RECIPE

Charred Chili Relleno with Green Rice

I am lucky in a thousand ways but got even luckier when the best Mexican in NYC opened practically right outside my door! Mexicana Mama serves roasted rellenos – I thought they all had to be battered, fattening and fried, no? NO! Sadly, the restaurant closes once a week for an entire day and night. So, on Mondays, I make this dish at home. This dish is so health-concious, you might want to double the recipe because you can have guilt-free seconds!

Ingredients

  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock, divided
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups white rice
  • 4 large poblano peppers
  • 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil, divided
  • 4-5 ears corn on the cob or 3 cups frozen corn kernels
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained well (28 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin (1/2 palmful)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (eyeball it)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1 sack baby spinach (10 ounces)
  • 4 scallions, coarsely chopped
  • 1 lime
  • 1 cup shredded Chihuahua or Monterey Jack cheese

Preparation

Pre-heat the broiler or grill pan to high.


Heat about 3 1/2 cups stock in a saucepot with a bay leaf to boiling. Add the rice, cover the pot and reduce the heat to low and simmer 18 minutes until tender.


Place the poblanos under the broiler or on a hot grill pan and char evenly all over, 15 minutes.


While the peppers and rice are working, scrape the corn off the cob: invert a small bowl and place it in the bottom of a large bowl. Stand the cobs on end and scrape off kernels. They will collect in the large bowl. To use defrosted frozen corn, pop it in microwave to take the chill off – a couple of minutes on defrost setting will do it. Drain and dry the corn by spreading out on clean kitchen towel.


Heat 2 tablespoons of canola or vegetable oil in a skillet over high heat. When the oil smokes or ripples add corn, onion, jalapenos and toss until the vegetables char at edges and onions are tender, 4-5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium high and add in garlic, fire roasted tomatoes and season with cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook another minute or two, then turn the pan off. 


Place the cilantro, spinach, scallions, lime zest, 1/2 cup stock and a tablespoon of oil in a food processor and process into coarse green paste.  Stir the green paste into your rice just before serving. 


Squeeze the lime juice over the corn mixture. 


Split the charred peppers open but not in half with small sharp knife, then scoop out the seeds with a small spoon. Place peppers in a shallow baking dish and stuff each split pepper with lots of the corn mix, mounding it out of the peppers. Top with 1/4 cup cheese and place the peppers back under the broiler to melt and char the cheese.

Serve the peppers alongside the green rice. Delish!

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Rachael Ray