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Chayote & Corn Stuffed Chilies with Red Sauce
from Karen Mintzias - California, USA

Categories: Main dish, Vegan
Yield: 10 chilies

  • 10 large Fresh long green chilies
FILLING
  • 1 tbs Vegetable oil
  • 2 Garlic cloves; minced
  • 1/2 Onion; finely diced
  • 1 large Chayote squash; seeded, finely diced
  • 1 cup Corn kernels
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Ground red chili pepper
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbs Lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup Coarse breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbs Nutritional yeast (optional)
BATTER
  • 1 cup Cornmeal
  • 2/3 cup All-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp Salt
  • 1-1/4 cups Water
  • Vegetable oil; for frying
RED SAUCE
  • 1 cup Tomato sauce
  • 2 Garlic cloves
  • 1/2 Onion
  • 1-1/2 cups Water
  • 1 tbs Ground red chili pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Ground cumin
Roast chili peppers according to your favorite method.
(I don't have a gas stove or other type of open flame, so I heat the oven to the hottest temperature, then bake the peppers on a heavy-duty baking sheet, turning if necessary to char all sides.
The roasted peppers are placed in a bowl, covered, then allowed to steam a few minutes to help facilitate removal of the peels.)

Carefully remove peels from roasted peppers, leaving stems attached.
Remove seeds by cutting a slit along one side of each pepper and gently scraping and rinsing out seeds and attached membranes.
Pat dry and set aside.

FILLING:
In a heavy skillet, heat oil on medium-high.
Add garlic, onion and chayote; cook until onion is translucent and mixture begins to brown, stirring frequently.
Remove pan from heat and add corn, chili pepper, salt, black pepper, and lemon juice, stirring to combine well.
Gently mix in breadcrumbs and nutritional yeast.

On a flat surface, open up one pepper at a time and spread about 3 tablespoons of the filling mixture down the center of each.
Carefully roll sides of pepper around filling to enclose, pressing firmly to shape.
(Chilies may be prepared ahead of time to this point, covered, and refrigerated up to 24 hours.)

BATTER:
In a pie plate or shallow dish, stir together cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt.
Gradually mix in water to form a batter of medium consistency.

Heat 1-1/2 inches of oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Lightly roll each stuffed chili pepper in flour.
Carefully coat each pepper with batter, as evenly as possible, using stem to help drag chili through mixture, and a spoon to spread batter over top of chili if necessary.
Fry chilies in hot oil, two at a time, until lightly browned, turning once.
It should take about 3 to 4 minutes per side.
Remove and drain on absorbent paper.
(The temperature and freshness of the oil is important.
If conditions are right, each chili will absorb LESS than 1 tablespoon of oil.)

(If chilies must be prepared in advance, reheat just before serving by placing them on a baking sheet in a preheated 350 F. oven until hot and crisp.)

RED SAUCE:
In a food processor or blender, puree garlic and onion with tomato sauce.
Transfer to a saucepan and add water, ground red chili pepper, salt, cinnamon and cumin.
Cook sauce over medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent scorching.

TO SERVE:
Spoon a little sauce onto each plate, spreading it around in a spiral fashion with the back of the spoon to form a large circle.
Place a chili onto circle of sauce, drizzling a bit of additional sauce over top if desired, and garnish with a few slices of avocado and/or some finely minced cilantro leaves.
A black bean salad and slices of cooling fresh melon and/or tropical fruits would be nice accompaniments.

Copyright 1995 Karen Mintzias