I was visiting my family in Southern Utah last week and while I was there, my step-mom sent me home with a TON of veggies from her garden, including some Anaheim peppers.
Typically I make a really easy version of a chile relleno by just making a small slit in the top of a fresh chile and then stuffing it with a cream cheese, shredded Mexican cheese, chicken and chile mixture. Then I wrap in in foil and throw in on the grill.
This version is more authentic. It’s more work, but really worth it.
These peppers are roasted, peeled and then stuffed with pepper jack cheese. Then I dredge them in a little flour and dip them in a very light batter. They are then fried and placed in a yummy Mexican tomato sauce.
So here goes.
Mexican Tomato Sauce
- 1 can (14.5 Ounce) whole tomatoes with juice, (break up when adding)
- 2 cans (14.5 Ounce) diced tomatoes
- 1 can (16 Ounce) red enchilada sauce
- 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ a yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 whole jalapeño, quartered and sliced thin
- 1 teaspoon Mexican leaf oregano, (crush with hands when adding)
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- A good hand full of cilantro roughly chopped
- Kosher salt to taste
- Fresh ground black pepper to taste
In a deep, skillet heat oil over medium heat, sauté onion, garlic and jalapeño until onions are transparent. Add the oregano, cumin, tomatoes, enchilada sauce and cilantro. Bring to a light boil then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
Taste and season with salt and pepper.
If you want a smooth sauce, you can puree it using an immersion stick blender or just a regular old blender.
If using the old school blender method, place the sauce back in the pot and keep covered over a low heat.
We will be adding the fried rellenos to the sauce pot.
- 6 to 12 Anaheim or poblano peppers, roasted, peel and seeds removed, if you like
- Pepper jack cheese, cut into 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick, long piece ( Try to keep them the same length as your pepper – Approximately 3″ to 4″ long)
- Flour for dredging
- Vegetable oil for frying
Char the flesh of the peppers over a gas flame, under a broiler or on a grill. Cook, turning frequently, until the skins are blistered all over. Take care not to overcook and burn right through the pepper. Put peppers in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let sweat for about 10 minutes to loosen the skins. Rub off as much skin as possible and cut a slit along the side of each pepper, keeping the stems and tip intact. Carefully remove the seeds and inner membranes, but do not rinse with water.
Stuff the cheese inside the chile. Take care to not mangle the chile too much. You want it to be as intact as possible.
You can use toothpicks to close the chile around the cheese if needed.
This is what they should look like when you are done roasting, peeling and stuffing them.
Place them in the fridge to chill out while you prepare the batter.
1 egg per chile (this is true if using a Poblano, but if you are using an Anaheim, you can half it)
2 tsp of flour for every 4 eggs
1 tsp of water for every 4 eggs
Putting It All Together
Heat 1-inch of vegetable oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat until very hot. Around 375 degrees.
Drain the excess oil off on paper towels and then place the cooked relleno into the sauce.
Repeat with the remaining chiles. You can cook several at a time, but do not overcrowd the pan as the oil temperature will drop, resulting in a soggy, oily crust…gross!
A couple of things I do that you can also do or not do.
I like to cut back on the Kosher salt and season with the granulated Mexican chicken broth by Knorr.
You have probably seen it a million times in the Hispanic section of your grocery.
This stuff rocks as a flavor enhancer, but be careful as it’s very salty.
I happened to have some leftover tomato juice in the fridge and I added a couple of “glugs” (real precise) to my tomato sauce because I wanted it more “saucy.”
If you don’t want it more “saucy,” don’t worry about it. If it’s too thick, you can thin it with chicken stock, wine, beer, water…. you get the point right?
Download the recipe here: Smothered Chile Rellenos