|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
Chiles rellenos (Spanish for stuffed peppers) are a classic recipe often found on Mexican restaurant menus. The filling usually consists of only cheese (making them ideal for vegetarians or people abstaining from meat during Lent, for example), but actually can be almost anything. You can stuff your peppers with shredded seasoned chicken, beef picadillo, or refried beans, for example; they will all be delicious.
The task of making chiles rellenos may seem a little daunting at first, as this dish is somewhat labor intensive, but none of the steps is particularly difficult. Allow yourself a little extra time for your first attempt; on the next occasion, you'll know what to expect and your chiles will come together more easily. The step of flouring the stuffed chilies is optional, but it can help greatly if you are having difficulty getting the egg batter to stick. Try to make one without this step at first.
- 2 pounds large roasted and peeled fresh green chiles (poblano or Anaheim work well), or canned whole green chiles
- 1 pound of sliced or shredded queso blanco, Mexican Manchego, or Chihuahua cheese
- Optional: 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 5 large eggs, chilled and separated into whites and yolks
- Pinch of salt
- Oil for frying (enough to reach a depth of 2 inches in your frying pan)
Roast the chiles on a hot grill or under a broiler on high heat. Use tongs to turn them occasionally, roasting until the skins are blackened and charred.
When the skin of the peppers is sufficiently charred and blistered, remove from the heat and let them cool to room temperature. Peel the skin from the cooled chiles, rinsing your fingers if they become sticky. (Do not rinse the peppers themselves, as you will be washing away most of their flavor.) Be careful to not tear the chile while peeling it.
Remove the seeds by making a small slice into the side of each chile, about 2 to 3 inches long, just big enough to get a spoon into. (Don’t hesitate to use an existing tear, if there is one!) Delicately insert the spoon into the pepper and scrape the seeds and the white membrane out, trying as hard as you can to not tear the flesh, as it can tear easily.
Place a slice of cheese into each pepper; work slowly, delicately, and without forcing. If the piece of cheese is too large, trim it down until it fits inside. Don't over-stuff the chile; make sure the open edges of the pepper still come together.
If you are going to coat the peppers in flour, place half of the flour on a large plate. Put a chile on the flour and sprinkle the rest of the flour on top. Rub your finger around on the surface of the pepper to make sure that it is completely coated, then dust off the remaining flour (peppers should only have a light coating of flour) and set chile aside. Repeat this procedure with each of the peppers.
To prepare the batter, whip the egg whites in a chilled bowl until they are stiff. Briefly beat the egg yolks and slowly and gently fold them into the beaten whites with the pinch of salt.
Heat the oil in a frying pan. Test it with a drop of batter before putting a whole chile in; if the drop sizzles and floats to the top, it's the right temperature. If it sinks, the oil is not ready; let it heat a little more.
Once the oil is hot enough, hold the chiles one at a time by the stem and support the bottom with your fingers or a spoon. Dip the stuffed pepper into the batter, then carefully place it into the hot oil to fry. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, turning it over halfway until batter is a crisp golden brown. Fry in batches if necessary; do not overcrowd the pan.
Remove the chiles from the oil and let them drain on paper towels until all the peppers have been fried.
Serve chiles rellenos immediately with white rice or Mexican rice, pot beans, or refried beans.