Monday, February 2, 2009

Chiles Rellenos

Okay Caryn, this one is for you! Chiles rellenos might just be the perfect food. I'm not talking about the limp, fried anahiem chile you sometimes find in burritos around Portland. These are dark, beautiful poblano peppers stuffed with melted cheese, fried in a fluffy light batter and practically smothered in a clove infused tomato sauce. Mmmm......

This recipe is complicated so I'm going to start with the sauce. I'll update with the cost totals tomorrow:

3 lbs Organic Roma Tomatoes $4.17 @ $1.39/lb at Safeway!
1 Organic Yellow Onion, diced $.66
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
6 whole black peppercorns
5 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 bayleaf

Preheat the oven to Broil. In a saucepan, saute your onion and garlic in a little olive oil. Line your washed tomatoes up on a broiling pan and roast them until the skins turn black and split like this:

When the tomatoes are cool enough, peel and seed the tomatoes, then add them to your onions and garlic. Lightly smoosh them with potato masher, then add the broth. Add the whole spices. I suppose you could put them in a little cheese cloth to make removal later easy...I just kept count and took them out at the end before I pureed the sauce because I like to exercise my brain that way. Turn the heat to low and let it simmer until you're done with the chiles.


6 Dark Green Poblano Peppers $1.99/lb (You want taught, shiny skin for your chiles. No wrinkled peppers, they aren't fresh)
4 Eggs
2 cups cheddar cheese cut into 2 inch skinny rectangles
Canola or Vegetable Oil for Frying
2 cups corn or wheat flour for dredging (I have to make a pitch for corn flour here. It gives it a much more interesting texture and taste than flour)

Preheat your oven to broil, again. Broil the chiles for about five minutes until the skin starts to blacken. Pull them out, turn them so another area is exposed. Broil again until blackened. Pull them out, rotate, etc. Until the skin all over the chile is blistering and black. The broiler MUST be hot when you do this or the chiles will cook but they won't roast, right? If you overcook your chiles, they'll be mushy. Mine were a little bit soft this time because I wandered off in the middle and let things get carried away.

In anycase, take them out when they look like this:

Now comes the sort of hard part.

Put the chiles in a plastic ziploc for about fifteen minutes. They'll steam themselves and the skins will separate. Gently take the chiles out and carefully peel the skin off. Don't worry if you can't get it all, just get what comes off easily. DON'T RUB YOUR EYES OR FACE at any point in this process.

Gingerly cut a slit down one side of the peeled chiles and remove the seeds and any membranes. The membranes are bright green threads that run down the inside of the chile. If you pull too hard, you can tear another hole in the pepper, so be careful. The seeds and membranes are where the chile's heat lives. Place a few pieces of cheese inside each chile. Set aside.

Heat your canola oil in a frying pan. You want the hot oil to be about a half inch deep. In a large bowl, whip the whole eggs (yolk and all) into a foam. You can test the oil by dropping a little dollop of egg foam in it. It should immediately puff up and brown. Prepare a plate with flour to dredge your chiles in.

Make some room on the counter by the stove for your chile assembly. You should have in this order: 1) Cheese Stuffed Chiles 2) Corn Flour Plate 3) Egg Foam 4)Hot sizzling oil 5) A Plate w/ Paper Towels or brown paper bag to absorb the excess oil from finished chiles.

Now, get ready to rumble.

Dredge the chile in the flour. Emmerse it in the egg foam. Pull it out, let the excess foam drip back in. Carefully plop the chile in the frying pan:

It will brown quickly, then flip it over or turn it to fry all the sides:

Let them rest:

Then smother them in your finished sauce:

Pour yourself a drink, take a bite and congratulate yourself on a job well done.


  1. YAY!! I cannot wait to try making these. Thanks!

    I think I'll have to wait till the weekend though, this looks like quite a project!

    Mmmm yum!

  2. Your dad was a little disappointed you forgot to save him some.:) Two things I have found make this process easier.
    1) Cut the cheese into square and then cut each piece into two triangles. These stuff much easier into the chile as they are the right shape.
    2) If you separate the eggs and beat the whites first, it is quicker. Add the yolks slowly after your whites are stiff.

  3. Ok this was HARD! They still turned out yummy, but the chile-roasting and steaming can't be interrupted by nursing babies or they get all mushy. And I couldn't figure out how to get the seeds out without losing the stems so dipping them was tricky.
    Next time I will be a pro. Or something.