Updated: Jul 5, 2020
Chile Rellenos are a traditional Mexican Dish. Stuffed chiles, bathed in an egg batter, and deep-fried. Traditionally poblano chiles are used; peppers are roasted, peeled, and stuffed. I have taken to the New Mexican variance and love to use the New Mexican Hatch Chili (when available) or Anaheim Peppers, which are a little smaller and milder than Poblanos. This dish takes a little time and practice to execute, but is worth all the effort. I love to serve my Rellenos with a spicy ranchero sauce. This sauce uses a few different types of dried chiles and tomatoes, and is fantastic for huevos ranchero, chicken tacos, or enchiladas. The sauce freezes quite well, so make a large batch and have some delicious sauce waiting for you.
2 TBSP neutral oil
1 onion, chopped
1 Fresno or jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 dried Guajillo or New Mexican chiles, seeded and torn into pieces
1 Ancho chili, seeds and torn into pieces
2 TBSP Achiote paste (optional)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
28 oz fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
A handful of fresh cilantro, stems and leaves
For the Peppers
4 Anaheim or Hatch Chiles
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
8 oz shredded cheddar or Jack Cheese
¼ tsp chili powder
¼ tsp garlic powder
3 egg whites
1 TBSP all-purpose flour
Neutral oil for frying
Cilantro leaves for garnish
4 radishes, cut into wedges
Heat a large saucepan on medium-high heat. Add oil to the pan; when you tilt the pan and the oil flows from one side to the other, add the chopped onion, pepper, and garlic. Season with salt and saute until onion is tender and translucent about 8 minutes. Stir in the torn dried chiles, achiote paste, cumin, and oregano. Stir well to coat onion mixture then pour in the canned tomatoes. Season with salt; add in the cinnamon stick, bay leaves, and cilantro. Simmer on medium heat for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove the cinnamon stick and the bay leaves, carefully pour the sauce into a blender and blend until smooth. Taste to check the seasoning.
For the peppers
Slice off the stem of each of the peppers. Use a spoon to gently scrape out the seeds.
In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese and shredded cheddar with a few pinches of salt, chili and garlic powder. Combine mixture well then stuff into the cavity of each pepper. Use a butter knife or chopstick to help push the mixture to the bottom of the pepper.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. Add the flour then continue whisking until the egg whites are stiff and have a shiny sheen.
In a large skillet, heat about a ½-inch of oil. While the oil is heating, place a pepper in the egg white and roll to coat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, carefully set the pepper down in the oil. Repeat with remaining peppers. You do not want the peppers to touch while in the pan, so cook in batches if need be. Cook on medium-high heat. When the egg-white turns a rich brown color, rotate the pepper to cook another side. The egg white coating sometimes slips off during rotation. If so, use tongs to place it back onto the pepper. Brown all sides of the pepper, then remove from the pan and place on a towel-lined plate. Sprinkle with salt.
To serve, ladle some sauce into the base of a shallow bowl and place the chili on top. Garnish with cilantro leaves and radish.
Chef Liza Greifinger
Your Guide to Our Culinary Trip Around the World
Growing up in New York, surrounded by the flavors of the world, Liza developed a love for food and cooking. After a fulfilling career in outdoor education, she decided to explore her passion for food. Liza studied at The French Culinary Institute and then trained with some of the top chefs in New York City before being drawn to the mountains of Colorado. She joined the team at Food Lab, in Boulder, in the spring of 2016. There she teaches cooking skills and technique to all ages as well as curriculum development for the educational programs.