A good friend of ours has a mother who is by far the best and most creative cook I know. She is of Lebanese decent, was raised in Mexico and is Married to a Mexican, so her cooking influences are quite varied and interesting, usually combining the two cultures. When ever we visit their ranch in Atlacomulco, she has a weeks worth of food waiting for us to indulge upon.
The most brilliant dish she has ever prepared for us was an interesting take on the chile relleno. She politely refused to share the recipe with me, which I completely understood, as most of her delicacies are from closely guarded family recipes, generations old and to be handed down to the children. But she did kindly give me some general hints and then as I carefully ate the chiles I took mental notes of the other flavors she chose not to disclose. After eating the meal I then quietly and quickly ran up to the room to jot down notes of the meal (I’m obsessed, I can’t help it!)
For her sake, I can’t share the actual recipe, but I will share the general essence of the dish, as she did with I, and if you’re at all adventurous, you’ll probably be able to create your own perfect version of the dish within 1 or 2 attempts.
First off, the chiles to be stuffed are dried chipotle chiles, find the largest chiles you can, most of the markets only sell the smaller ones as people rarely use these for stuffing anymore. Sad but true as they are gems, bursting with flavor, the best chiles to stuff in my humble opinion.
To stuff the chile I pretty much follow Diana Kennedy’s stuffing recipe for Chile Rellenos. It’s divine, and very traditional, not to mention almost exactly what my friends’ mother used to stuff hers. Sweet and savory, make sure not to forget the acitron. Fry them capeados.
And finally the sauce. This is the essence of the dish, the key ingredients being chipotle, piloncillo (the darker the better) and crema.
Sorry for the 1/2 recipe, but usually with cooking there’s no need to be exacting anyways. Just be sure to taste everything along the way and if it tastes good, you’re prob on the right path.
buen provecho! write to let me know how it turns out