Stuffed chilies are my favorite Mexican dish! Stuffed chilies, known as chiles rellenos in Spanish, are eaten in two ways: 1. In a tortilla like a taco or 2. On a plate bathed in a tomato sauce. I included in this recipe, instructions for making the sauce. If you decide to eat the chilies as a taco, there is no need to prepare the sauce. You can skip those steps. I highly recommend making some beans, whole or refried, to eat with the chilies if they are going to be eaten as a taco. I like to put the beans in the tortilla along with the chili. (As a confession or perhaps a tip, if you don't feel like making the beans, the canned refried beans are pretty delicious too.) —Herstory of Food
- Prep time 1 hour 30 minutes
- Cook time 1 hour
- Makes 4 chilies
panela cheese, sliced, or oaxaca cheese, shredded
plus 2 tablespoons flour
Neutral oil, like vegetable or canola, to a depth of 1-inch for frying
- Sauce, optional
1 1/2 tablespoons
Pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the chilies on a baking sheet and put in the oven. Cook until blackened and a blister has formed on the facedown side, about 25 minutes. Flip and cook until blackened and a blister has formed on the other side, about 15 minutes.
- Remove the chilies from the oven and place in an airtight container or bag. Let sit for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the sauce, if using. Place the tomatoes, onion, garlic, water, pepper, and salt in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth.
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a sauté pan over high heat until shimmering, about 30 seconds. Add the tomato sauce to the pan. Cook until bubbling gently, about 1 min. Reduce heat and continue to cook until the color has turned a bright red, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes.
- Remove the chilies from the airtight container or bag. Peel the outer skin off the chilies. (There is no problem if some skin still remains on the chilies. Aim for removing at least 80%.) Using a small knife, destem the chilies, cutting a circle around the base of the stem and removing it. Cut a slit from the top of each chili to about halfway down. Running the chilies under a gentle stream of water, remove the seeds and veins. (Wear gloves for this step to avoid a burning sensation on your hands later.)
- Place the cheese in equal quantities inside the chilies. Lay one edge of the slit over the other so there is an overlap of about half an inch. Close with toothpicks as if sewing.
- Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add ½ teaspoon of salt to the whites and beat until stiff peaks form, about 4 minutes. Whisk the yolks in a separate bowl and beat in two at a time until well incorporated. Lastly, beat in 2 tablespoons of flour. Spread the remaining cup of flour on a plate.
- Pour the oil in a large sauté pan until approximately 1-inch up the side. Heat the oil over high heat until shimmering, about 1 minute. (If this is your first time battering the chilies, set the oil to low or medium heat so that your oil does not heat too quickly. This will give you more time to batter the chiles. Increase the heat once you have placed the chilies in the oil.) To batter the chilies, roll each in the flour, shaking off any excess. Pick the chili up by the upper edge and dip into the egg batter to coat all sides, being careful not to get batter inside the open top of the chili. Pull out of the batter and lay into the hot oil.
- Fry until golden underneath, about 4 minutes. Slide one small metal spatula or fork underneath and another metal spatula or spoon on top to gently turn the chilies over. Fry until the other side is richly golden, another 3 to 4 minutes. Using the metal spatula, remove the chilies to drain on paper towels for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Serve immediately. If eating bathed in salsa, place the chili on a plate and pour the desired amount of salsa on top. If eating in a taco, heat the taco in a sauté pan on the stove. Slice the chilies in half, removing the toothpick, and place inside the tortilla. If eating either way, enjoy!