Sunday, September 11, 2011

Chile Rellenos with Peach Pepper Jam, Edwin W. Beitzell's Baked Crab

Chile Rellenos with Peach Pepper Jam

I am going off script today.  Normally I don’t post on weekends because I know you are out having fun doing whatever you do on your weekends – if my guess is right, you take a peak at my posts while sitting at work and the boss is not looking.  No worries, your secret is safe with me.  I am also going off script because I am not discussing a wine pairing (don’t be alarmed, I have some recommendations), and the two photos of the chile rellnos with peach pepper jam is all you get.  My apologies.

As I write this, I am with Chef Sue at our secret lair on the shores of the Potomac River in Southern Maryland.  This is an important point because while sequestered at our secret lair, I am generally banished from the kitchen – this is Chef Sue’s cooking therapy retreat.  Although my attempts at securing some kitchen time are normally thwarted, I happily get to enjoy the fruits of Chef Sue’s cooking therapy.  This weekend was a real treat.

Poblanos on the Grill

Last night we joined several neighbors for a dinner where contributions to the feast were provided by all.  One of Chef Sue’s contributions was chile rellenos with peach pepper jam.  In a word, they were stunning!  I was so excited about this delectable treat, I was motivated to write about it immediately.  I found the chile rellenos so exciting because she prepared them in a traditional manner, but used her culinary creativity to add a delicious twist by stuffing the peppers with a shrimp and cream cheese mixture and preparing a perfectly balanced and seasonal peach pepper jam.

This dish is another perfect addition to your football food repertoire I started with my post Chile Verde Paired with 2009 Stoneleigh Marlborough Pinot Noir and 2010 Matua Valley Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.  As the football season progresses, I am confident the chile rellenos will be prominently displayed between me and the television.

Chef Sue did not prepare this dish as one of our normal wine pairings, but I will offer a couple of suggestions.  With the piquance of the peppers, sweetness of the peaches, and warm creaminess of the cream cheese and shrimp filling, a light to medium bodied wine with some sweetness and healthy acidity would be a good choice.  Depending on the characteristics of the specific wine choice, I would recommend a Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, or Chardonnay (unoaked, or light on the oak).

Although all of the food we shared last night was simply splendid, there was one other clear standout brought by good friend and neighbor Mary Leigh - Edwin W. Beitzell's Baked Crab.  I am a sucker for crab – any way you prepare it.  However, this recipe is a real winner.  It is light, delicate, and the crab is clearly center stage.  This is a recipe that lets the wonderful sweet goodness of crab meat do what it does best – make you happy!  Again, this was not a wine pairing, but I will offer a couple of thoughts.  As this is a wonderfully subtle dish, a delicate light bodied wine with flavors that do not overwhelm the crab is in order.  As always, a winemakers approach to the wine is all important, but I am confident you can find a Chenin Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Grigio, Muscat Blanc, Champagne, or even a light bodied Chardonnay that would add to the experience of this wonderful dish.


Chile Rellenos


  • 12 poblano peppers
  • 1 package of cream cheese
  • 1 small diced onion
  • 1/2 pound shrimp (small shrimp such as salad shrimp, or larger shrimp cut into 1/2 inch pieces)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 6 egg whites
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup al purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Safflower oil for frying


  1. Grill poblanos until the skin is lightly charred.
  2. Remove from grill, let cool, then peel skin.
  3. Slice down one side and remove seeds then rinse under water to fully clean.
  4. Sauté onions and shrimp in a skillet over medium heat.
  5. Add onions and shrimp to cream cheese with cayenne pepper and chill. This is most easily accomplished by leaving the cream cheese at room temperature for about an hour to let it soften.
  6. Stuff peppers and put in freezer for a minimum of 1/2 hour. Don't stack the peppers - they will stick together.
  7. Whip egg whites with salt until you have firm peaks, then add egg yolk and flower and continue to mix until fully incorporated.
  8. Dip peppers in the batter and fry in 350 degree oil until golden brown.

Peach Pepper Jam


  • 10 peaches
  • Juice of one freshly squeezed lime
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper


  1. Peel peaches and cut into bite size pieces then toss in the lemon juice.
  2. Clean and remove seeds from jalapeno and scotch bonnet pepper (gloves are a good idea), then dice.
  3. Combine all ingredients in a pot over medium heat.
  4. Add water as the mixture reduces while cooking for about 1 hour. Every 10 minutes or so, stir with a potato masher further incorporating the ingredients. In the end, reduce mixture until you have the consistency of a peach jam.
  5. Place in a serving bowl to allow your guests the opportunity to spoon on the level of sweet heat they prefer.

Edwin W. Beitzell's Baked Crab

This recipe provided Mary Leigh comes from the St. Mary's Academy's Treasured Recipes of Old St. Mary's, published in 1959, 1969, 1976.  I have not edited the recipe – it has some great character in the way it was originally published.  Mary Leigh was nice enough to add several comments (italics) for elaboration on her preparation.  Thanks Mary Leigh and Mr. Beitzell!

Take 1 Lb (2 cups) of jumbo lump back fin crab meat.

Make cream sauce:

1 Tbs. butter

1 Tbs. flour

3/4 cup fat free milk

3/4 cup half-and-half

Cook sauce until done and remove from fire. (that's the official recipe instructions, but it is important to get the sauce pretty thick because the onion and lemon juices thin the sauce a bit) Add juice of small onion (I grated less than 1/4 of a sweet onion and that seemed enough), juice of 1/2 a lemon, salt, dash of cayenne, 1 tsp. chopped parsley.

Very gently mix the cream sauce with crab meat. Add 2 well beaten eggs to crab mixture. (I did NOT add the eggs because the sauce was pretty thick and looked like it would be fine without the added thickener of eggs. Turned out I was right.)

Butter baking dishes. IMPORTANT: Use only crockery baking dishes. A Pyrex dish is not good.

Put crab mixture in the buttered baking dishes. Top with soft breadcrumbs made in the processor. Top bread with small bits of butter. Bake for about 15 minutes at 350 or until lightly browned on top and crab is hot.

(I doubled the recipe and that made enough to fill 12 crab shells or small ramekins)

In vino veritas, buen provecho.


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