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Cinco de Mayo Chili Relleno Recipe

Photo and food by Kathy Whyte

Okay, chilli rellenos is cheese stuffed chili peppers not chili in a bowl, people!

Chili Relleno Recipe (prep time about an hour. You can roast and peel the poblano chili peppers the day ahead. The prep. time then is about 20 minutes.)

For six servings:

6 poblano chili peppers (also known as green chilis or banana peppers)

Queso blanco or Queso fresco cheese* (cheddar can be substituted)

1 C. buttermilk pancake mix

2 C. milk

¼ C. tonic or other sparkling water or beer

¼ tsp. powdered cayenne pepper

3 splashes of hot sauce (to taste)

Ground black pepper & salt

1 medium-sized bottle of vegetable oil

Salsas and sour cream for topping

Move top oven rack to the highest position and warm the broiler on high.  Arrange the peppers on a sheet pan and put under the broiler.  With tongs, turn each pepper as each side starts to blacken. This can also be done directly over the flame of a gas stove. But be careful since the tongs can get very hot.  Once the peppers are slightly blackened on all sides, place in a paper bag. Close the paper bag and allow the peppers to cool.  While they are cooling, you can prepare the batter and cheese.

Slice cheese into slabs about an inch and a half wide and thick.  In a large mixing bowl, combine pancake mix with enough milk to make a thin batter. The addition of the tonic or beer makes for a lighter crust. Stir in the cayenne and black peppers, salt and hot sauce.

Remove peppers from the paper bag when they are cool enough to handle.  The skin will easily peel off. Carefully open a small slit near the top of the pepper and remove the seeds. Leave the stem on.  I dabbed some of the moisture out of the inside of the peppers with a piece of paper towel. Try to get as many of the seeds out as you can and try to only make one opening in the side of the pepper if possible.

Heat the oil in a heavy bottom pan on medium high heat until the temperature is between 325 and 350 degrees. Slide the sliced cheese into the peppers.  Fold over the opening and dip in the batter.  Allow only a little excess to drip off before carefully lowering the peppers, one or two at a time into the hot oil.  Fry for about 2-3 minutes until they float to the top and are golden brown.  Remove with a slotted spoon to drain on paper towels. You can serve immediately, or place in a baking dish, cover with enchelada sauce and bake for about 15 minutes. That helps pull some of the sauce flavor into the crust. I also topped with a sprinkling of diced colby jack cheese.

Serve with salsa and sour cream, refried beans and tortilla chips. (Notice in the photo, my presentation of salsa verde, sour cream and enchilada sauce sides make the colors of the Mexican flag!)

Our Local Experts wine and spirits guy, Josh, has an original Margarita recipe and also a Mojito recipe he can share with you. Check out the experts section on our website and visit Josh at Parkway Wines and Spirits on theVestal Parkway East, just west of the Binghamton University campus.

Any questions can be sent to kathy@wnbf.com.

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