Duck chiles rellenos

— Adapted from San Diego’s Karl Strauss Brewing Company for John Holl’s “The American Craft Beer Cookbook” (Storey, $19.95) 2 servings

Rellenos are stuffed peppers, and this recipe combines a multitude of flavors for those who enjoy spicy heat. Anaheim chiles are sometimes called California or Magdalena chiles and rank among the lowest on the heat scale. Chicken may be substituted for duck, but this dish gets a lot of additional flavor from the waterfowl. Use a bold red ale heavy on the caramel malts (such as the Karl Strauss Red Trolly Ale) for the cooking and pair the end result with a hoppy red ale.

For ancho chile sauce
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 dried ancho chiles
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup Karl Strauss Red Trolley Ale, or similar ale
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 cup crushed pineapple
1 banana, peeled and thinly sliced
Water, if needed

For filling
2 duck legs
½ cup Karl Strauss Red Trolley Ale, or similar ale
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup canola oil
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded (½ cup)
¼ cup sweet corn kernels, fresh or frozen and defrosted
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves
2 Anaheim chiles
Cotija cheese, for serving


1. Make the sauce: Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions and garlic, and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the chiles, sugar, cinnamon, salt, black pepper, chicken broth, beer and vinegar to the saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook until the chiles are soft, about 30 minutes.

2. Add the pineapple and banana, and cook the sauce for 10 minutes longer. Remove the sauce from the heat and let cool slightly. Transfer the sauce to a blender and purée until smooth. Strain the sauce through a medium-fine strainer, pushing the solids against the sides of the strainer until dry; discard the dry solids. Adjust the thickness of the sauce to that of thick cream with water if needed. Cover and set aside.

3. Make the filling: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Place the duck legs in a single layer in a baking dish. Add the beer, butter, oil, salt and black pepper, cover with aluminum foil and bake until the duck is tender and easily pulls away from the bone, about 90 minutes.

4. Remove the dish from the oven and remove the duck legs from the baking dish to cool. (Discard any fat in the baking dish.) Once cool, remove and discard the skin and bones, and shred the duck meat. Place the shredded duck meat in a medium bowl and gently mix in the cheese, corn, cilantro and ½ cup of the ancho chile sauce.

5. Assemble the chiles rellenos: Prepare a hot fire in a gas or charcoal grill or preheat the oven to broil. Roast the Anaheim chiles, turning occasionally, until the skins start to blister and char. Remove the chiles from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Peel the skin from the cooled chiles and rinse under cold water.

6. The chiles will be fragile at this point, so carefully cut a slit into one side of each chile and, if desired, gently remove its seeds with a spoon. Stuff the chiles with the shredded duck meat mixture, dividing it equally between the two chiles.

7. Place the stuffed chiles on a medium-hot oiled grill and cook for 1 minute. Once grill marks appear, turn the chiles over and cook on the other side until hot, about 2 minutes longer.

8. Rewarm the remaining ancho chile sauce on the stovetop or in a microwave. Place ½ cup of the sauce in the center of a serving plate. Place the rellenos atop the sauce, sprinkle with the cotija cheese and serve immediately.

Home Brewing

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