Chiles Rellenos

March  5, 2021
0 Ratings
Photo by David Castañeda
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 25 minutes
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

Chiles rellenos are peppers, usually poblanos, that are stuffed with a filling and then fried in an egg batter. The choice of fillings include meat, cheese, vegetables, tuna, shrimp, and mushrooms, just to mention a few. A very common filling is Picadillo, which is used in this recipe. Making this dish requires some time and skill in the kitchen, but it’s worth it. Serve with Arroz Blanco or Arroz Rojo.

Do not buy large poblano peppers for this recipe, especially if this is your first time making them. They will not be easy to handle when frying, and they also lack flavor compared to the smaller ones. If you can, buy organic peppers; they taste the best. You can prepare the picadillo specially for these chiles rellenos or you can use leftover picadillo. Store any leftovers in a plastic or glass container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. You can reheat them in a microwave for 2 minutes or in a conventional oven for 10 minutes at 350°F (175°C). You can reheat the sauce on the stove or in the microwave for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.

Excerpted with permission from The Mexican Home Kitchen: Traditional Home-Style Recipes That Capture the Flavors and Memories of Mexico by Mely Martínez (Rock Point 2020).Mely Martinez

What You'll Need
  • Sauce
  • 20 ounces (570 grams) plum tomatoes (about 4 tomatoes)
  • 1/4 whole plus 1/4 cup (30 grams) chopped medium white onion, divided
  • 2 small garlic cloves
  • 4 cups (1 quart) water, plus more if needed
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Peppers
  • 6 poblano peppers
  • 2 1/2 cups Picadillo (
  • 1 cup vegetable oil, plus more if needed, for frying the stuffed chiles
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup (100 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. To make the sauce: Place the tomatoes, 1/4 whole onion, and garlic in a large saucepan, and cover with water. Turn the heat to high, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the tomatoes are soft and the skins are peeling.
  2. Carefully place the cooked tomatoes, onion, and garlic in a blender, and blend until smooth. Only add a few tablespoons of water if the blender is having a hard time processing the ingredients.
  3. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat, then add the remaining chopped onion and cook for about 5 minutes, until it becomes transparent. Pour the sauce into the skillet using a strainer, then stir and season with the salt. Cook for 6 to 8 more minutes over very low heat. Set aside until you serve the chiles rellenos.
  4. To make the peppers: Roast the poblano peppers over an open flame of your stove over medium-high heat, turning for even roasting, 8 to 10 minutes. Place the roasted peppers in a plastic bag and close it, letting them steam for 5 minutes. Remove from the bag and scrape off the charred skin by rubbing your fingers on the surface of the peppers. Using a sharp knife, cut a slit along the length of the peppers and remove the seeds and veins.
  5. Stuff the peppers with the picadillo using a spoon. Do not overstuff them, or the filling can leak out of the pepper when frying it.
  6. Add the oil to a large skillet so that it is 3/4 inch (2 cm) deep and heat over medium-high heat. While the oil heats up, beat the egg whites with a hand mixer in a large bowl until they form stiff peaks. Gently stir in the egg yolks, one by one, while beating. Continue beating until you have a fluffy batter.
  7. Spread the flour on a large plate and lightly coat each pepper, shaking off any excess flour. Once all the peppers are coated with flour, dip them into the egg batter, making sure they are well coated.
  8. Carefully place each pepper into the hot oil. Do not overcrowd the skillet. Fry each side of the peppers until the batter turns a deep golden color. This will take a few minutes per side. Use a large spatula to gently turn over the peppers. Once they are fried, place them on a paper towel–lined dish or tray to drain the oil.
  9. To serve, spoon about 5 tablespoons (75 ml) of the tomato sauce on each plate and then place a chile relleno on top. Serve with the rice.

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2 Reviews

Darian April 4, 2021
These chiles rellenos were fantastic. Instead of the picadillo filling, I used a combination of goat cheese and shredded Monterey Jack for a vegetarian entree. Also I broiled the peppers in the oven rather than the stove-top method. I was pleasantly surprised with how little filling leaked out during frying - the airy egg batter really locks it in if applied thoroughly. The tomato sauce had a more complex flavor than I expected (in a good way). I served with black beans and rice.
Smaug March 5, 2021
Roasting peppers over a burner is often the only practical option for 1 or 2, but you get better results- especially for something like rellenos where you want them intact- with a larger flame farther away, such as a broiler or barbecue. I find it best to wrap them in a damp cloth afterwards- they cool faster, and the skin tends to come off in larger pieces, sometimes one piece. It should be noted that the batter fried, tomato sauced rellenos are by no means the only type; the term simply means stuffed peppers, and they're done many different ways with different peppers, even dried.
It's possible- nay probable- that someone has bred huge low flavored Poblanos, as they've done with Jalapenos, but for peppers from the same plant the larger ones have just as much flavor. I like them a lot when ripened to red (or purple in some varieties), but you never see them for sale- it takes them a long time to ripen on the plant.
Always glad to see someone writing from the viewpoint of a home cook, people have grown far too prone to try to imitate professional cooks, though theyre doing different things under different circumstancess to a different end.