Recipes are often just really good suggestions. Making changes because you either want to or have to for lack of an ingredient can lead to some amazing results. Sure, it can also lead to a culinary disaster – I think we’ve all had one or two of those. (Just last week I threw away a sad, dense, weird, half-baked loaf of bread…) But ultimately tweaking recipes is a great way to learn about cooking, especially if you’ve ever made a recipe exactly as instructed and then later made it your own way. You begin to see how specific ingredients affect the color, texture, and flavor of dishes. It has helped me learn to develop my own recipes and cook with more confidence.
My recipe for Blue Corn Crepe Chile Rellenos was created in just this way and then further adapted to be gluten-free. I started with a breakfast recipe for cornmeal crepes with berries, but since I live in New Mexico and love New Mexican green chile, my mind is always figuring out how to add chiles to just about anything. When I tasted the cornmeal crepe, I immediately thought of how well it could replace the eggy, breaded, fried mess that surrounds traditional chile rellenos. The crepes are mildly sweet and lightly egg flavored with the satisfying grain of the blue corn meal. They complement the spicy chile and tangy cheese perfectly. I used blue corn meal just because it is what I had on hand at the time. Then a dinner party with wheat-sensitive friends prompted me to make the change to gluten-free.
Crepes are so versatile, and so easy to make once you get the hang of them, that the possibilities are endless. So, follow my recipe and enjoy, or don’t follow it and see what evolves from your kitchen!
Gluten-Free Blue Corn Crepes
1 cup soy flour
1 cup blue cornmeal
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp salt
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups gluten-free almond milk
In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add the eggs to the dry ingredients and mix. Mixture will be lumpy. Add the milk a little at a time until batter is smooth. Cover and chill batter in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Heat a 8-9 inch non-stick skillet over medium heat. Allow the skillet to fully heat. Spray the skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Lift the skillet from the heat and hold in one hand. As you pour in ¼ cup batter, turn the skillet so that batter spreads and coats the bottom of the pan. Allow the top of the crepe to become almost dry and edges to brown lightly. Gently flip the crepe and cook for about a minute more. Repeat with remaining batter. This recipe makes a lot of crepes, so you can practice the twirling of the pan if you’ve never made crepes before and there will still be plenty for your meal. Any extras will keep for a few days in the fridge. Serve them with butter and jam or berries for breakfast.
If you’re using fresh Anaheim chiles, there are several ways to roast them:
- barbecue grill: place them over a medium fire, turning occasionally until skin is bubbly and blackened.
- Gas burner: hold chile over the flame of a gas burner using tongs or a fork and turning until skin is bubbly and blackened.
- Broiler: place chiles on a baking sheet beneath the oven broiler. Broil until skin is bubbly and blackened. Turn chiles over and broil other side.
Regardless of your roasting method, immediately place the roasted chiles in a brown paper bag and close the bag, or in a glass bowl covered with a damp towel and let them cool. The steam created by the cooling will help the chile skins remove easily.
Preheat oven to 350˚. Gently slice open one side of each chile. If you’re worried about them being too spicy, remove the bulk of the seeds (especially those at the top) and gently cut out the veins. Slice the cheese into enough slices to stuff all the chiles, reserving a little to shred and use as a garnish. Place cheese inside each chile and close the chile around it. I usually cut slices about 3 inches long by ¼ inch thick and place two pieces of cheese inside each chile. It will get melted, so do whatever will work best for you. Place each chile on a crepe and roll. Place crepes seam-side down in a 9×13 inch baking pan. Heat in the oven for about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Serve with rice, beans and salsa. I use a tangy tomatillo salsa that adds a nice amount of moisture and interesting flavor contrast. Garnish with toppings of your choice: shredded cheese, cilantro, fresh tomatoes, avocados