Poblano chillies are traditionally used for this Mexican dish but you can use banana chillies instead, which are easier to find in Australia. You can make the stuffing ahead of time – it will keep in an airtight container for up to three days in the fridge.
- 16 green banana chillies (see Note)
- 300 g buffalo mozzarella, cut into 1cm pieces
- vegetable oil, to deep-fry
- 6 eggs, separated
- plain flour, to coat
- 750 g boneless pork shoulder, cut into 4 cm pieces
- 2 onions, sliced
- 5 garlic cloves, 2 whole, 3 chopped
- 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
- 8 black peppercorns
- 5 cloves
- 1 cinnamon quill
- 35 g (¼ cup) raisins
- 2 tbsp slivered almonds
- 410 g can chopped tomatoes
- 810 g can chopped tomatoes
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 4 cloves
- 6 black peppercorns
- 2 cinnamon quills
- ¼ tsp dried thyme leaves
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Drink match Mexican lager, such as Dos Equis Ambar ($3.50; $15 for a sixpack).
To make picadillo stuffing, place pork, half the onions, 2 whole garlic cloves and 1.5 litres water in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour or until pork is tender. Strain over a bowl and reserve 500 ml (2 cups) cooking liquid. Remove and discard onion and garlic, and shred pork.
Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, add remaining onions and 3 chopped garlic cloves, and cook for 5 minutes or until browned. Add pork and the remaining ingredients, then cook for a further 15 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.
To make broth, process tomatoes, onion and garlic in a food processor until smooth. Transfer to a saucepan over medium heat and stir in peppercorns, cinnamon quills, thyme and reserved picadillo cooking liquid. Cook for 30 minutes or until sauce has reduced by one-quarter. Strain and discard solids. Set aside and keep warm.
Preheat a grill to high. Cook chillies under grill for 4 minutes each side or until skins blister and blacken. (Or, place each chilli directly over a gas flame and turn using tongs.) Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and stand for 10 minutes. Peel off skins and discard. Make a slit halfway down side of chillies (be careful as juices may still be hot) and remove and discard seeds. Carefully stuff 8 chillies with mozzarella, and 8 chillies with picadillo stuffing. Lightly pinch to close.
Fill a deep-fryer or large saucepan one-third full with vegetable oil and heat over medium heat to 180°C (or until a cube of bread turns golden in 10 seconds). Whisk egg whites to soft peaks, season, then fold through yolks until well combined. Gently coat chillies in flour, shaking off excess. Working with 2 chillies at a time, coat in egg mixture, then carefully lower, seam-side down, into oil and fry, turning halfway, for 6 minutes or until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Serve stuffed chillies in warm broth.
• Green and yellow banana chillies are not hot like poblano chillies. You can also substitute bullhorn capsicums.
Photography by John Laurie.
As seen in Feast magazine, December 2011, Issue 4. For more recipes and articles, pick up a copy of this month's Feast magazine or check out our great subscriptions offers here.