Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Lasagne alla Chiles Rellenos

Last month (yeah, I know) I found some Anaheim and poblano chiles at my local grocery and was SOOOO excited. I hope they are still out there; I don't see why not. Anyway, I bought a bunch and stuffed them, and they were so good I ran out and bought a bunch more. I was still in a chile 'n' cheese mood, but I thought I should do something a little different this time so I made them into lasagne. And then I didn't actually eat the lasagne, but put them into the freezer for future peppery goodness.

Lasagne alla Chiles Rellenos

Prepare the Vegetables:
4 Anaheim and 4 poblano chiles
1 large or 2 medium eggplants
2 or 3 tablespoons mild vegetable oil

Wash the chiles. Roast them over a stove element. This is best with a gas stove, but it can be done on an electric stove too. Alternatively, they can be roasted under the broiler. In either case, watch them carefully and turn them every 5 minutes or so in order to get them done everywhere. The skins should get quite charred all over. Once they are done, put them in a container that has a cover, cover them and leave them to cool. This may not take as much as an hour, but it is slower than you would expect so allow yourself lots of time.

When you are ready to proceed, peel off the skins. They should come right off fairly easily, and can be helped along by holding the chiles under cold running water as you peel. The peeled chiles should be softened, but not enough to be particularly fragile. You may wish to simply blanch the peppers, rather than charring them, but the charring will add a little depth to the flavour.

Trim and slice the eggplants fairly thinly. Fry them in the oil until lightly browned on both sides, and remove them to a plate to cool

Cut the cores from the chiles, removing the seeds and any tough inner membranes. Rinse them in cold water and drain well.

Assemble the Lasagne:
12 standard lasagne noodles
3 cups tomato sauce
500 grams ricotta cheese
250 grams mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons rubbed oregano

Put a large pot of salted water on to boil. Cook the lasagne noodles for HALF of the recommended time, and rinse in cold water and drain. Don't leave them sitting next to each other or they will stick together - spread them out.

Line a 9" x 13" lasagne pan with a little tomato sauce. Lay 4 of the lasagne noodles over the bottom of the pan to cover it, and cover them with a little more sauce. Break up and spread 1/3 of the ricotta cheese over the noodles. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of the oregano. Cut the peppers and eggplant into thin strips and spread 1/3 of them evenly over the cheese.

Repeat twice more, adding about 1/3 of the mozzarella to the middle layer. Finish with a final layer of noodles, and top with the last of the tomato sauce. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella over the top.

I haven't baked mine yet, so I'm not sure how long. Bake at 350°F. I'm guessing anywhere between 45 minutes and an hour and a half, depending on how cold it was when it went in. If you freeze it, be sure to thaw it thoroughly and get it up towards room temperature before you bake it, especially if you are using a glass pan.

Last year at this time I made Smoky Paprika Tomato Soup and Pumpkin Bread Pudding.

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