We blew right through New Mexico on our way west this year; consequently I didn't manage to get chiles rellenos in Columbus or Palomas. I've been wanting them. I remembered earlier discussions in this topic about chile relleno casseroles, and how they took some of the effort out of the dish. I found this recipe by Elizabeth Poett on The Splendid Table's web site, and decided to try it. (The recipe is taken from Poett's book, The Ranch Table (eG-friendly Amazon.com link).)
Well, it's still a labor of love. I had purchased poblanos for the purpose. I needed to roast and peel them, and because I'll be gone most of this week I decided I'd better do the same with the jalapenos and red bell peppers I'd bought for some other purpose. I blistered them all under the broiler, loaded them into a bowl and covered it so they could steam themselves. Overnight.
This morning I set to work on them. This collage shows the before, intermediate and after pictures. I managed to get one or two poblanos peeled and seeded enough that they might have made decent chiles rellenos in their own right, but I think I now understand instructions I've read elsewhere to remove the stem and core before roasting.
(Note to self: wear gloves when handling jalapenos, even after they're roasted. My hands are still burning, hours later!
It occurred to me that the recipe as written didn't involve meat. I thought of my darling. I remembered that there was a package of chorizo in the freezer. I pulled it out.
Why I bought chorizo in Duluth I don't know. Why I bought it in October 2022 is a further mystery. I don't know whether it made the round trip with us last season, but here it was, and out it came. I didn't think of it soon enough and had a fine time getting it cooked slowly enough to thaw and break into chunks for the casserole. While it was thawing and heating, I grated cheese using the Lunar Lander.
Here's a chance to show off a toy I bought last summer on Amazon, one of those Lightning Deals. For $15 I figured it was worth a try: an electric, side-cutting can opener. I wish I could show you a video of this thing in action. You put it atop the can with the cutting wheel along one side, and push a button. It clamps itself to the can, then around it goes -- several passes around the can -- until the lid is loose. When the lid's loose, the opener stops and releases the can. It works on 28 oz. cans as well as 14 oz. cans like this one. For those interested: the specific unit I bought is no longer available, but this one (eG-friendly Amazon.com link) looks much the same. We're really glad to have this. The side-cutting Oxo hand-cranked unit I bought in Texas a couple of years ago has long since been donated to some other hapless person.
I took liberties with Poett's recipe: she uses poblanos only, no meat, and seasonings in the eggs that I decided were unnecessary because of the chorizo. But I followed her basic outline: put a thin layer of tomatoes into the bottom of a baking dish; scatter a quarter of the peppers atop the tomatoes; scatter a quarter of the meat atop that; scatter a quarter of the cheese atop that. Repeat the layers until everything is used except some of the cheese. Pour a mixture of beaten eggs and cream over the whole thing; give the custard time to settle through everything; top with reserved cheese. Give it a few minutes to sit before baking, to make sure everything is settled.
I gave it a couple of hours while I washed dishes and admired the gaps in the refrigerator shelves. Look at that empty space! 😄
When it's time to bake, bake it at 350F for 45 minutes or until the eggs are cooked and puffed, and the top is golden brown. After pulling it from the oven, give it at least 15 minutes for the mixture to set. This casserole was still runny, but I think it's due to the extra liquid from the peppers, possibly also from the chorizo, and possibly because my egg/ dairy ratio was off.
It was good! Is good! (There are a lot of leftovers.) We both agreed that salsa and sour cream helped: salsa to sweeten it slightly, and sour cream to tame the heat. This chorizo had red pepper, black pepper and white pepper, according to the ingredient label. It also had a lot of salt, and I'm glad I didn't add any. (I swear I can taste a bit of freezer burn also, but my darling couldn't -- and the salsa and sour cream helped cover that up too.)
I'll do something like this again, but I won't do it with Duluth chorizo! The stuff is much better down here.