Sausage & Cheese-Stuffed Poblano Casserole

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Just recently added this dish to my arsenal of excellent Mexican food recipes.  This one is easy to prepare and comes out really tasty and flavorful.  The recipe is easily halved if you want fewer servings, keeps well in the fridge, and leftovers can be frozen as well.  If you like Mexican food, especially casseroles, you will love this one!  As Rachel Ray would say, it is absolutely “yummo!”

Yield:Makes 8 servings
Total time:1 Hour, 15 Minutes

Ingredients
  • 8 poblano chiles
  • 3/4 pound fresh high-quality Mexican chorizo sausage
  • 1 cup crumbled cotija cheese (or Quesa Fresca)
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano leaves
  • 12 eggs
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup freshly shredded Monterey Jack (or Vermont Sharp Cheddar) cheese
Preparation

1. Preheat a gas grill on high heat. Roast the chiles on the grill, turning occasionally until the skin on all sides is blackened and blistered. (*Note – you can also roast the chiles under the broiler – rack should be about 4″ from the burner — but I much prefer them grilled)

2.  Put the chiles in a metal baking pan or glass casserole dish and cover with foil or plastic wrap. Let sit 15 minutes. Allowing them to steep for a few minutes makes removing the skins so much easier.

3. Peel  the skins from the chiles and discard. Using a small paring knife, carefully cut out the stem ends and discard, leaving a small hole in the end of the chile; You may remove the seeds, I find that using a long teaspoon works best. *(Or not – see my notes below).   Handle the chiles carefully so as not to split them open, as you will be putting the filling in them shortly.  Set the chiles aside on paper towels.

4. Next, cook the chorizo or chorizo/sausage mixture in a large frying pan, using a wooden spatula to stir occasionally to break up the meat, until cooked thoroughly, usually no more than about 5 minutes.

5. Preheat oven to 375°.  In a large glass bowl, combine the  chorizo, cotija, and oregano. When suitably mixed, and using a soup spoon or a serving spoon, stuff the  chorizo/cotija/oregano mixture into the chiles – about 2-3 spoons in each to fill them — and carefully place them in a greased or olive-oil sprayed 9 by 13-in. casserole dish.

6. In a large bowl, (you can used the same one you used for the cotija mixture)  whisk the eggs until they are thoroughly broken up and uniform in color and texture. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, and salt.

7.  Sprinkle chiles with 1/2 of the shredded cheese. Pour the beaten egg mixture over the chiles and sprinkle with the remainder of the shredded cheese.

8.  Bake for 30 minutes, or until top is lightly browned, and egg mixture is set but still soft.

My Notes:

1.  Use quality chorizo sausage, fresh if possible from a store similar to Whole Foods, Fresh Market, or perhaps a quality Mexican market.  I don’t recommend using the packaged stuff you usually find in most grocery stores.  (If you use grocery-store packaged chorizo, try using half chorizo & half of another good quality sausage)
2.  Although recipes often call for “seeding” chilies, my practice is to not seed them, as I like the extra flavor kick.  Poblanos are pretty mild on the Scoville Scale anyway, only about 1000-2000 units.  Compare a Jalapeno at around 2500-5000 units.  This of course is your choice.
3.  The original recipe that was my inspiration for this one, called for Cotija and Monterrey Jack cheeses; so the first time I made this recipe, that’s what I used.  In subsequent preparations, I used Queso Fresca cheese instead of Cotija, and also Vermont Sharp Cheddar instead of Jack cheese.  Either combination will do just fine.  Again this is your choice, and I think any cheese you choose would be okay. I prefer Vermont cheddar for its strong flavor and no food coloring.
4.  As I was cooking for two (just my wife and I), I cut the recipe in half.  It was just right, we got two meals out of it. If you do that, you will only need a 9X11″ baking dish.
bakedchiliesrellenos
This is what 1/2 of the recipe (4 servings) looks like

Buen Provecho!

(Enjoy your meal!)

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