Inspired by Chiles Rellenos de Quelites in Savoring Mexico (Williams-Sonoma) by Marilyn Tausand.
Use whatever hearty greens you like best and mix 'em up: chard, spinach, mustard greens, or look for the greens that the original recipe included. Called "quelites" in Mexico, these "wild greens" vary according to the region, but what I was most familiar with is what in English is called red root spinach/ amaranth/pigweed. You can find it wild, or sometimes in Chinese markets.
Test Kitchen Notes
Mexican food is a favorite and while I enjoy chiles rellenos, I agree with ChefHef that the deep fried part doesn't always sit well. ChefHef's "fresh and pure" approach is delicious! The roasted poblanos pair beautifully with the charred, caramelized flavor of the tomato sauce. I a big fan of greens and love that ChefHef incorporated some here. I used rainbow chard from my CSA box for the filling and it went well with the crunchy sweetness of the pine nuts and raisins. I am inspired to try other filling combinations now, too (perhaps eggs and greens for a brunch?). Overall, a lovely dish! —BlueKaleRoad
- Serves 6
- The chiles
poblano chiles. Choose firm, shiny ones about 4" long
greens, such as spinach, chard, watercress, mustard greens or a mix
olive oil, or mild-flavored oil such as grape seed or avocado, divided
small onion, finely minced
(60g) raisins, preferably golden, roughly chopped
(60g) pine nuts
(250g) soft goat cheese log
- The sauce
(1kg) plum tomatoes, about 12 large or 16 small
small onion sliced into thick rings about 1/2 inch wide
good-sized cloves of garlic
of olive oil, or as above
Up to 1 tsp. sugar, if needed
Optional: sour cream or crème fraiche
- Roasting the chiles This is best done on a gas stove, if possible. Place the chiles directly on the burner grills over a med-high flame. (Use two burners with two to three chiles on each.) You will hear the skin blister and pop. Rotate just as it turns black—excessive charring will result in thin-walled chiles. If you have an electric stovetop, you can either use a skillet over high heat or place the chiles directly on the burner. (In this case, choose chiles that have a flatter profile. Some can be rather undulating and are difficult to char thoroughly on an electric burner or skillet.)
- Once the chiles are charred all over, place them in a bowl and cover with a tea towel to cool. The towel absorbs some of the steam so the chiles don’t get too wet. When the chiles are cool enough to handle, peel and gently scrape the charred skin off, using the back of a paring knife. If some of the skin did not get charred and wants to remain, don’t worry about it. Leave the stems intact. Make a slit about 2 inches long in the side of each chile, starting close to the top, and remove the seeds. (It can be helpful to carefully make a cut just at the top of the seeds and remove them as a unit—it’s a little less messy). If necessary, rinse very briefly under cold water to remove bits of skin and seeds.
- The stuffing: Stem and wash the greens. If using chard, reserve some of the more tender stems, chop into 1/4 inch pieces and set aside. If leaves are large, chop coarsely. Heat a large, deep skillet or wide saucepan, coat the bottom with about 1 tbsp. of olive oil and toss in the still-damp greens with a sprinkling of salt. Depending on the size of your pan, it may be necessary to do this in two batches. Toss frequently. When greens are wilted (about 3 minutes), remove from heat and drain off the excess liquid. Spinach, in particular, releases a lot of liquid, so use a mesh strainer and press on the greens to drain. Chop the greens down a little more.
- Add the remaining oil to the pan over medium heat. Add the minced onion. If using chard stems, add these now and sauté until the onion is translucent and the stems softened. It may help to add a couple of tablespoons of water to help soften the stems. When the water has evaporated, add the raisins, pine nuts and greens, and sauté these until the greens become quite dry (3 to 5 minutes).
- Taste goat cheese for saltiness and salt the greens accordingly.
- Transfer the greens to a bowl to cool. Crumble the goat cheese in with the cooled greens and combine. To portion the filling, pat the mixture down into the bowl so the surface is relatively flat and you can divide it into 6 “pie wedges.” Scoop out each portion, form into a log and stuff into each chile.
- The sauce: I use a comal (heavy steel or cast iron griddle) for the following step. If you don’t have one, you can use a large skillet. I recommend covering the skillet surface with a sheet of foil because the sugars from the tomato can really make a mess of your pan. The foil allows for easy clean-up.
- Heat skillet or griddle over high heat. Cut about 1/3 of the tomatoes in half lengthwise. Place the whole tomatoes, halved tomatoes, onion slices, and whole cloves of unpeeled garlic on the skillet. Turn each as it colors—the cut tomatoes will begin to caramelize on the cut side, and the whole ones will blister black in spots. The onions will turn a dark golden brown, and the skin of the garlic will brown. Transfer each to a bowl as it becomes soft.
- If desired, you may remove the core of the tomato, and if the skin is very black, remove some of that, too, but leave some for the flavor. Peel the garlic. Transfer all ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend to a slightly rough puree. Taste the sauce. If it is acidic or bitter, add the sugar.
- In a skillet large enough to accommodate the pureed sauce, heat 1 to 2 tbsp. oil over med-high heat. When the oil begins to glisten, pour in the sauce carefully—it may splatter a bit. Cook the sauce down for 3 to 5 minutes or until the liquid at the edges has evaporated. Salt to taste.
- To finish the dish: Preheat oven to 350° F. Place the stuffed chiles in an appropriate-sized baking dish that has been lightly oiled, and cover loosely with foil, matte side out. Warm in oven 12 to 15 minutes. Warm the tomato sauce separately.
- Puddle about 1/3-1/2 cup of sauce on each plate, and place the stuffed chile on top. If desired, drizzle with sour cream thinned with cream or milk, or , if you can get it, Mexican crema to serve.