Cheese-Grits Chiles Rellenos with Roasted Tomato Gravy
This chile pepper is often mislabeled ‘Pasilla’, which is a different pepper entirely.It is one of the most popular chiles in Mexico and has won the appreciation of many a chef worldwide because of the superior flavor it has over regular bell peppers.
They have a tough outer skin that usually requires roasting and peeling before use. These very large chile peppers are most popular in chiles rellenos recipes, but cooking with these as a substitute for bell peppers in any recipe will enhance the flavor.
1 large tomato or 4 plum tomatoes (about 3/4 lb)
6 medium fresh poblano peppers
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and quartered
2 large cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste
3 cups cooked cheddar cheese grits
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup coarsely grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
Adapted from Matt Lee and Ted Lee’s “The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook” For 6 people
Core the tomato with a sharp paring knife. Arrange the tomato, pepper, onion, and garlic in a 9-x-13-inch roasting pan, with the peppers gathered at one end. Brush all the vegetables with the olive oil, and sprinkle them with salt. Slide the pan under the broiler (about 3 inches from the flame or heating element), with the peppers nearest you. You’ll be turning them frequently as they roast. Turn the peppers every 3 minutes until their skins are blistered and blackened all over, about 9 minutes total. Transfer the peppers to a large bowl. Transfer the tomato, onion, and garlic to a medium bowl, and let them cool. Set aside the roasting pan.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
When the peppers are cool enough to handle, gently massage their skins to remove them and discard. Cut a 3-inch slit down the side of each pepper and gently spoon out the seeds and any whitish, fibrous veins. Fill each pepper with 1/2 cup cheese grits, and place in the roasting pan.
When the tomato, onion and garlic have cooled, remove the skins from the tomato and garlic. Process the tomato, onion and garlic in a blender or food processor, about 30 seconds. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the peppers.
Bake the peppers on the middle rack until the tomato sauce bubbles gently, about 15 minutes. Scatter the cheese on top, and place the pan under the broiler about 2 inches from the flame or heating element until the cheese has browned.