This recipe came to pass because I was, for some strange reason considering the fact that I’ve never had them, craving Chili Relleno. I must have seen a picture, which implanted in the back of my mind cheese stuffed deep fried peppers. That’s the sort of stuff my subconscious holds on to.
Once I investigated, I had a hard time committing myself to stuffing chilies full of cheese, coating them in a whipped egg bath and then frying in oil. There are loads of food I’m willing to deep fry or consume an unwordly amount of calories on, but I thought for the sake of no special occasion, maybe it would be best if I dialed back the glutton.
I present Stuffed Serrano Peppers. There’s cheese, beans and spice–the holy trinity of dinner.
Stuffed Serrano Peppers
Serves 2 as a main course or 4 as a side
4 Serrano Peppers
1 cup Refried or Black Beans (I used a combination)**
6 oz Queso Fresco, crumbled
2 oz Pepperjack Cheese, shredded
Cilantro, to taste
1/4 cup chopped raw onions (if you do not like, they can be omitted)
Pinch (or two) of cayenne pepper
1 egg (or two egg whites)
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
**Dan believes these would be “unbelievable” with chorizo. But I didn’t have any, so too bad for him. Feel free to make them with chorizo and let me know how amazing they are. I’ll pass the info on to Dan**
First things first: roast some peppers! We don’t have a grill, so I roasted my peppers in the oven at 400 degrees.
I lightly coated (with my Misto) the peppers in olive oil, then slid them into a 400 degree preheated oven for 15 minutes, then flipped and roasted them for another 15 minutes. When they’re done, they should look like this:
Nice and wrinkled
Place your pretty peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. This step is especially important if you chargrilled your peppers. The heat contained in a bowl by wrapping them will make it easier to peel the skin off.
While the peppers set for 10 minutes, turn your oven down to 375 and prepare your stuffing.
Mix together your beans (or other cooked protein), queso fresco, pepperjack, cilantro, onions and chili pepper (if desired). At this point you can taste the filling and decide if you want to add any extra spices (salt, pepper, cumin, garlic or onion powder).
Smash/mix them all together.
Your peppers should be steamed by now. Pull your first victim out and begin to pull the skin away from the pepper.
Slice the pepper open down the center and across the top. Be gentle, it’s the peppers first time.
Scoop the seeds out of the center, leaving some if you want to burn your dinner partner’s mouth (not that I did…).
Once you have defiled all 4 peppers, begin stuffing them. I divided my filling into four (scoring it in the bowl) and picked up the filling with my hand and formed it to fit into the pepper.
When you stuff the peppers, it’s easiest to place the filling in the middle and carefully fold the sides of the pepper over the filling.
Once all your peppers have been stuffed, assemble your breading station. Whisk your eggs in a bowl and pour the panko onto a shallow plate.
Dip each pepper in your egg wash and then cover in panko.
Finish your peppers and place on an oiled baking pan. I always cover mine with tin foil as well because I’m lazy when it comes to clean up.
Bake at 375 for 15 minutes, or until the insides start to creep out.
Enjoy with Sour Cream and Salsa.
The best thing about this dish is that it looks (and sounds) harder than it actually is.
BEHIND THE SCENES:
Ugly creepy pepper that I fed to Dan.
Why even bother asking her for help?