12 to 16 fresh chilies (Anaheim, New Mexican green or poblano)
Canola oil for frying
For the batter:
2 C. all-purpose flour
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
8 oz. flat lager or pilsner beer (To make beer flat, pour into a bowl and stir until bubbles disappear, or open bottle/can the day before)
1 C. milk
1 T. vegetable oil
For the filling:
1 C. green pepper, finely diced
1 C. yellow onion, finely diced
1 C. button mushrooms, finely diced
2 T. butter
A splash of dry white wine
3 C. Monterey Jack cheese, grated
12 to 16 oz. cream cheese, cut into 1-ounce strips
To make the batter, mix together the flour, salt and pepper. Add the beer, milk and 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil, and stir until smooth. The batter should be the consistency of thick pancake batter (you should be able to pour it off a spoon, but not in a steady stream). If necessary, adjust consistency by adding a little milk or flour. Refrigerate for half an hour.
Preheat oven to broil, or set grill to medium-high heat.
To make the filling, saute the green pepper and onions with the butter in a large pan on medium-high burner; cook for about 4 minutes, stirring often, then add the mushrooms. Cook for an additional 4 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft but not brown. Remove pan from heat and let the vegetables cool. Add the Monterey Jack cheese and stir to combine.
To roast the chili peppers, heat them slowly on a grill or broil them in an oven, turning often to avoid burning. Continue roasting until all the skin is blistered, then place the peppers in a paper bag or a bowl covered with plastic wrap, and sweat them for 5 to 10 minutes. Using rubber gloves (important to protect your hands), peel off the skin from the chilies, leaving the stem on. Make a cut from top to bottom on one side of each chili, and remove the seeds.
Place 1-ounce strip of cream cheese into each chili, then stuff with the vegetable filling until full.
Pour ½ inch of canola oil into a large saute pan or wok, and place on high heat. One by one, dip the stuffed chilies into the batter, then lower them carefully into the hot oil. Fry them until crispy and golden-brown, turning periodically, about 4 to 8 minutes.
To serve, smother the chili rellenos with ranchero or green-chili sauce, or, if you prefer them crispy, eat them as is, unsmothered.
Makes 6 to 8 servings, with 2 chilies per plate.