Panes Rellenos

This week we are eating food from El Salvador. I don’t know much about El Salvador and what I do know isn’t very positive so, moving along…

In my Banh Mi post, I mentioned that the one person I could tolerate in my office was El Salvadorean. Kecia, in case you’re reading this, this was obviously before you started working with us. Once you started, I had two people I could tolerate. Her name was Nora and she was amazing! She was my age (yay!), had a dog like me (double yay!), and was Hispanic like me (ALL THE YAYS!). I really looked forward to the days we worked together and even though she later told me I annoyed her when we first met (I do that to people) we are still friends to this day.

Which is why I texted her when I decided to make El Salvadorean food this week. I searched online but couldn’t find a website that had a variety of recipes, which is what I prefer, and I also couldn’t find a really good list of foods. Everything I found said to eat pupusas and tamales. Um, I’m pretty sure the people in El Salvador eat more than pupusas and tamales, although if they don’t, I won’t judge them. Pupusas and tamales are the best!

Nora gave me a pretty good list and mentioned that her favorite was Panes Rellenos, literally stuffed breads. When I read the name of the dish, a very bloated, stuffed Melissa came to mind. It just sounded like it was going to be very heavy and would leave me incapacitated for a bit. I obviously couldn’t wait to make it.

I found the recipe on Food.com. Making the sandwich itself wasn’t very hard, it basically consisted of chopping veggies and meat and then boiling them. The hardest, most time consuming part was making the Relajo, the sauce that is poured over the sandwich. Roasting spices, boiling veggies, blending veggies, blending the spices, and then boiling everything together; man, my kitchen was a disaster. The recipe for the Relajo called for sesame seeds but I was out so I used poppy seeds. Because of this, my Relajo had a brown tint to it, when it should have been more red. My kitchen was a disaster but it smelled heavenly! The first part of preparing the chicken called for boiling it with cilantro, garlic, and chicken bouillon. I need that scent as an air freshener. Seriously, I’m going to look into it making some of these scents into air fresheners because I know many a homesick Latinos who would be down for that.

When I was putting the sandwiches together, I worried that I didn’t have any sides but I didn’t need to, it was MORE than enough food. It had everything *cue Stefan voice* protein, vegetables, bread, a really tasty, tangy sauce that made you want to grab a funnel and have your significant other pour it directly into your mouth while singing Ave Maria. Too far? Yeah, I do that sometimes…It was so.good. I wanted seconds but I knew I would regret making another sandwich so I just ate some extra chicken with the veggies and sauce. I gave the girls plain chicken sandwiches but the baby kept taking the relajo soaked green beans off both mine and James’ plates. I was worried they would be too spicy but she couldn’t stop eating them. The oldest one said they were green, therefore they were yuck.

Panes Rellenos made my Top Ten Favorite Meals so far. Yeah, it was THAT good.

P.S Nora, Kecia, I’m so glad we met and became friends. Y’all made those nine months in Houstons tolerable! Let’s get together again someday and drink to the memory of that horrible, disgusting, boss of ours (I refuse to say her name).

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