Yes, you can make Chiles Rellenos at home. (Even if you have failed before.)
If by some chance you aren’t familiar with the mildly spicy Mexican dish, Wikipedia describes it as follows:
“The chile relleno is a dish of Mexican cuisine that originated in the city of Puebla. It consists of a stuffed, roasted, fresh poblano pepper sometimes substituted with non-traditional Hatch chile, Anaheim, pasilla or even jalapeño chili pepper. In current cuisine, it is typically stuffed with melted cheese, such as queso Chihuahua or queso Oaxaca or picadillo, meat made of diced pork, raisins and nuts, seasoned with canella; covered in an egg batter or simply corn masa flour and fried.Although it is often served in a tomato sauce, the sauces can vary.”
I don’t lay any claim to authenticity in this recipe, but limit my assertion to just one thing–I was successful when I made it. Twice even! To make things better yet, the recipe is amenable to preparing as a single serving, which means I can give myself a treat any time I want.
The impetus behind this attempt came from two things. First Rare Earth Farm, one of my CSAs, sent home a bagful of peppers, including a few Poblanos. Second, buried in fresh food at the moment, we had just instituted an outside-food-buying moratorium. That meant no more running out to Trader Joe’s for their frozen Chiles Rellenos. But now I can make them at home!
The secret to the ease of this recipe lies in the battering technique (which you will see in the directions/pictures). I had previous problems with batter not sticking to the peppers. With this clever innovation (out of Chow) the problem was solved. For my version, I used prepared salsa (which I can myself or buy in bulk) to make the dish even easier.
Mmmm. Now I just need to work on my husband’s fear of chiles!
Ingredients (per serving–multiply as needed)
- 1 medium poblano chile
- About 1/2 c shredded mild cheese (like Monterey Jack)
- 1 large egg
- Pinch of salt
- Oil for frying
- 1/3 c prepared salsa
- Remove stem end of chile, then insert knive through opening to remove seeds and ribs (Alternatively if you want to leave the stem attached, you can make a “T” shaped cut with the top of the “T” at the stem end of the pepper and remove the seeds and ribs through this cut).
- Place chile(s) on aluminum foil under broiler. Broil, turning occasionally with tongs, until the chile blackens and blisters on all sides. Watch carefully–peppers are flammable! Cover the chile and allow to steam until cool enough to handle. Gently peel/scrape away and discard the chile skin, being careful not to tear the flesh; set the chile aside.
- Stuff the chile with about 1/2 c of cheese again being careful not to tear it. Set aside.
- Beat the egg whites and salt on high speed until stiff peaks form. In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolk until frothy. Fold the beaten yolks into the beaten whites until just combined (do not deflate the egg whites); set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until hot. Drop about 1/2 cup of the batter into the oil and spread it to about the same size as the stuffed chile. Lay the chile on top of the mound of batter. Drop another 1/2 cup of batter on top of the chile, spreading it to cover the sides and encase the chile. Cook without disturbing until the bottom of the chile relleno is golden brown. Using a flat spatula and a fork, carefully flip the chile relleno over and cook until the other side is golden brown. If you are making more than one, transfer the chile relleno to the oven to keep warm and repeat with the remaining stuffed chiles.
- To serve, spread 1/3 cup of warm salsa on each plate and top with a chile relleno. Serve immediately.