One cooking technique that I habitually avoid in my kitchen is deep frying. If you want to know the truth, the thought of hot oil over an open flame terrifies me. Frying in my house only happens maybe twice a year when I bring myself to woman-up to the task for serious antojos like tacos dorados, buñuelos, or my favorite: chiles rellenos capeados.
When I first began learning how to make chiles rellenos on my own, my mom would always get a call from me.
"How many eggs do I need?"
"Do I whip the yolk first, or the white first?"
"How do I keep them closed?"
"When do I coat the pepper in flour?"
It took years for me to get it right because of my fear of frying. I was determined to get it right though. There was no way my love for a good chile relleno was going to be abandoned for such a silly fear. Especially when I love to cook.
This baked version of a chile relleno is the answer to getting around the deep frying step. The pastry dough not only replaces the egg batter, but also cuts down on prep time.
Rinse and dry the poblano peppers. On medium heat, roast the peppers over a large flat griddle, turning with tongs until all the sides have blistered and turned black. Place peppers in a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap or tightly fitting lid and let them sweat for at least 10 minutes.
Gently peel off all the blackened skin. Using a paring knife, make a vertical slit on one side of the pepper from top to bottom without cutting the stem. Open and remove the seeds and membranes, being careful not to tear the pepper. Remove as much of the seed pod as possible without removing the outer stem. Rinse under a cold slow stream of water to remove any remaining seeds.
Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. Set oven to 425°F.
Fill each pepper with about 2 or 2 1/2 tablespoons mashed black beans and a little more than ¼ cup shredded cheese. You can use any type of refried or mashed beans for this recipe. The amount of filling needed for each pepper will depend on its size. Just be sure they can fully close. Close and place them on the lined baking sheet as you go along. When done, set them aside.
In a small bowl whisk the egg with 1 tablespoon water to make an egg wash. Set aside.
Unfold one puff pastry sheet over a lightly floured flat surface. Roll the dough into a 12-inch long rectangle. Cut the dough into strips. The short end should cover at least ¾ of the length of the pepper and should be long enough to wrap them completely. You should be able to get at least three strips out of one sheet. Using a fork, poke holes all over the strips of dough before wrapping the pepper. Seal the edges with egg wash, including the tip. Tuck the bottom tip of pastry underneath the pepper.
Brush the pastry with egg wash and bake for 25 minutes.
For the sauce:
In a medium sized pot, bring the tomatoes, onion, and dried oregano to a boil. Simmer on medium-low for 5-7 minutes. Turn off heat, let stand 10 more minutes.
Use a slotted spoon to transfer the tomatoes and onion to a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Taste and add salt to your liking. If the sauce is too thick, use some of the remaining water from the pot to thin it out.
TIP: These can be made a day in advance and kept in the fridge until ready to bake. Coat with egg wash just before baking.