Chile Rellenos

Chile rellenos are a labor of love—I suggest making this recipe as a two-person project.

Chile Rellenos
Yield: 2 cups, enough to stuff 4 chilies (which equals 2 servings)

4 fresh poblano chiles (alternative: canned whole green chilies)

FILLING

—Tofu Version
6 ounces extra firm tofu drained and crumbled
1 tablespoon chia seeds + 3 tablespoons warm water (rest 5 minutes, then add to tofu)
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
—Chicken Version
6 ounces finely-minced cooked free-range chicken
2 ounces grass-fed sheep’s cheese
Cheese Version
8 ounces grass-fed cheese

—Add to either version—
2 medium ears corn, kernels cut off
1/2 cup dried currants, dark raisins, or chopped dates
1/2 cup onions, chopped and sautéed
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt

ENCHILADA SAUCE

1 28-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes (alternative: pre-made enchilada or adobo sauce)
2 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup vegetable stock
1/2 cup onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, sliced
2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt & pepper to taste

THE CHILES

Buy poblanos that are evenly shaped with no indentations. Roast the poblano chiles over a gas flame or in a dry cast-iron frying pan until charred. Place in a paper bag, seal, and let steam for 5 minutes. Using paper towels, rub off the charred skins. Be careful not to over-char! There should still be small amounts of the shiny green surface visible. After rubbing off the skin, make a slit lengthwise along each chile. Do not remove the seeds or wash the chiles.

If using canned chiles: cut a slit in each chile.

THE FILLING

Add either the tofu mixture or the chicken-and-cheese mixture to a large bowl. Add the rest of the filling ingredients. Mix to combine. Salt and pepper to taste.

THE ENCHILADA SAUCE

Use a small amount of vegetable stock or water to sauté the onions and garlic in a large pan until the onions are almost tender.

Place the fire roasted tomatoes into a blender along with the cook onions, tomato paste, and vegetable stock. Blend until the tomatoes are pureed adding more vegetable stock, as needed.

Pour into a sauce pan. Add chili powder, oregano, cumin, cayenne pepper and stir to combine. Cook for 30 minutes to combine flavors.

ASSEMBLY

Add a little of the sauce to the bottom of a large baking dish. Stuff each chile with about 1/2 cup of filling (or more if needed) and place on top of the sauce.

Cover the chiles with sauce and bake for 30 minutes or until the chiles are tender.