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While making classic Mexican Chiles Rellenos may seem intimidating, they are really pretty simple to make. A mild roasted/skinned chile, stuffed with cheese, dipped in an egg batter, fried, then covered with a simple tomato sauce. Sounds pretty easy. Right?
Peppers are doing great in the garden this year, so why not make some classic Mexican Chiles Rellenos?
Various types of chiles can be used to make chiles rellenos; I used a California or Anaheim chili, but you could also use a poblano or other mild chile. If you use jalapeños, then you are making a modified popper!
There are many ways to roast chilis. You can roast peppers under the broiler (my preferred method), on the stove top or even on your grill. If using the oven, place the peppers on a broiler rack, about 2 inches from the flame, and let the get blackened on one side, then turn, cook and continue until all sides are black. Stovetop cooking requires you to watch them a bit more; same with the grill, but the principle is the same, blacken, turn and continue. Once they have been roasted and left to sit and steam for about 15 minutes in an enclosed container (think paper bag or bowl with a covering); remove the skin and then make a slit from the top to about the middle of the pepper, removing the seeds. LEAVE the stem on!
And please – DO NOT take the skin off under running water, you will just be removing all the wonderful char flavor.
Flavor, that’s what we want, flavor!
There are three schools of thought on the egg batter in which the chile is dipped; the batter may be flat, fluffy, or extra fluffy. I’ve made the middle type, fluffy. It’s the easiest to manage and I like it best that way. But if you want a flatter batter, then don’t separate the eggs when you beat them. If you want a fluffier batter, then add I tablespoon of four for each egg in the recipe.
When doing research for classic Mexican chiles rellenos, I also found there were two ways of getting the batter around the chile.
Method 1: Place a spoonful of batter, about the size of the chile, into a pan of hot oil, place the chile on top then spoon more batter over, using the spoon to smooth the batter over the top and closing up the sides. Fry until golden brown on one side, turn and cook the other side until brown.
Method 2: Dip the chile into a bowl of flour; then gently roll into the batter until covered. Place in hot oil, slit side up and cook, turning once to brown both sides.
I used Method 2.
For my sauce, I used a chili tomato sauce that I had already made from fresh tomatoes and chilies; but a simple sauce, of onion, garlic, pureed tomatoes and a bit of chicken stock works. A recipe for that is below. Or just open a can of chile tomato sauce, sauce, such as Ro*tel . Heat and pour.
So good. And easy.
My photos suck, because, well, nobody wanted to wait for me to stage a great photo. But you can’t eat pictures. Well, maybe a little bit. Trust me though, these taste better than they look here!
Carefully slit each pepper lengthwise along the center about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way down, remove seeds and veins. Fill each pepper with several strips of cheese, roll in the flour and set aside.
Beat the egg yolks in a small bowl, stir in the baking powder. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks (best to use an electric mixer for this); gently fold in the egg yolk mixture.Pour oil into a frying pan to the depth of 1 inch; heat to 400 °F. Take a chile and roll it in the egg batter, gently lay, seam side up, in the hot oil to cook. Cook until brown, then gently turn, cook the other side. Drain briefly on paper towels to drain.
Lay the relleno into the sauce and simmer for just a few minutes (do not cook too long or the coating will separate and get very soggy); turn to coat. Place relleno on plate and spoon sauce over. Serve immediately. Top with optional ingredients, if desired.
LindySez: The last time I made these with some pepper jack cheese that gave it a little more oomph and a little more heat.
I, of course, try Chiles Rellenos in many restaurants. This is one that I had at a local Mexican place Mi Ranchito. They used the “flat” batter; not bad, but mine is better 🙂
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