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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Grilled Chiles Rellenos with Chipotle Mango-Peach Mojo Shrimp Skewers

Grilled Chiles Rellenos with Chipotle Mango-Peach Mojo Shrimp

Grilled Chiles Rellenos with Chipotle Mango-Peach Mojo Shrimp
by Victoria Challancin

The Spanish term chile relleno often conjures up an image of a fat, battered-fried pre-roasted green poblano chile stuffed (mainly) with cheese and bathed in a tomato broth called caldillo de jitomate, or light tomato sauce.  Rightly so, as this is a popular and well-known dish beloved throughout Mexico.  But of course, chile relleno simply means "stuffed chile," no matter the type of chile itself (poblano, jalapeño, pasilla, ancho--fresh or dried, battered or not) stuffed with something (often cheese, but also chicken, meat, and seafood).  Obviously, given the number of varieties of chiles in Mexico, the options of combinations seem endless.

This version that I taught in a cooking class for Mexican cooks last week, is a lovely, modern twist on a classic recipe which I found in a favorite blog: Half Baked Harvest.  You begin by fire-roasting fresh poblano chiles over an open flame.  The chiles are sweated, peeled, and deseeded.  These are then stuffed with a good Mexican melting cheese and served with mojo-marinated shrimp over a lovely salad of grilled corn, tomatoes, mango, peach, cilantro, and more.

What is a Mojo, you ask?
Throughout the Caribbean and South American various marinades or salsas, called mojos are used to flavor chicken, meat, and seafood. Often these are made with some sort of citrus and are redolent with fresh herbs and garlic.  These can also be used to flavor vegetables, such as the starchy cassava tuber.  Glorious with seafood, these mojos also shine with meat, such as the bitter orange-garlic-olive oil mojo used to marinate the famous Cuban pork--a dish I grew up enjoying and loving in the South Florida of my youth.  These marinades, or salsas, give a tropical pop to anything they touch, so don't be afraid to separate this sauce from the recipe and try it in other dishes!

More Information of Mexican Cheeses:
If you would like more in-depth information on Mexican cheeses and how to use them, see my post on United Mexican Cheeses here.

The Mexican cooks were surprised and delighted with this version of a chile relleno.  And why not?  It had a fresh tropical tang to it, like a sprightly dance of fruit, rum, and sun on the tongue.  And the bit of left-over salad was perhaps even better the next day!

Cook's Notes:  Because I live in Mexico where so many chiles are available, I used the poblano chile called for in the recipe.  However, if you don't have fresh poblano chiles, you could easily substitute anaheim chiles, any large dried chile such as ancho, which is actually a dried poblano.  Other fresh or dried chiles could be used, even the zero-heat bell pepper would work fine.  The sprightly mojo could be used on tofu, chicken or pork, or any seafood, including scallops, squid, octopus, and fish.  As for cheeses, you simply need a not overly-strong melting cheese (cheddar or Monterey Jack) mixed with a bit of feta, if you don't have good Mexican cheeses available to you.  No peaches?  No problem.
Nectarines, plums, and even pears would mix in well here.  Use your imagination.  I can't imagine how you could go wrong--this is a wonderful recipe with lots of possibilities.

The Recipe:  Grilled Chiles Rellenos with Chipotle Mango-Peach (or Nectarine) Mojo Shrimp Skewers
(Recipe from Half Baked Harvest)
Serves 4

For the Shrimp:
1 cup fresh cilantro
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup mango juice
1/4 cup coconut rum (optional)
1-2 chipotle chile peppers in adobo (I used 2)
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic
pinch of salt and pepper
1 1/2 pounds raw shrimp, peeled + deveined

For the Peppers + Salad:
6 poblano peppers
4 ears corn, husked
2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
2 tablespoon lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced or grated
1 peach, chopped (nectarine would work as well)
1/2 cup mango, chopped
1 jalapeño chile, seeded + chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
8 ounces (or more) Mexican melting cheese  (Asadero, Manchego, Oaxacan--I used Asadero)
4 ounces cotija cheese, plus more for serving (you can substitute feta)

To make the shrimp, combine in a blender 1 cup cilantro, 1/4 cup lime juice, 1/4 cup mango juice, 1/4 cup coconut rum, chipotle chiles, 1 teaspoon fish sauce, 1/3 cup olive oil, 2 cloves garlic, pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. Add the shrimp to a gallon size ziplock bag and pour the marinade over the shrimp. Seal the bag and place it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile start the peppers and salad. Preheat the grill to medium high heat. Rub the poblano peppers and corn with a little olive oil. Place them on the grill. Grill the peppers and corn, covered, over medium heat about 10 minutes or until peppers are charred all over and the corn is lightly browned, turning the corn and peppers once or twice during cooking. Remove the peppers and corn from the grill and allow to cool.
Once the corn is cool, cut the kernels away from the cob and add to a large bowl. To the bowl add the tomatoes, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 3 tablespoons cilantro, 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1 clove garlic, peach and mango. Season with salt and pepper and toss well.

--> Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a medium skillet and set over medium heat. Add the the onion and jalapeño. Sauté until soft and almost caramelized, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from the heat. 

Parting Shot:  Hand-Blown Mexican Glass Heart Decoration

©Victoria Challancin.  All Rights Reserved.

Flavors of the Sun Cooking School
San Miguel de Allende, México


Eha said...

Vicki - this is and probably will be the most exciting recipe for the year from any blog! And I have already read and prepared a few good ones. Let's face it, Down Under we'll easily wax lyrical about our favourite Asian dishes but, to be honest, most of us don't know all that much about Mexican: especially innovative, modern, fun, memorable dishes such as this!! I'll try the prawns first: hmm - hope ordinary rum and a tad of coconut of some form will do . . . and then try it all together - can't get most of your chillies, but can do better than capsicums [bell peppers] . . . ooh, this does look moreish - thanks!!

laura ann loveland said...

Dear Vicki, well you have only surpassed your own amazing self with this Chile Relleno posting! When I saw the blog cover shot it almost brought tears to my eyes it was beautiful. It even caught my husband's eye and he has suggested I prepare your dish for our good Mexican friends who are currently cruising the coasts of South America. This will be the perfect dish to welcome them home! You continue to be my blog inspiration and I thank you mucho.

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

As much as I enjoy typical chili rellenos I like your lightened up version. Served with the shrimp and salad, it has to be a delicious meal.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I learned so much from this post Victoria! Thank you so much! :D I've eaten this dish a few times but I've never made them :)