Lunchbreak: Poblano rings, prepared by author/chef Marcela Valladolid

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Chef Marcela Valladolid

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Poblano Rings

3 fresh poblano chiles
3 cups vegetable oil, or as needed, for frying
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, beaten
2 cups panko bread crumbs
3 Tablespoons ground dried guajillo chile or ground chipotle powder

Place the poblanos directly over a gas burner on medium-high heat. Using tongs, turn as needed so the chiles can char evenly. The chiles will turn black and look burned; this should not take more than 5 minutes because chiles can turn soft and release water if cooked for too long. Transfer the chiles to a resealable plastic bag and let steam for about 5 minutes. This will allow for easier peeling. Peel the charred skin off the chiles and slice into 1/4-inch rings, discarding the stem. Heat the vegetable oil in a large, heavy saucepan until a deep-fry thermometer inserted into the oil reaches 350F. (If you do not have a thermometer, test the oil with a piece of bread crumb, which should sizzle when it touches the oil.) Meanwhile, arrange three bowls in an assembly line: one of them with the all-purpose flour seasoned with about 1 teaspoon of salt, another one with the beaten eggs, and the third one with a mixture of the panko bread crumbs and ground guajillo. Carefully dredge the poblano rings in the flour, making sure not to break them. Shake off the excess flour and soak in the beaten egg. Then cover with the panko-guajillo mixture.  Fry in the hot oil until crisp and golden in color, about 2 minutes. Remove from the oil and set on paper towels to drain the excess oil. Season with salt while the rings are still warm.

Creamy Beer Shrimp Stuffed Poblano Chiles

4 to 6 fresh poblano chiles
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3 dried chiles de árbol
2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed, and quartered
1/2 cup dark lager beer
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup shredded Oaxaca cheese, or any other white melting cheese

Turn a gas burner to high. Char the poblano chiles directly on the burner, turning with tongs, until blackened all over. (Alternatively, roast in the oven under the broiler.) Place the chiles in a plastic bag and let steam for 10 minutes. Gently rub the chiles with paper towels to remove as much skin as possible. Using a paring knife, make a slit across the top of a chile just below the stem, leaving the stem intact. Starting from the middle of the slit, slice lengthwise down to the tip of the pepper (cut through only one layer). Open the chile like a book and pull out the seeds and inner membranes. You may need to use a paring knife to loosen the top of the seedpod. Repeat with the remaining chiles. Melt the butter in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and chiles de árbol and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring, until lightly pink, about 1 minute. Season with salt to taste. Stir in the beer and cook until lightly evaporated, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cream and bring the mixture to a simmer. Remove the shrimp from the sauce and cook the sauce until thickened, about 6 minutes more. Return the shrimp to the pan and add 1/2 cup of the cheese, stirring until the cheese is completely melted. Turn off the heat. Preheat the broiler to high. Fill each chile with about 1/4 cup of the creamy shrimp and transfer to a large glass baking dish. Divide the remaining 1/2 cup cheese among the chiles and broil until the cheese is melted and golden brown, about 6 minutes.

Copyright © 2017 by Marcela Valladolid. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.