with salt and pepper and saute for 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients for the beef and add just enough water to cover. Add the beef back in, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Cover and braise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until meat is tender. While the beef is braising, mix all of the ingredients for the salsa. You can chop the onion finely and process the other ingredients until desired consitency. Stir all together, taste for salt, cover and set aside.

3. Remove the meat from the pot, shred and set aside. In batches, blend until smooth, the broth and vegetables left in pot until it resembles a thick gravy. Transfer back into pot, add beef back in. Stir well to combine and simmer for another 30 to 35 minutes to thicken and reduce. Serve over a stack of tortilla strips or chips with a fresh salad. Garnish with jalapeño salsa. Yields 6 servings.

Carne Deshebrada
Carne Deshebrada
Carne Deshebrada con Esalada
Carne Deshebrada con Esalada

Tips~ If you like your carne deshebrada left more simple, after shredding beef, set aside. Drain 3/4 of the liquid from tomatillo mixture. Pulse to blend in the processor, add only half of the sauce back into pot with beef. Continue cooking just until warmed through. Serve extra sauce on the side.

Carne Deshebrada
Carne Deshebrada served on top of fried Tortilla Strips, Garnished with Jalapeño Salsa

Tips~ Add 1 to 1 1/2 cups of chile ancho sauce/adobo to give it a smoky chile flavor while the beef is simmering. Type in chile ancho into search bar to find recipe for chile ancho sauce.

http://pinaenlacocina.com/2014/03/25/salsa-para-enchiladas-de-chile-ancho-pure-chile-ancho-enchilada-sauce/

A variation to this recipe would be to add 1 1/2 cups of chile ancho sauce when the beef is braising.
A variation to this recipe would be to add 1 1/2 cups of chile ancho sauce when the beef is braising.

 

Conservas & Calabaza ~Mexican Family Traditions

Most times people would advise you to leave the past behind. But in this case when it comes to keeping family traditions alive, it is good to bring the past into present day. One thing I have learned and know, is there are many of us out there in search of those wonderful recipes and traditions that remind us of home. During my few years of blogging for Hispanic Kitchen, I am often asked for recipes our Mexican mothers and grandmothers prepared. And often, many of those times, my  version of my family’s recipe ends up being almost exactly what they were looking for. Every Mexican family has their own version of tamales, rice, fijoles charros, but the basics are usually the same. And I, just like many of them, wish I would have asked more questions about certain family recipes when I had my parents with me. In many cases, I go from memory, from those times I would help my Mom in the kitchen.  For todays blog post, I was inspired by the  season and all it’s rich fall colors.  During the fall season when pumpkins are bountiful, I begin my own little tradition of preparing relleno de calabaza for my holiday empanadas.  Before the pumpkin becomes a filling for my empanadas, I take a few servings out for Calabaza en Tacha. Served with a  warm pilocillo syrup with hints of cinnamon, anise and clove. In the past, I have used the canned pumpkin puree to prepare this, but the results were not quite as good. Also included in this post is my best memory on how my family prepared Conserva de Naranja or candied orange peels in syrup. I really don’t know why it’s so important for me to share these recipes. I think, in a way, by doing this the memory of my parents and  my abuelita are very much alive, standing right there next to me as I prepare these recipes in my own kitchen. The traditions are passed down and will carry on for generations to come.

Calabaza en Tacha, Pumpkin in a Brown Sugar Syrup
Calabaza en Tacha, Pumpkin in a Brown Sugar Syrup

Before the calabaza is further cooked down for relleno de calabaza, it is traditionally served with the piloncillo syrup that is infused with flavors of cinnamon, star anise and clove. It is often served with cream or milk  over the top. Calabaza en Tacha

Calabaza en Tacha

Ingredients

2 medium pumpkins, washed, seeds cleaned out (6 pounds all together)
* Cut the pumpkin down into 3X3 inch pieces, leaving the skins on.
2 pounds piloncillo sugar or 2 cups packed, dark brown sugar
8 cups water, plus more when needed to cover pumpkin
5 cinnamon sticks (3 inches in size)
5 star anise
6 whole cloves
Zest and juice from 2 oranges

Fresh Pumpkin for Relleno de Calabaza
Fresh Pumpkin for Relleno de Calabaza
Piloncillo (brown sugar), Cinnamon, Star Anise, Cloves, Orange, Zest all Combined with Fresh Pumpkin...
Piloncillo (brown sugar), Cinnamon, Star Anise, Cloves, Orange, Zest all Combined with Fresh Pumpkin…

Directions

1. In a large stock pot, add the 8 cups of water, piloncillo, cinnamon, anise and cloves, zest and juice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook just until sugar dissolves. Add all of the pumpkin into the stock pot. Add just enough water to cover the pumpkin. Cover and continue cooking at a simmer for a good hour or until pumpkin is soft. Stir gently when you can, trying not to break up the pumpkin pieces.

