You have options with this recipe. First, chiles. My pick is the poblano, traditional and easily obtainable in most supermarkets. You can use a regular green bell pepper. As for the meat, I used dove because I wanted to make this dish a hat tip to the Desert Southwest, where we were hunting doves. But you can use any meat whatsoever.
1/4cupchopped,or slivered almonds, toasted pine nuts
3to 5 chilesserranos, jalapenos or other hot chiles
1 28to 32-ounce can tomato puree
2tablespoonslard or olive oil
6to 8 big poblano peppers
1/3poundcheese,either queso para frier or shredded Monterey jack or somesuch
1egg for every poblano,separated
Oil for frying
Make the filling first. Put the dove meat and the onions and garlic in a food processor and pulse it a few times, just to get a kinda-sorta rough grind. You could also chop everything by hand.
Put the meat, onions and garlic into a frying pan with the lard and brown them over medium-high heat for 5 minutes or so. Add the tomato puree, spices and salt and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes, then add the pine nuts and chopped dates. Cook until the filling becomes a cohesive mass, about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat.
Make the sauce. Buzz the chiles, onion and garlic in a blender, adding the sauce to combine. Heat the lard in a saute pan over medium-high heat until it's hot, then pour in the sauce. It will spatter, but stir it vigorously for a minute or two, then turn the heat down. Add salt to taste and turn the heat to its lowest setting.
Char the skins of the poblanos over a gas burner if you have one. This is the best method because it doesn't cook the peppers too much. If you don't have a gas range, use a grill or a broiler. When the skins are all blackened, put the peppers in a closed environment -- a bag, a bowl with a lid, etc. -- and let them sit for 20 minutes before wiping the skins off with your fingers. Try not to use water to do this, as it will rinse away some of the flavor of the chile.
Now make a slit in each chile from the top to about 1 inch from the bottom. Carefully remove the seeds (you may need a paring knife to cut the seed ball out) and flush the seeds out of the inside of the pepper with running water; yes, this saps some flavor, but it beats picking out every damn seed by hand.
To make the batter, beat the egg whites with the salt until they just begin to hold a peak. Beat in one egg yolk at a time, then add a tablespoon or two of flour. Set aside.
Get your oil going. You want it to reach 1 inch up the side of your pot, and you want it to hit 375°F. This will take a bit of time.
While the oil is heating, stuff your peppers. Lay some cheese into each pepper and then stuff the filling into them. Keep in mind you will need to reclose each pepper, so don't overfill.
Dust each pepper in the flour, then, when your oil is ready, coat with the batter. Lay a pepper or two in the hot oil seam side up. Fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Carefully turn and fry the seam side another 3 or 4 minutes. If you can't get all the peppers fried quickly, set the finished ones on paper towels in a baking sheet, and put the baking sheet in an oven set to "warm."
To finish, pour some sauce on everyone's plate and top with a relleno. Garnish with cilantro if you'd like.
Serve these by themselves or with Mexican rice, along with lots of cold beer.