(Mexican stuffed, fried chile peppers)
In this sublime dish from the Mexican state of Puebla, chile peppers are roasted and peeled, then stuffed, dipped in a batter and fried. The result is full of flavor and interesting textures.
A cheese stuffing is probably the most well known for chiles rellenos, but meat fillings are also popular. During Lent, chiles rellenos are often served with vegetable or even tuna fillings.
4 to 6 servings
- Poblano chiles -- 8 to 10
- Monterey Jack cheese, grated - 1 pound
- Flour -- 1/4 cup
- Eggs, whites and yolks separated -- 5
- Oil for deep frying
- Preheat oven to 500°F. Place the chile peppers in one layer on a baking pan and set in the oven. Roast the peppers, turning them occasionally, until the skin is blistered on all sides and starting to turn black, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the chiles to a large bowl, cover with a lid or plastic wrap and set aside to cool.
- Carefully remove the skins from the peppers with your fingers. Cut a slit down the side of each pepper and carefully remove any seeds and white membrane. Leave the stems on. Rinse each pepper with water and pat dry.
- Stuff each pepper with some of the grated cheese. Place the flour on a plate and dredge each pepper in the flour to coat all over. Set the peppers aside.
- Beat the egg whites and a pinch of salt until they hold peaks. Add about 1 tablespoon of the flour used to dredge the peppers and slowly stir it into the beaten egg whites. Then slowly fold the beaten egg yolks into the whites until they are just mixed in.
- Heat your oil in a deep fryer or 1/2-inch deep in a skillet to about 375°F. Dip one pepper at a time into the egg batter, taking care not to spill out the filling. Lay the pepper into the oil and fry until browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn and brown on the other side. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate in a warm oven and repeat with the remaining peppers.
- Serve the chiles rellenos hot with a simple tomato sauce.
Chiles Rellenos Variations
- Chile Peppers: Other peppers can be used, although poblanos are classic. Try Anaheims, pasillas or even jalapeños.
- Cheese Filling: Mexicans would more typically use queso Oaxaca to stuff their peppers instead of Monterey Jack.
- Meat Filling: Picadillo, a spiced ground beef, is a favorite filling for chiles rellenos. Use the pino filling in this empanadas recipe.
- For a simpler coating, just dip the peppers in masa harina cornmeal instead of the flour and the egg batter. Fry immediately.