Picadillo Stuffed Chile Rellenos

February 27, 2017 – The inspiration to make Picadillo Stuffed Chile Rellenos popped into our heads while discussing a new Frida Kahlo exhibit at the Bower’s Museum in Santa Ana, CA (one we hope to get to next weekend). Some twenty-years ago, we picked up a cookbook featuring a collection of Frida Kahlo recipes, Frida’s Fiestas, put together by Diego Rivera’s daughter, and chock full of gorgeous photos and stories. We hadn’t made anything from the book for a while, so pulled it out, dusted it off, and planned to take it with us for the weekend at Two Crows.

Frida's Fiestas

BUT… in our rush to get the heck out of town, we somehow left the book behind in Orange. Argh.

Fine. Change of plan. We basically had our ideas, but needed a reference since we’d never made rellenos. We turned to one of our favorite food bloggers, Mely Martinez and her Mexico in My Kitchen blog.

Mely Martinez

There we found her picadillo stuffed chile relleno recipe, just the kind of thing we wanted to make–with a couple of modifications. Ever since dining at Barrio Cafe in Phoenix, I’ve been dreaming of the dish I had there: Chiles en Nogada A roasted poblano pepper filled with chicken, apple, pear, dried apricot and pecans, in a delicate almond cream sauce, finished with the colors of the flag: cilantro, queso fresco and pomegranate seeds.

Based on what we had on hand–since we were way too darn lazy to hit the grocery store–we came up with this version, including changes to fit into the ancestral way of eating we’ve been doing the last six months. To see Mely’s original post, along with great instructions, CLICK HERE.

Picadillo Stuffed Chile Rellenos

Considering I left my SLR behind with the book, these marginal iPhone pictures will have to do even though they totally don’t do justice to these epic…


Ingredients for the Picadillo

  • 2 Tablespoons lard, ghee, or fat of choice.
  • 2  finely diced golden beets
  • 1/2 Large onion finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 tsp of ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chile powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 handfuls of paleo dried cranberries
  • toasted pecans

Melt the fat, and saute’ the golden beets, onion and garlic until soft. Add the ground beef and spices, and cook until brown. Once cooked, toss in the cranberries. Save the pecans for assembly.

Prepare the Chiles

  • 6 Medium sized poblano peppers, roasted, peeled, and seeds removed
  • Sprinkling of buckwheat flour on a plate (which is gluten free, and not in the wheat family)
  • 4 eggs separated
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • About 1 cup of lard or ghee or more to fry the stuffed peppers.
–With a spoon, stuff the peppers with picadillo along with some toasted pecans, making sure the chiles will still close.
–In a large frying pan heat the oil. The oil should be about 3/4 inch deep.
–While the oil heats, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks and then stir in the yolks one-by-one while beating until you have a fluffy batter. Season with salt.
–Spread the buckwheat flour on a large plate and lightly coat the peppers. Shake off any excess of flour.
–Next, dip the stuffed chile into the beaten eggs, making sure to coat well.
–We cooked them one at a time. With practice, you could probably do more. Carefully place the pepper in the hot oil, fry each side until it gets a deep golden color. It will take a few minutes for each side. Amazingly, Brian was able to turn the peppers gently in the pan using a wide spatula and a big spoon without blowing them up. Once cooked, place the pepper on a paper towel to absorb the oil.

How We Served Them:

First we improvised a little sauce of:
  • Buckwheat flour
  • Meat drippings
  • Cream
  • chile powder
–Start with about a tablespoon of drippings and a 1/2 tablespoon of buckwheat and make a paste, then add cream and chile powder, stirring over medium heat, adding cream until desired consistency.
–On the plate, we placed the relleno, drizzled the sauce, and topped with more toasted pecans. And then we promptly devoured two peppers each within a matter of minutes.

Picadillo Stuffed Chile Rellenos

Notes for Next Time:

  • Move the whipped egg whites to a shallower dish before dipped. The deep bowl made it hard.
  • Make sure the oil is deep enough in the pan.

Until our next kitchen adventure…

Later Gators!

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