Chili Rellenos

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Chili Rellenos Sauce
Makes 2 cups

3 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
½ cup diced onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 large, ripe tomatoes, cored and roughly chopped
3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro (divided)
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
White pepper to taste

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium skillet and add the onion. Sauté over medium heat until onions are caramelized. Scrape the pan to remove the flavors left by carmelizing the onion.
2. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.
3. Transfer the onion/garlic mixture to the bowl of a food processor or blender and add the tomatoes. Purée until smooth.
4. Transfer the tomato mixture to the skillet, add the bay leaves and the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes or until the sauce is slightly thickened.
5. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add 2 tablespoons of the cilantro and discard the bay leaves.

Chili Rellenos
Salsa Brava Restaurant - Flagstaff
Serves 8

8 Anaheim chiles, fire roasted, peeled, and kept whole (canned are fine)
1 pound Jack cheese
½ cup flour plus 3 tablespoons
12 eggs, separated
1 tablespoon water
¼ teaspoon salt
½ to 1 cup canola oil (or as needed for frying)

1. Cut a slit in the side of each chile (take care to keep them in one piece). Remove the seeds and the membrane.
2. Cut the cheese into strips about 1 inch shorter than the chiles in length and ½ an inch in width and thickness. Place one piece of cheese inside of each chile and press the sides together gently to seal.
3. Place the ½ cup of flour in a shallow dish and dredge each chile, coating thoroughly. Place the chiles on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and chill in the refrigerator for an hour.
4. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff.
5. In a separate bowl, combine the egg yolks, water, 3 tablespoons of flour, and the salt. Stir until smooth.
6. Gently fold the beaten egg whites into the egg yolk mixture.
7. Heat oil in a deep fryer to 375 degrees F. Dip each chile into the egg batter and then place on a saucer. Carefully slide the chiles off of the saucer into the fryer. Fry each chile for about 4 minutes per side, until they are puffed and golden in color.