tasty tuesday ~ chiles rellenos casserole

It was DELISH!!
My boys are big fans of Tex-Mex food. My honey is from Oklahoma and he loves anything with salsa verde or jalepenos. One of his favorites when we go out for Tex-Mex is Chiles Rellenos. Pablano Peppers stuffed with cheese dipped in batter and fried to perfection. They are an ooey gooey spicy delight. I will admit however, that I have not had the guts to try making them at home. 

In the September 2011 edition of Cook's Country Magazine I came across a recipe that promised me the best of both worlds. A casserole that I could manage with all the flavor components of Chiles Rellenos. I was hopeful that it would all come together and not be a soupy, goopy mess. I am happy to report it was fantastic!

The topping was crisp like the outside of the battered pepper. I was a little worried since whipped egg whites can be intimidating at times. The casserole had a light kick to it with the pablanos and Ro-tel tomatoes. It was quite good. My guys were so happy. They kept coming back for more. I have now added it to my regular meal rotation...it was DELISH! 
Celebrate the Feast!

the crispy topping mimics the batter dipped peppers...
Chiles Rellenos Casserole
adapted from Cook's Country Magazine, September 2011
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped fine
2 pounds 90% lean ground beef
4 pablano peppers, stemmed, seeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 (10 ounce) can Ro-Tel Tomatoes, drained
10 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded, 2 1/2 cups
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup skim milk
2 large egg whites
1.  Adjust oven rack to upper middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees.  Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering.  Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in beef, breaking up meat into small pieces, and cook until no longer pink, about 8 to 10 minutes.  Using slotted spoon, transfer meat mixture to paper-towel lined plate.  Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat from skillet.

2.  Add pablanos and cook over medium-high heat until browned, 8 to 10 minutes.  Stir in beef mixture, garlic, cumin, 3/4 teaspoon salt, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add tomatoes and cook until beef mixture is dry about 1 minute.  Off heat, stir in 2 cups of Monterey Jack cheese.  Scrape mixture into 13x9 baking dish, pressing into an even layer.

3.  Combine flour, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper in bowl.  Slowly whisk milk into flour mixture until smooth, set aside.  Using stand mixer fitted with whisk, whip egg whites on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute.  Increase speed to medium-high and whip until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes.  Whisk one-third whipped egg whites into batter, then gently fold in remaining whites, 1 scoop at a time, until combined.

4.  Pour batter over beef mixture.  Bake until topping is light golden and puffed, about 15 minutes.  Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese and bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes.  Let cool in wire rack about 10 minutes.  Serve.
Mary L. on Foodista