Chili Rellenos around the world
In Mexico, it consists of a stuffed, roasted, fresh poblano pepper (a large and mild chili pepper named after the city of Puebla), sometimes replaced with a Hatch chile, Anaheim, pasilla or even jalapeño chili pepper. In 1858 it was described as a "green chile pepper stuffed with minced meat and coated with eggs"
In current cuisine, it is typically stuffed with melted cheese, such as queso Chihuahua or queso Oaxaca or with picadillo meat made of diced pork, raisins and nuts, seasoned with canella; covered in an egg batter or simply corn masa flour and fried. Although it is often served in a tomato sauce, the sauces can vary.
Some versions in Mexico use rehydrated dry chiles such as anchos or pasillas.
In the United States, chiles rellenos are usually filled with asadero, asiago, or Monterey Jack cheese, but can also be found with cheddar or other cheeses.] The chile is then dipped in an egg batter and either pan-fried or deep-fried. Chiles rellenos are a popular cuisine in the state of New Mexico, where the Hatch chile is revered for its slender (rather than round) shape and medium-to-hot flavor. In the US, rellenos are typically served with red or green chile sauce or mole.
Variations, which can be seen based on regional tastes or experimentation, include:
- inside of a "chile relleno burrito"
- in a casserole form (which can be more practical for serving groups of people)
- A recipe from 1914 (as "chili reinas") is published in a period guidebook to San Francisco restaurants.
In Guatemala, the pimiento pepper is stuffed with shredded pork and vegetables. As the Mexican version, it is covered with egg batter and fried. It is served with tomato sauce or inside a bread bun.
History of the Christmas Tamale
In the Southwest and for many Mexican-American families, Christmastime means tamale-time.
Tamales are a tasty package of meats, cheeses or vegetables in a corn-based shell all wrapped up in a corn husk and steamed.
Tamales have been eaten in the Americas for a long, long time. They originated in Mesoamericaand date back thousands of years. The portable food was eaten by Olmec and Toltec hunters, travelers and soldiers, and later by the Aztec and Maya. There’s evidence that the Inca of South America even ate tamales.
So why tamales at Christmas?
There are several theories about why this food has become so identifiable with the birth of Christ.
Corn was a very important crop in Mesoamerica, with people believing that people were created from corn. Tamales, because they were wrapped in corn husks, became part of ritual offerings. As a nod to those times, people prepare tamales for special occasions including baptisms, weddings, Dia Del Los Muertos, and, of course, Christmas.
Tamales can also be seen as a symbol of the Virgin Mary, carrying in her the baby Jesus or a mother carrying a future life, especially if the tamale contains an olive.
Making tamales is labor-intensive, so often many are made at once and families and friends are invited over for a day – or more – of togetherness and tamales.
Preparing a tamale’s masa dough correctly or using a good masa dough is the most crucial aspect of making the perfect tamale, according to our Executive Chef Tony Trujillo. The dough is made from a base of large-kernal corn that has been dried, cooked in a mixture of water and calcium oxide and then drained, dried and ground into a flour. Chef Trujillo says the dough for the perfect tamale should not be too dry.
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