Traditional Chiles Rellenos

Friday, October 31st, 2014


INGREDIENTS

4 medium poblano chiles (about 1 pound)
Freshly ground black pepper
3 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (about 8 ounces)
4 large eggs, separated and at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup vegetable or canola oil

PREPARATION:

  1. Lay 1 chile on a work surface. Using a paring knife, cut down the middle of chile lengthwise from stem to tip. (be careful to slice only halfway through the chile) Make a second cut perpendicular to the first about a 1/2 inch from the stem, slicing only halfway through the chile (be careful not to cut off the stem end completely). Carefully open the flaps to expose the interior of the chile and, using the paring knife, carefully cut out and remove the core. Scrape the inside with a small spoon to remove the seeds, ribs, and any remaining core. Repeat with the remaining peppers.
    Turn your oven broiler to high and arrange a rack in the upper third of the oven. Place all of the chiles directly on the rack. Broil for 8 to 10 minutes, turning occasionally with tongs, until the chiles blacken and blister on all sides. The chiles will be soft, so be careful not to tear them while stuffing.
    Let the chiles cool enough to handle. Using a butter knife, scrape away and discard the chile skins, being careful not to tear the chiles; set the chiles aside.
  2. Season the inside and outside of the chiles with salt and pepper. Stuff each chile, being careful not to tear them, with a quarter of the cheese (about a heaping 2/3 cup) and close the flaps over the cheese; set the chiles aside.
    Whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl until lightened in color and frothy, about 2 minutes.
    Place the egg whites and salt in the clean dry bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 1 1/2 minutes. Remove the bowl from the mixer, add the beaten egg yolks, and fold with a rubber spatula until just combined (do not deflate the egg whites); set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until hot, about 4 minutes. Working with 1 chile at a time, drop 1/2 cup of the egg batter into the oil and use a rubber spatula to spread it to about the same size as the stuffed chile. Lay the chile seam-side down on top of the mound of batter. Drop another 1/2 cup of batter on top of the chile, spreading it with the rubber spatula to cover the sides and encase the chile. Cook without disturbing until the bottom of the chile relleno is golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully flip the chile relleno and cook until the other side is golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Place the chile relleno on a baking rack in a 250° oven to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining stuffed chiles.
    Usually served with red or green chile sauce or mole.

Helpful Hints: Separate the eggs while they’re still cold, which will make them easier to handle; then let them come to room temperature. Make sure there are no traces of yolk in the whites, or the whites will not whip properly. Coring and removing the seeds from the peppers is easier before roasting and keeps the peppers from tearing while stuffing in the cheese. Peppers can be roasted over a gas flame which keeps the peppers’ shape and texture intact during frying, but if you don’t have a gas stove, the broiler in your oven works great.

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