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Awake at the Whisk: Chile Relleno Pizza Recipe

Monday, November 22, 2010


Chile Relleno Pizza Recipe

Chile Relleno Pizza Recipe
Who doesn’t love chile rellenos? Sweet, fragrant peppers with a tangy zip oozing with chewy melted cheese and drowning in rich, thick tomato sauce—chile rellenos comfort and delight. But, covered in crunchy fried beer batter, they also clog arteries. Unwilling to give up the flavors of this marvelous dish, I have invented the perfect solution: a whole wheat pizza that captures all the flavors of this dish in a heart-healthy manner. Prepare to indulge! Your mouth won’t know the difference.

Poblano peppers hit the farmers’ market in Sacramento two months ago, and with our pleasant weather, are still coming in strong. Patrick’s Garden is the only farmer selling them downtown. He sells a colorful array of flavor-bursting peppers—far better than any bell I’ve had. I buy several peppers at once and roast them in the oven, peel the skins, and then store them in a bit of olive oil in my fridge for a few weeks. I throw them into burritos, tacos, scrambled eggs—anything and everything. I devour these amazing peppers until the season runs out. And in particular, I eat lots of this chile relleno pizza.

Pour yourself a beer and prepare for an amazing mouth moment!

Chile Relleno Pizza
1 Whole Wheat Olive Oil Pizza Crust (recipe follows)
½ cup Zesty Red Sauce (recipe follows)
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
½ cup grated jack cheese
2 Roasted Pablano Peppers, torn in long strips (recipe follows)
1 red onion, sliced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 Tablespoon olive oil
My chile relleno pizza in a take out box after a pizza contest.

Farmers’ Market fare: jack cheese, pablano peppers, onion, oregano leaves, olive oil
Supermarket ingredients: parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.  

Bake Whole Wheat Olive Oil Pizza Crust in preheated oven for 6-8 minutes or until slightly golden. Remove from oven and add toppings, starting with Zesty Red Sauce. Next, add parmesan cheese followed by jack cheese. Now add the roasted peppers, then the onion. Finally, sprinkle with red pepper flakes and oregano.

Return pizza to oven for 8-10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and golden. Remove from oven and cool for about 5 minutes. Drizzle olive oil over pizza, cut into slices, and serve.

Whole Wheat Olive Oil Pizza Dough
Whole Wheat Olive Oil Pizza Dough
 Farmers’ Market fare: whole wheat flour, olive oil
Supermarket ingredients: yeast, sugar, salt

In a small dish, combine warm water, yeast, and sugar. Set aside for about 5 minutes until it foams. (If it doesn’t foam, dump it out and start again.) In a large mixing bowl, combine salt and 1 cup flour. Stir to combine. Add the yeast mixture and olive oil. Stir to combine.

Add more flour until you have an elastic dough that no longer sticks to your hands. Do not knead it yet! The glutens in whole wheat flour have to rest a moment before you knead. Instead, cover it with a moist towel for about 15 minutes.

After the dough has rested, knead on a floured surface for about 8 minutes. This dough will make one large pizza, two medium pizzas, or four individual pizzas. Divide your dough according to your needs. Then cover each in a separate bowl with a bit of olive oil to coat and prevent from sticking. Cover the bowl with a moist towel.

Let the dough rise for at least 1 hour or in the fridge overnight. Instead of punching the dough down, immediately roll it for your pizza. Place rolled dough on a pizza pan that has been greased and sprinkled with corn meal. Bake in preheated 500 degree oven for 6-8 minutes or until golden. At this stage you can either add toppings and continue to make your pizza, or freeze the cooked dough for later use.

Heirloom tomatoes make amazing Zesty Red Sauce
Zesty Red Sauce
·         2 cups oven roasted heirloom tomatoes or tomato sauce
·         1-2 Tablespoons tomato paste
·         1 Tablespoon onion powder
·         ½ Tablespoon dried oregano
·         1 teaspoon garlic powder
·         1 teaspoon chili powder
·         1 teaspoon cumin powder
·         ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
·         ¼ or ½ teaspoon super hot chili powder (cayenne or your favorite)—use less if you don’t like it hot, because it will be hot!
·         Salt to taste

Farmers’ Market fare: tomatoes, oregano
Supermarket ingredients: tomato paste, spices, salt

Pour all the ingredients into a food processor. Blend well. You can either use sauce immediately or store in fridge or freezer.

Best pablano peppers found at Patrick's Garden
Roasted Poblano Peppers

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare peppers. Dip your fingers in the olive oil and rub each pepper until the skin is lightly coated in oil. Lay them on a baking sheet and place in the oven for 10 minutes. Using a pair of tongs, flip each pepper over and return to the oven for another 10 minutes.

When the skins are slightly blackened on both sides, remove the peppers from the oven and place them in a metal bowl. Cover the bowl. (I use a plate). You want to trap the heat inside the bowl so that the peppers steam. This will make them easier to peel.

After about 10 minutes, working with one pepper at a time, remove the skins and discard. Your peeled peppers will last in the fridge, covered in a bit of olive oil, for a few weeks.

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