Chiles Rellenos, circa 1825, with Americana Specialist Rick Stattler

Serving suggestion, complements of Swann chef and Printed & Manuscript Americana specialist Rick Stattler.

We will be offering an early Mexican manuscript cookbook in our October 10, 2013 Printed & Manuscript Americana auction. We don’t know the author, we don’t know the date, but the watermark on the paper suggests that it might date from circa 1825­, a few years before the first published Mexican cookbook. Among the many distinctively Mexican recipes filling its 72 pages are “pipian de pepitas de melon,” “tortillas de chile verde,” and “chiles reyenos de picadillo.” We thought you might enjoy the recipe for chiles rellenos.

Page from lot 403, circa 1825 manuscript book of Mexican recipes, featuring the original recipe for Chiles Reyenos de Picadillo. Estimate $1,500 to $2,500.

Chiles reyenos de picadillo

Recipe in the original Spanish:

Se cojen los chiles poblanos se tuestan se pelan se desbenar se pica la carne ha coser echa huna bola y sal se ase el picadillo con gitomate todo picado y frito y se echa alli la carne picada se muele clabo canela cominos y asafran ha q’e ha erbido se le echa binagre y asucar perejil picado pasas almendras piñones jamon chilitos aseitunas y se reyenan y seler echan tantita harina por ensima y se frien con el huebo bien haliado se ase el caldillo con ajo en ebanaditas jitomate molido, el clabo canela ha q’e esta frito muy bien se le echa hagua s’el caldo de la carne ha que ha erbido bien se muele pan emojado y sele echa con asafran asucar binagre los tantos segun la cantidad que se aga rebanadas de man sana y de durasno se cuese en la caldyllo con los chiles. 

Here is our very loose translation into English:

1. Start with poblano chiles which have been roasted and peeled.

2. Cook chopped meat with salt, tomato, ground cinnamon, clove, cumin, and saffron

3. For the picadillo topping, boil vinegar and sugar, chopped parsley, raisins, almonds, pine nuts, ham, olives, and chilies.

4. Stuff the cooked meat mixture into the poblano peppers

5. Coat the stuffed peppers with flour and egg and fry them

6. Bake the fried stuffed peppers with tomato, ground garlic, clove, cinnamon, and meat broth, topped with bread crumbs

7. Pour the picadillo over the peppers later in the cooking

8. Add slices of apple and peach at the end.

We recently prepared a batch of 15 poblano chiles, following this recipe to the best of our ability. The recipe is quite labor-intensive, and required about three hours of work. The result bears no resemblance whatsoever to the cheese-filled fare you will find in a typical Mexican restaurant here in the states. The dominant flavors are sweet (raisins, sugar), aromatic (cinnamon, cumin, saffron, and cloves), and tangy, with a little bite from the chiles. It is quite tasty, even putting aside the novelty of eating two-hundred year-old chiles rellenos.

Yum! Thanks to Swann’s Printed & Manuscript Americana specialist Rick Stattler for this delectable post!