Mac and cheese chile rellenos

A chile relleno is normally stuffed with cheese, so why not add some mac in there, too?
cheese, macaroni and cheese, pasta, stuffed peppers, peppers
stuffed chilis The Food in my Beard blog
More traditional chile rellenos have an eggy batter that is almost reminiscent of eating a chile omelet. For this bastardized mac and cheese version, I did the standard American bar food breadcrumb crust and it matched perfectly. These chile rellenos have an amazing balance of crunch, spice, ooze and comfort!

2 slices bacon
1 clove garlic
¼ cup (35 g) pickled nacho jalapenos
1 tomato
1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cherry peppers, diced
½ pound (225 g) elbow macaroni
2 tablespoons (28 g) butter
1 ½ tablespoons (21 g) flour
1 ½ cups (355 ml) milk
½ teaspoon mustard powder
5 ounces (140 g) Cheddar cheese
5 ounces (140 g) Monterey Jack cheese
Vegetable oil

The Peppers:
8 poblano peppers
2 cups (240 g) flour
2 cups (230 g) breadcrumbs
3 eggs, beaten

Make the Mac and Cheese

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Chop the bacon into ½-inch (1.3-cm) squares. Mince the garlic. Roughly chop the jalapeños and tomatoes.

In a Dutch oven with just a splash of olive oil, cook the bacon until crispy, about 7 minutes, and remove it from the pot. Let drain on paper towels. In the remaining bacon fat, cook the onion and peppers for about 5 minutes, until they start to brown. While the veggies cook, be sure to continually scrape the bottom of the pot to keep the browned bits incorporated with the food and not stuck to the pot. This would be a good time to get your pasta cooking. Add the minced garlic and butter to the onions and peppers and cook for about 2 minutes, until the butter is melted. Mix in the flour and cook, stirring often, until the roux is slightly darkened in color, about 3 minutes. Pour in the milk, whisking until smooth, and bring to a light simmer. Remove from the heat and stir in the mustard powder. Strain the pasta and put it directly into the milk mixture. Slowly add the cheeses and stir well until melted. Add the tomatoes and jalapeños and stir. Cool the pasta down to at least room temperature before stuffing the peppers.

Prepare the Peppers

Turn your broiler to high heat and position the oven rack right below it. Lightly oil and salt the poblano peppers and place them on a sheet pan. Broil on all sides until the skin is lightly charred and blistered. Put the peppers into a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, set up your breading station by putting the flour, breadcrumbs and beaten eggs into 3 separate shallow bowls. Take the poblanos out of the bowl and gently peel them. Remove the tops and scrape the insides out with a fork.

Stuff It!

Stuff the peppers with the cooled pasta mixture. We want extra breading on the peppers to help hold them together, so we are going to do a triple layer. Start by coating the pepper in the flour and shaking the excess off. Then dip it into the egg and again let the excess drip off. Repeat these steps in the flour and the egg 2 more times. Finally, coat very well in the breadcrumbs.

Cook It

Shallow-fry the peppers in 1 inch (2.5 cm) of vegetable oil to brown on all sides.

More recipes in Dan Whalen's book, Stuffed: The Ultimate Comfort Food Cookbook: Taking Your Favorite Foods and Stuffing Them to Make New, Different and Delicious Meals