Senor Pico Tex-Mex Trader Vic's Pacific Island Cookbook

Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Battered, deep-fried poblano peppers stuffed with ground pork and beef playfully seasoned with cinnamon, candied lemon, almonds and pine nuts. Sounds good? Listed in Trader Vic’s Pacific Island Cookbook as “Mexican Chili Rellenos,”this is a regional Mexican specialty of the southern city Puebla from which the poblano chili pepper is named. I have actually come across this dish before in a different variation in Mary and Vincent Price’s A Treasury of Great Recipes and will do a review of their version soon.

While not your typical Tex-Mex fare, this dish is certainly a crowd pleaser and can be modified to suit any tastes or diets swapping out the meat mixture for cheese or re-fried beans to accommodate the vegetarian disposition. What I love about this dish is the use of the smoky poblano pepper that dominates each bite. Peppers are often only a small component of a dish, but here they are the main attraction (and to great effect). What I also love, are the small variations which make every ‘chili rellenos’ recipe a little different. It can be a great resource to have your ‘go to’ recipes that you make exactly the same each time, but what I love about delving into vintage cookbooks is doing familiar recipes in slightly different ways each time. Small changes can sometimes create big surprises.

Stuffed Poblano Peppers

2 onions chopped
2 tbsp oil
1/2 lb ground pork
1/2 lb ground beef
1 cup tomates chopped
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp candied lemon
2 tbsp vinegar
2 tbsp blanched almonds chopped
2 tbsp pine nuts chopped
4 eggs
1/2 cup flour
Oil for frying
12 fresh poblano peppers

This recipe originally called for the use of canned poblano peppers. I cannot stress this enough, use fresh peppers. In my experience, trying to stuff the shredded, broken peppers that come out of a can is virtually impossible. In Montreal, I pick up my poblano peppers from Sabor Latino a great Latin food store in the Plateau, but wherever you live, find your Latin grocer to source these rarer ingredients. You can roast them before frying but I found that by cutting the tops off, coring the seeds out and quickly blanching them in hot water was sufficient to soften the flesh before frying.

Saute onions and then add meat until cooked. Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, cinnamon, candied lemon, vinegar, almonds and pine nuts and simmer until thickened and then remove from heat. For the pepper, separate the eggs. Whip egg whites until stiff, whip egg yolks and fold into the white. Stuff peppers with meat mixture, dredge in flour, dip in egg batter and fry until golden brown. Serve with the Senor Pico sauce. Sour cream is an excellent accompaniment as well.

Sauce

1 onion chopped
1 tbsp oil
1 1/2 lbs tomatoes chopped
1 stick cinnamon
1 cup beef stock
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Saute onions and then add tomatoes and cinnamon and simmer until tomatoes are broken down. Remove cinnamon and puree. Add beef stock and seasons and reduce until thick.

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