When it comes to Chiles Rellenos, every Mexican family has their own hand-crafted recipe. Peppers are a vegetable perfect for stuffing. A vehicle for delicious fillings in every style imaginable.

We had three big, beautiful poblanos in the fridge from the Mexican produce market in Racine; Rick Bayless had a recipe for chiles rellenos in his cookbook “Mexico: One Plate at a Time.” With an already cheese-heavy menu planned for the week, Dad and I suggested we try the meat-filled version: Pork Picadillo-Stuffed Chiles in Tomato Broth.

What makes these stuffed chiles so special? For starters, a golden soufflé batter. If you need more, the chiles are stuffed with a flavorful pork picadillo made from coarse ground pork, toasted almond slices, apple cider vinegar, slow cooked onion and tomato sauce, and plump raisins. The chiles then rest atop a homemade tomato broth, spiced up here with a dash of epazote, the leftover pork picadillo and a few cilantro leaves.

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It was putzy, time and labor-intensive, two-person mandatory and messy. It was also very, very worth it. The soufflé batter ‘crust’ and crunchy almonds the counterpoints to the bursting raisins and tender pepper. The tangy tomato broth bringing it all together. Pork picadillo-stuffed chiles in tomato broth are an unusual, but incredibly pleasant mingling of flavors, heat and texture.

A great meal with which to enjoy one of my favorite Malbecs – Viu Manent Secreto Malbec.

Next dish to tackle out of Rick’s cookbook: Molé Rojo Clàsico de Guajolote [Classic Red Molé with Turkey].

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