05 April 2010
Chile Rellenos Strata
I like spicy as much as the next person, a fiery Thai curry or a smoky warm chili, but I have to admit, I'm intimidated by cooking with chiles. The unpredicatability of the heat, the need to wear gloves, those stray little seeds, I'll pass thanks. I know my intimidation comes from lack of knowledge, and that I need to learn more in order to get comfortable cooking with chiles. Also, to remember not to touch my eye after chopping poblanos, because that was pretty painful.
So, while I'm on vacation (yes, in Mexico, learning about chiles), I'll bring you this item from my archives, a chile rellenos strata. This is a cross between an Italian savory bread-pudding dish of strata, infused with the classic flavors of chile rellenos: poblano chiles, cheese, and salsa verde. It's a perfect breakfast dish since it can be made ahead and refrigerated overnight, and would also be a great side dish to bring to a potluck or barbeque. Do you cook with chiles? What are the varieties you enjoy? Do you live in the northeast U.S. and have trouble even finding interesting chile varieties in the store? Let me know in the comments.
Chile Rellenos Strata
Adapted from chow.com. If you have the extra time, make a fresh tomatillo salsa to go into the dish and then serve the remainder alongside.
4 poblano chiles (I couldn't find any, so I substituted jalepenos)
8 cups stale bread, cubed
1/4 cup minced red onion
1 cup low-fat sour cream or plain yogurt
1 cup grated white cheese like Monterey Jack
optional: an additional 1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco
1/2 cup salsa verde
1/4 cup minced cilantro
2 cups milk (whole or 2%)
1 tablespoon salt
1. Over the flame of a gas stove, or under the broiler, toast the chiles using tongs until blackened on all sides. Place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and allow to steam for 10 minutes. When the chiles are cool enough to handle, remove to skins, remove to seeds and interior veins, then dice them.
2. Preheat oven to 350 F. Place the bread, chiles, red onion, cilantro, and salsa verde in a bowl and toss to combine. Add the yogurt/sour cream and cheese and toss around until coated.
3. Spread the bread in a greased baking dish (9x13 or a round souffle dish). Whisk together the eggs, milk, and salt and pour over the bread mixture. If you want you can refrigerate this mixture overnight, let come to room temperature before baking.
4. Bake for 50-55 minutes, until puffed an golden brown and just barely set in the center. Serve warm, with sour cream and salsa.