Healthy Latin Food: Chile Rellenos de Espinaca

Chile Rellenos de Espinaca: Chile rellenos are a Mexican comfort food classic. Unfortunately, all the things that make them so delicious -- melted, gooey cheese, the crispy, battered shell -- also make them loaded down in fat andcalories. In fact, the average chile rellenos recipe has more than 700 calories, 42 grams of fat, and 177 mg of cholesterol. Luckily, our friends at Rosa Mexicano have provided a waistline-friendly alternative using spinach and goat cheese and baking them instead of frying them, thus slashing the calorie count by almost 300 calories and dropping the cholesterol level by more than 100 milligrams. 

Makes 6 servings.

Ingredients: 

Seven 6-ounce bags baby spinach or 2 1Ž2 pounds loose baby spinach

1/4 cup mild olive oil

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup pine nuts 

Salt

2 cups ranchera sauce

6 large poblano chiles (about 1 1/4 lbs), roasted and prepared for stuffing

1/2 cup crema, crème fraiche or thinned sour cream

6-ounces plain goat cheese cut into 6-slices

1/4 cup coarsely chopped epazote or cilantro

Directions: 

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Stir in the spinach a bagful at a time and cook just until bright green, about one minute.  Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water until cool enough to handle.  Working in batches, squeeze as much water from the spinach as possible (be very serious about the squeezing!).  Coarsely chop the spinach.  There will be about 2 very tightly packed cups. 

2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the spinach, raisins, and pine nuts and cook, stirring to break up the cups of spinach until the raisins are puffy, the pine nuts are starting to toast and almost all the liquid has evaporated.  Season the spinach with salt, then pour in 1Ž4 cup water and cook until the water has evaporated.  (it may seem odd to add water after taking the time to cook off the liquid but there is a sound reason, the addition of water helps carry the salt evenly throughout the dense spinach mixture.) Remove from the heat and let cool.

3. Pour the sauce into an 11 by 9-inch baking dish or other baking dish that will hold the stuffed chiles snugly.  Divide the filling among the chiles, filling them loosely.  Put them opening side up in the baking dish.  Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake until heated through, about 25 minutes. 

4. Drizzle the crema over the chiles while they are still in the baking dish, then transfer them to serving plates, spooning some of thecream-enriched sauce over and around them. (it is not necessary to blend the cream completely with the ranchera sauce, in fact, the plates will look nicer with a streaky sauce.)  Top each chile with a round of goat cheese andsome chopped epazote and serve.

Recipe provided by Rosa Mexicano, NYC

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Miranda Noland, Senior Photo Editor, Digital

Miranda Noland is the Senior Photo Editor for Latina.com. She handles all the photo needs for the site and occasionally writes a thing or two. Growing up in a small town in Missouri, she collected (and hoarded) magazines and dreamed of working at one someday. She studied art and design at Drury University and moved to New York City after graduating. She loves being an aunt to her two nephews and has recently moved to be closer to them. She's a pop culture junkie who watches way too much television, and she still hoards magazines.