There’s a ‘hole in the wall’ Mexican restaurant around the corner from me that has all of 5 tables and is consistently packed and for very good reason. While not exactly authentic, it’s definitely tasty. Lucky for me, they also deliver. Mexicana Mama has been a long time favorite for their perfect guacamole which is always where I run to when someone’s popping round for a quick drink. When my friend Maria still lived in New York, we had a standing date for Mexicana Mama’s Taco de Puerco and a movie on my sofa. It took me a long time to even try something else on their menu – I’m not great with change.
It’s only recently that I discovered their delicious Chile Rellenos; poblano chile peppers roasted and stuffed with corn and covered in cheese. My new found confidence in the kitchen, thanks to the recent Linguine with Clams success, had me deconstructing my latest delivery and deciding to give it a try in honor of the upcoming Cinco de Mayo. And yet again, I have a new favorite dish! I served it with rice and beans but it could also be a wonderful side dish to Pulled Beef Tacos. It’s a great dish for a dinner party as it can be completely made ahead and finished off in the oven.
Serves 4 as a starter and 2 as a main
4 poblano peppers
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 medium red onion (finely diced)
1 jalapeño pepper (finely diced)
4 ears of corn
2 teaspoons of cumin
1 handful of chopped fresh cilantro
1 good squeeze of lime
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup of grated Monterey Jack
Chipotle Lime Crema:
3 tablespoons of sour cream
1 teaspoon of adobo sauce
1 good squeeze of lime juice
1. Place the poblanos on a cookie tray and broil for about 20 minutes until completely charred. You’ll need to keep turning them as each side is charred.
2. When done, carefully put the poblanos into a brown paper bag and fold down the top to keep the air in. Leave to cool. You can also put in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Be careful not to lift from the stalk as you want to keep them as intact as possible.
3. Preheat the oven to 350. Then, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil and gently fry the onion and jalapeño on low heat for about 5 minutes.
4. Cut the corn off the cobs and add to the skillet, turn up the heat and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes until ingredients are slightly browned.
5. Add the cumin, cilantro, lime juice and stir to mix. Season well with salt and pepper.
6. Remove the peppers onto a board and gently remove the skins – they should peel off easily.
7. Cut each pepper lengthwise making sure not to cut through the other side and then very carefully remove all the seeds with a spoon.
8. Transfer the peppers to an oven proof dish and fill each generously with the corn mixture.
9. Cover each poblano with 1/4 cup of grated cheese and either bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. The cheese should be bubbling when ready.
10. Serve immediately with chipotle lime crema.