I've always loved chile relleno, but never with the thick fried batter coating. I always get that weird look from the waiter when I ask if I can have it without the batter. But, trust me, if you have a great pepper, you don't need to fry it. I've always loved the chile relleno at Matt's El Rancho because of the raisins and pecans, so we tried to recreate it here with some of the ground venison we had from my husband's last hunting trip.
We used Cubanelle peppers from Johnson's Backyard Garden that came in our CSA box, but any large pepper would do. We also made a version with the stuffing on rice for our little guy which he happily scooped up with Beanitos black bean chips.
This dinner is great served with sliced avocados, local Beanitos chips and a Texas salsa, like Hell on Red. There are some really great Austin made salsas out there, this one (made in Texas, but not Austin) is just a little nostalgic for me because we always had this growing up and I craved it (along with lots of lemonade) when I was pregnant like some pregnant women crave ice cream and pickles. Black beans and brown rice with a hint of lime, corn and cilantro would also be a great side.
Venison Chile Relleno with Black Bean Chips and Salsa
1 lb. ground venison, bison, beef, shredded chicken or black beans
2-3 green onions, sliced
1/3 cup pecans, chopped (we found Texas pecans near the apples at Central Market)
1-2 small carrots, diced, Johnson's Backyard Garden at Austin Farmers' Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays or CSA subscription)
handful of cherry or grape tomatoes, chopped, Johnson's Backyard Garden
1/3 cup golden raisins (in bulk at Wheatsville or Central Market)
2 cloves of garlic (green garlic is a Milagro Farms at Austin Farmers' Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays)
2-4 Cubanelle peppers (or other large variety), Johnson's Backyard Garden
1 Tbsp ground coriander
cheddar cheese, grated (or mozzarella (Full Quiver), goat cheese (Pure Luck) or queso fresco)
cilantro, Johnson's Backyard Garden
salt & pepper
olive oil, Texas Olive Ranch
1. Roast the peppers by placing them directly on the burner over medium heat (if you have a gas burner, if not, you may want to roast them in oven). Take them off the burner when the outside starts to turn black, put them in a small brown paper bag until the venison stuffing is complete.
2. In a cast iron skillet, add the olive oil and brown the venison along with the sliced onions, garlic, ground coriander and salt and pepper.
4. Take the peppers out of the brown bag, peel, then make a slit for stuffing and de-seed the pepper.
5. Preheat the oven for 350.
6. Add carrots, tomatoes, pecans and golden raisins to the venison mixture.
7. Stuff the peppers with the mixture and top with shredded cheese then put in the oven for 20 minutes.
8. Serve with black beans and rice or chips and salsa.