2. If serving Calabaza en Tacha, you would serve one or two pieces in a shallow bowl. Ladle some of the syrup over the top and add cream or milk before serving. Yields 10 to 12 servings.

A faded out of focus picture, but one of my most prized possesions. My buelita Sarita, as we called her. In her kitchen
A faded out of focus picture, but one of my most prized possesions. My buelita Sarita, as we called her. In her kitchen

 

 Relleno de Calabaza ~Pumpkin Filling

Relleno de Calabaza para Empanadas
Relleno de Calabaza para Empanadas

Ingredients
5 pounds cooked pumpkin, smashed
2 cups syrup from cooking pumpkin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Pinch of salt

1. Remove the skin/rind from cooked pumpkin. Transfer to a large, heavy pot and smash using a potato masher or process in food processor.  Add 2 cups of syrup from cooking Calabaza en Tacha.  Add the cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and pinch of salt. Stir well to combine.

2. Cook at a low simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until most of the liquid is absorbed. It should be thick enough that your wooden spoon will stand straight up without falling or leaning. Stir often!!! Yields about 6 cups. Cool completely before using for filling. Store in an airtight container for a few days or freeze flat in freezer bags until ready to use.

Relleno de Calabaza. It will become darker as it cooks down.
Relleno de Calabaza. It will become darker as it cooks down.
My Tia Minerva picking the sour oranges at the family ranch in Mexico.
My Tia Minerva picking the sour oranges at the family ranch in Mexico.

 

Conserva de Naranja~ Candied Orange Peels

Conserva de Naranja
Conserva de Naranja

Of course, I had to adjust the recipe to what was available to me and sour oranges are not so I used regular navel oranges. I am pretty happy with the results. Taste pretty much the way I remember. Next time I may add a little more piloncillo to make more syrup for this one batch. Every year during the holidays, we would visit my familia in Monterrey, Mexico. And every time, my abuelita Sarita would give us that special re-purposed glass jar from the Nescafe coffee filled with homemade Conserva de Naranja. There were eight of us kids, so you know it was an extra special treat when we would get back home to California. I have the best memories….On my return trip to Monterrey in 2011, my Tia Minerva prepared a special batch of conserva after a day trip to the family ranch where there are miles of sour orange orchards. It was one of the most beautiful days I spent there. Not even the rain and cold could ruin that day. I watch my tia prepare everything, but never wrote down anything! Good thing the recipe required few ingredients and I have a pretty good memory. This is my best recollection of the recipe.

Zest the oranges with the zester facing up. This way you can see where you need to move next.
Zest the oranges with the zester facing up. This way you can see where you need to move next.

 

Orange Zest and Peels ...Save the orange zest and add to cupcakes, coffee cake or for your favorite frosting recipe.
Orange Zest and Peels …Save the orange zest and add to cupcakes, coffee cake or for your favorite frosting recipe.

 

 

Conserva de Naranja

Ingredients

4 large navel oranges
Salt
Water
1 pound piloncillo
2 cinnamon sticks

2 whole cloves
1 star anise

Directions

1. Zest the oranges. Store zest in freezer to use for another recipe. Score the oranges into quarters. Carefully peel, trying not to tear and keep pieces intact.

2. Add the orange peels to a small baking dish with lid or a storage container. Cover with 4 cups of water. Add 1 teaspoon of salt. Cover and let soak overnight.

3. Next day, drain and rinse the orange peels. In a 5 quart pot, add 6 cups of water, piloncillo, cinnamon and anise. Bring to a simmer and cook until sugar dissolves. Add the orange peels, pushing down into the liquid. Cook at a low simmer, covered for 3 to 4 hours or until syrup has reduced by 3/4 and has become thick and sticky. The orange peels should become darker as they absorb the piloncillo syrup. Cool on stove top and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Yields 1/2 quart.

Orange Peels Soaked in a Salt Water Solution
Orange Peels Soaked in a Salt Water Solution. I believe they do this step to take the bitterness out of the peels.

 

Rinsed Orange Peels
Rinsed Orange Peels

 

Piloncillo/Panela, Canela, Clavos y Anis
Piloncillo/Panela, Canela, Clavos y Anis

 

The Orange Peels After a Few Hours of Simmering
The Orange Peels After a Few Hours of Simmering
Finally cooked down to a thick and sticky syrup.
Finally cooked down to a thick and sticky syrup.