Living in New Mexico generally means one will develop an absolute and addictive love for chile. Not chili, as in Texas style bean-based chili, but chile, New Mexico’s state vegetable, and pretty much its raison d’être. Eating grain-free, might mean that one will forego one of the best and most classic of New Mexican dishes, Chile Rellenos; cheese-stuffed, battered, breaded, and fried green chiles, smothered in green or red chile sauce.
In fact, that is still one dish I will eat when I go out to my favorite New Mexican restaurants, paleo-be-damned! Paired with a top-shelf margarita, there is nearly nothing better on earth. Especially with a side of fresh-made guacamole.
Chile season in New Mexico starts in late August and runs through the beginning of October.
During this time, chile roasters set up at grocery stores, empty parking lots, and farmers’ markets across the state. The smell of roasting chile is like heaven. There is almost no better scent that can grace the late summer and early fall air.
Chile season is ending in New Mexico, but the farmer’s markets are usually still flush with fresh late season chile varieties. I recently picked up a bag full of poblano chiles, which are perfect for rellenos given their robust size.
I decided to give a grain-free version a go, just to see if it held up. And hold up it did! The first batch I made with extra-sharp white cheddar cheese, onion, and garlic; and I used home-grown eggs and almond flour for the batter. The second batch was even better, as I had a small package of bacon ends to use up. So, if you want your taste buds to Tango, try this one out! Bacon, Cheddar Chile Rellenos! Here’s the recipe:
Bacon Cheddar Chile Rellenos
8 large Poblano Chiles
Roast the chiles on the grill or in the oven until outer skin is bubbled and chiles are soft. Once cooked, make a clean slice in one side of the pepper and pull out seeds gently, so as to not rip pepper.
2 loose cups grated extra sharp white cheddar cheese
1 small onion, chopped fine
4 to 6 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 lb bacon cooked, and chopped into teeny, tiny pieces
Whites from 4 eggs, whipped until peaks form and placed in a pie dish
2 cups almond flour
½ tsp. sea salt
¼ tsp fresh ground pepper
Heat olive oil or bacon grease (if there is enough) in a large skillet.
Gently add filling to each pepper and fold together, like sealing up a sleeping bag with a broken zipper.
Gently coat stuffed pepper in the egg white mixture, and then gently coat stuffed pepper with almond flour mixture. Place in heated skillet.
Cook peppers over medium heat, trying to turn only once, and until filling is bubbly and cooked.
Serve with red chile sauce, or green chile sauce, a side salad, fresh guacamole, or any other thing you could possibly think of that would go with the dish.