Serves: Makes 6 servings
- 6 large poblano chiles, roasted
- 11⁄2 cups coarsely shredded cooked russet potato
- 1 cup grated or crumbled queso fresco cheese
- 1 cup grated medium Cheddar cheese
- ⅓ cup minced yellow or white onion
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ancho chile powder
- 3⁄4 teaspoon salt
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 eggs, separated
- 1⁄2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 cup finely chopped yellow or white onion
- 3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 1 can (141⁄2 ounces) stewed tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- For the sauce, heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for 3 to 5 minutes, until tender and aromatic. Stir in the tomatoes (with their liquid), cumin, and cardamom. Simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened, crushing any larger tomato pieces with the back of the spoon. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Make a small slit lengthwise down the side of each roasted chile and gently scrape out the seeds with a knife, taking care not to pierce the flesh. Toss together the potato, cheeses, minced onion, chile powder, and 1⁄4 teaspoon of the salt in a large bowl until well blended. Spoon the filling down the length of each chile, about 1⁄2 cup each, and slightly overlap the sides to fully enclose the filling; don't overstuff the chiles or they'll burst.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with paper towels.
- Pour about 2 inches of vegetable oil into a Dutch oven or other deep pot and heat over medium heat to 370°F. Combine the flour and pepper on a large plate and stir to mix. Roll the chiles in the flour, patting to remove excess, and set aside on a plate. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form, adding the remaining 1⁄2 teaspoon salt about halfway through. Beat the egg yolks in a small bowl and then fold them gently into the egg whites.
- When the oil is heated, roll the chiles in the flour, patting to remove the excess. Coat one of the chiles in the egg mixture and very gently slide into the hot oil. Repeat with another chile, cooking two at a time. Fry for about 1 minute until browned, then turn and brown the other side. (I use a flat spatula to gently roll each chile over; be careful not to break the skin of the chile as you do.) Carefully transfer the chiles to the baking sheet and repeat with the remaining chiles.
- When all 6 chiles have been fried, remove the paper towel from the baking sheet and bake the chiles in the oven for about 5 minutes, or until the cheese is fully melted. Reheat the sauce while the chiles are baking.
- Spoon the sauce onto warmed plates, top with the chiles rellenos, and serve with dollops of crème fraîche on top.