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Dinner Tonight! | QUICK FIX

Relleno With Confidence

November 15, 2000|MAYI BRADY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Trying to make one of your favorite dishes for the first time can be intimidating. Will it be as good as what you had at that restaurant? As good as your mother's? Good at all?

My friend Maria told me I could make great chiles rellenos because they're ridiculously easy. She gave me her recipe, then stood by watching as light, fluffy, not at all greasy chiles rellenos miraculously appeared. The secret is just following the recipe--and being confident.

Thanks, Maria.

Serve these with a simple rice side dish.

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Maria's Chiles Rellenos

Quick Mexican Rice

Maria's Chiles Rellenos

Active Work and Total Preparation Time: 20 minutes * Vegetarian

Canned Anaheim peppers come only in a large can; use leftovers diced and mixed in with scrambled eggs or added to an omelet with Jack or Cotija cheese.

1 (1-pound, 11-ounce) can roasted Anaheim peppers

1/2 pound Jack cheese

3 eggs

1 tablespoon flour

Salt, pepper

Oil for frying

1 cup bottled chipotle salsa

1 cup Mexican crema, plus more for serving

Cilantro sprigs, for garnish

* Remove 8 peppers from can and save rest for another use. Cut cheese into 3x1/2-inch strips. Carefully stuff each pepper with cheese, filling peppers as much as possible without tearing too much. (They will tear a little, but that's OK.) Set aside.

* Separate eggs. Place yolks in small bowl and beat lightly to break them up. Stir in flour and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

* Beat whites in bowl of electric mixer on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. Gently fold yolks into whites.

* Pour 1/4-inch oil into large skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Dip each pepper in eggs to coat evenly, then slide into oil. Cook until puffed and golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.

* While peppers are frying, combine salsa and crema in small saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until heated through, 4 to 5 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately with sauces and a little extra crema if desired.

4 servings. Each serving: 571 calories; 1,957 mg sodium; 275mg cholesterol; 51 grams fat; 8 grams carbohydrates; 22 grams protein; 0.05 gram fiber.

Quick Mexican Rice

Active Work Time: 5 minutes * Total Preparation Time: 25 minutes

1 cup bottled salsa

1 cup water

1 cup rice

* Combine salsa and water in medium saucepan. Bring to boil, add rice, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until rice is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.

4 servings. Each serving: 180 calories; 342 mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol; 2 grams fat; 39 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams protein; 0.14 gram fiber.

INGREDIENTS

SHOPPING LIST

1 can roasted Anaheim peppers

1/2 pound Jack cheese

Chipotle salsa

Mexican crema

STAPLES

Cilantro

Eggs

Flour

Oil

Rice

GAME PLAN

25 minutes before: Combine water and salsa and start rice.

20 minutes before: Stuff peppers with cheese.

15 minutes before: Beat egg whites.

10 minutes before: Fry peppers.

5 minutes before: Finish making sauce.

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