This is the time of year that I start thinking about chili rellenos. Most people start thinking about turkey, stuffing, being stuffed by turkey and stuffing and football. But not me. I think about chili rellenos, because my mother had the world’s best chili relleno recipe.
It was so good that she always cooked chili rellenos for us on Thanksgiving instead of turkey, gravy and stuffing. Well, not always, but for the most part. She would save the turkey for Christmas.
Don’t think for a moment that we missed turkey at all. If you spend any time in the real world during this season, you will get plenty of turkey. In fact, that was one of the reasons my brothers and I preferred chilies. We didn’t want to drive all the way to Lufkin, Texas for more turkey. But chili rellenos? Absolutely worth the drive.
I miss those meals. I miss walking into the house and being hit with the wonderful aroma of chilis, beans and tortillas. I miss seeing my mother working so diligently to skin, batter, stuff and fry the poblanos. I miss her making the special tomato sauce she added that made them the best in the world. I miss her telling me which ones were hot, and which ones were not. I always wanted the hot ones. I miss sitting around the table with my brothers, knowing that we were being treated to a delicacy while the rest of the world was feasting on… turkey… again! I miss the leftovers that night and the next day. Just like everything else, the chilies were just as good the next day.
I can see her in her wheelchair, delicately laying the poblanos in the frying pan. I remember how she would separate the yokes from the egg whites to make the batter. I remember how she would pour in her special ingredient to make the sauce. I can remember waiting for that special moment to say the blessing and feast like kings. Those were truly special days. I miss my Mom doing all that. I miss the time with my brothers. I miss the feeling of being home again. Those were special times.
I know for many that Thanksgiving without turkey is tantamount to national heresy, but not for me. If I had my druthers, which I rarely do, I prefer my mother’s chili rellanos on Thanksgiving Day.