October 31, 2016
Chile Rellenos are considered a comfort food, which means there will be many slight variations in preparation and many preferences on “heat.” This recipe is perfect for those looking for a mild flavor with a traditional method of preparation. If you're looking for more heat you can puree a seeded jalapeno pepper into the sauce and/or Pepper Jack cheese. You can also speed up the cooking with the Fast Bake Method.
Traditional Fried Method:
Puree tomatoes. Place tomatoes, chicken broth and “optional” cumin, oregano and black pepper in sauce pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until reduced by about half, stir frequently to prevent scorching on the bottom of pan.
Place chiles on a baking sheet lined with foil (for easy cleanup). Place peppers 6-inches from oven broiler. Broil until skins blister and blacken, turning as needed (about 20 minutes). Place chiles in a plastic bag to sweat and loosen skins, about 20-30 minutes. (Alternate method, place pepper on the grate of a gas stove burner, turn peppers to blister and char all sides. Hot barbecue grill may also be used to char and blister peppers.)
Remove cooled chiles from plastic bag and carefully peel skins from peppers. It is helpful to use a butter knife to gently scrape skins from peppers. Cut a lengthwise slit in pepper and carefully remove seeds and membrane.
Cut cheese into sticks and stuff inside prepared peppers. Use toothpick to close slit in pepper.Separate egg whites from yolks. Beat egg whites in a glass or metal bowl until stiff peaks form. Whisk egg yolks, fold yolks into whites.
Dredge stuffed chiles in flour; dip in egg batter and completely coat. Gently place 1-2 battered chiles in hot oil and fry until golden brown on both sides. To help batter stay on chiles and hasten cooking, use a spoon to gently spoon oil over top of the cooking peppers. Place chiles in a warm oven to stay hot while frying remaining chiles. Serve with warm sauce, dollop of sour cream and a sprig of cilantro to garnish.
Fast Baked Method:
Baked method reduces calories by eliminating oil absorbed in the batter during frying. Prepare chiles as directed above OR substitute 27-oz can fire roasted whole chiles (4 cans, 7-oz ea). Prepare sauce as directed above or substitute canned enchilada sauce.
Preheat oven to 350. Open chiles and lay half the chiles in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Shred cheese and sprinkle over peppers. Place remaining opened peppers on top the cheese. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; whisk egg yolks and fold into whites. Spread egg mixture over chiles. Bake 20-25 minutes or until eggs are light golden brown. (NOTE: May sprinkle a little shredded cheddar cheese on top of eggs during baking to create a browner crust). Cut into squares, serve with warm sauce, garnished with dollop sour cream and a sprig of fresh cilantro.
Chile Rellenos are typically made using pablano peppers. Pablanos are a squatty dark green pepper. When they are ripened and dried they are called ancho peppers. In North American grocery stores pablano are often wrongly sold as pissalla peppers. Pisalla is a longer skinnier pepper that is dried. Once dried, ancho and pissalla look somewhat alike - perhaps that is why they are mistakenly labeled. Anaheim peppers may be substituted for the pablano.
*May substitute canned tomatoes or 4 cups peeled and crushed fresh tomatoes, add a clove of crushed garlic and ½ chopped onion; puree and cook as directed above. If less sauce is preferred, cut tomatoes to one 15-oz can and use one 15-oz can chicken broth. Simmer as directed above until reduced to half the volume.
Salt is not listed in the recipe and is optional, to taste, in the batter. Making the sauce with canned tomatoes and chicken broth creates enough salt to flavor the final dish. Add ½-teaspoon salt to egg yolks if using fresh tomatoes for sauce.