Monday, August 6, 2012

She's Nacho Mamma in the House!

Hey Party People! My girl Margo is here, and the potluck just got a little spicier! Check out this dish and get ready to SALSA, MERENGUE and do the CHA-CHA all at the same time!

Hola everyone! 

Margo from Nacho Mama's Blog here, back with another "South of the Border" Retro-Weight Watchers delight! Like Mimi, I am a long (no really, long) time WW member and a complete nerd when it comes to vintage Nidetchiana (I even have an autographed photo of Jean Nidetch hanging in my kitchen). So when Mimi threw down the gauntlet again this year, I just had to accept! I didn't want to put my hostess to the trouble of researching a recipe for me (ok, I admit it, I was terrified of what she might choose to top last year's "Marcy's Enchiladas") so I plunged the depths of my first edition copy of the original 1966 Weight Watchers Cookbook...

And found this:

After laughing til "Coffee Whip" came out of my nose, I knew I had found the perfect recipe! You know you've hit gold when the dish starts out with a glaring grammatical error. You see, I grew up eating "Chile Relleno" in my Mexican-American household. Chile Relleno is a dish we'd typically eat on Fridays, when my grandparents observed the Catholic tradition of abstaining from meat. What is "Chiles Rellenas"? I didn't know but I was dying to find out!

CHILES RELLENAS (Stuffed Peppers Mexican Style)
1 ounce hard cheese
3 roasted pimentos
1 egg, separated
1 tablespoon water
1 slice bread
1 cup tomato juice
1 clove garlic, slightly crushed
Dash of oregano or cayenne pepper 

Cut hard cheese into 3 strips . Wrap each strip in a roasted pimento. Secure with toothpick. Combine 1 egg yolk with water, fold in egg white, stiffly beaten. Add 1/2 cup bread crumbs (made from luncheon slice of bread, whizzed in blender). Dip pimentos into this fluffy batter and refrigerate so the batter sets. Heat tomato juice in skillet, add crushed clove of garlic and a dash of oregano or cayenne pepper if you prefer. As soon as juice is heated, transfer the cheese-stuffed pimentos to pan with a spoon. Any batter that dripped off the pimentos can be spooned in also. Cook about 10 minutes until cheese is melted, remove garlic and transfer sauce and pimentos to plate. Makes an excellent luncheon dish, can be made in double quantity and reheated.

Everybody done laughing yet? Ok, in the interest of full disclosure I must tell you that I "bent" the rules of this recipe (and the potluck) as far as I possibly could without breaking them-at least as far as the ingredients are concerned. First of all, unless you have a time machine I very seriously doubt that your will be able to locate roasted whole pimentos anywhere. So I used canned Mexican chiles that were prepared expressly for stuffing. Also, the WW cookbook is extremely vague about which "hard cheeses" are acceptable on the plan, so I went ahead and bought authentic Mexican hard cheese. And even though I had "luncheon slices of bread" on hand, I am trying to finish off this canister of bread crumbs, so I used that as well. In my defense-I made sure that all of the ingredients I used would have been available (at least to savvy Mexican-American shoppers) back in 1966. Now, let's get cooking!

The first part was easy. The Mexican cheese sliced up real good and slipped right into those chiles with no trouble at all!

Now the batter. This was also pretty easy (except for ignoring my husband's jokes about "stiffly beaten stuffed chiles"). I just followed all the directions and ended up with this:

Here's where my doubts started creeping in. They doubled in sized after I "dipped" the chiles in the batter. If by "dipped" you mean "tried like hell to make this gunk stick to the chiles then just ended up scooping it on top with a spoon", that is.

After lighting a vela (Mexican prayer candle) and popping these into the fidge for a spell, I got to work on the "sauce". Once my tomato juice, garlic and cayenne got bubbling, it started to smell pretty yummy in my kitchen-the candle was working! Maybe it wouldn't be so bad after all! I took the chiles out of the fridge and tenderly set them in the bubbling sauce. Welcome back, doubts!

Um, so...yeah. After it had been bubbling away for about 5 minutes, I realized that the batter on the top was not cooking at all. In other words, I'd be eating poached chiles topped with gloppy, soggy raw eggs and bread crumbs. Mmmmm...Salmonella-ey! I decided to carefully turn them over so the batter would be completely cooked all the way around. After another 5 minutes, I scooped the whole mess onto my plate. At this point my whole family became very curious about what I'd been cooking.

It looked even more disgusting in person, believe you me. And there was so much of it! My husband and I each dared the other to take the first bite. I lost. I cut into a chile, making sure to have a bite that included the chile, the cheese, the batter and the sauce. And?


Seriously, it was delicious! The batter was light and fluffy, the sauce was just spicy enough and the cheese had expanded in the poaching process so those chiles seemed to have twice the melty yumminess. I ate the WHOLE THING. Ok, I let my husband have one teensy bite and it was so good that he still won't talk to me for not letting him have any more.

The verdict: AWESOME.

I guesstimate this to be about 5 PointsPlus per HUMONGOUS serving on the contemporary WW plan. The 1966 Weight Watchers cookbook recommends "Chiles Rellenas" as the centerpiece for a "TEEN-SCENE LUNCH", served with toast (???) and an "Apple Shake" (1 serving of applesauce blended with 1 cup skim milk). I would recommend skipping the toast and the "shake" and serving this with some Skinnygirl Margaritas while listening to the soundtrack album from the film La Bamba!

Really folks, if you're gonna try one recipe from Mimi's potluck party? This has got to be the one. The only drawback was the truly inordinate number of dishes, pans and utensils that were dirtied for just one serving-so you might want to take Jean's advice and prepare a "double quantity" so you can stay on speaking terms with your spouse. I still have my doubts about how good this would be reheated, though...

Take that, Marcy's Enchiladas

Wishing you love with extra cheese-
Nacho Mama


Tamara Marlise said...

No... not a time machine... just Google....


The Student @ Food for Dissertating said...

I have a jar of Goya roasted whole pimentos in my pantry right now! I had plans for making some kind of pinwheel with them, with cream cheese. I may still, but you intrigue me with this.

Margo Porras said...

Hmmmm....I must have been looking in the wrong section of the supermarket! I could only ever find chopped pimento. In any case, if you're looking in the Hispanic Foods section I'd still go for the kind of chiles I used, they were muy tasty!

Shoes15 said...

This sounds good to me! I think those WW'ers from decades gone by deserve a lot of credit for creativity in the face of those crazy WW rules.

Sparkina said...

This dish sounds all kinds of divine. Too bad the only canned green chili peppers I can get in my grocery store are the chopped ones. Ya think a fresh jalapeno or poblano pepper might work? I would so make this dish

Margo Porras said...

I'm sure a fresh poblano would be yummy. I'd roast it a little first, then scoop out the veins and seeds. :-)

Sparkina said...

Thanks, margo. Of course I would roast and de-seed the pepper first, and remove the skin.