Chile Relleno – Beechwood Inn: We love the Santa Fe-New Mexico influence on the traditional cuisines of Mexico. Chile rellenos are a traditional dish made of roasted Chiles stuffed with Oaxaca cheese, dipped in an egg batter and fried until golden, then covered with a rich salsa
I grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico. My parents and I later moved to California but my sister married and stayed in New Mexico with her family all her life. Gayle I have consider New Mexico our second home with many visits there during our married life. We love the Santa Fe-New Mexico influence on the traditional cuisines of Mexico. Chile rellenos are a traditional dish made of roasted Chiles stuffed with Oaxaca cheese, dipped in an egg batter and fried until golden, then covered with a rich salsa roja (red). I’ll explain how easy it is to make this quintessential dish at home. A la cocina!
What Ingredients Do I Need to Make Chile Rellenos?
Chile Relleno – Beechwood Inn: Chile rellenos, which translates to “stuffed Chile,” is one of my favorite dishes. With ties to Puebla, Chile rellenos can be made with Poblano Chiles, Hatch Chiles, Anaheim, or Pasilla Chiles. While I think the Poblanos are the most authentic I prefer to use fresh Anaheims. Their long lean structure is more eye appealing on a a plate. Stuffing can include ground beef, pork, turkey, goat, or cheese. Stuffing can also include sweet ingredients such as raisins and nuts. Battered then fried, Chile rellenos can be topped with various sauces — salsa roja is the most traditional. But I always say “Christmas” which in any restaurant in New Mexico signifies half red sauce and half green.
Today, we’re making very simple chiles rellenos: poblano peppers stuffed with Oaxaca cheese and topped with salsa.
6 fresh poblano or Anaheim Chiles
8 ounces Oaxaca cheese, grated (also some goat cheese)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (you can substitute corn flower to make it GF)
3 large egg whites
3 large egg yolks
Vegetable oil, for frying
1 cup grated sharp cheddar
1 cup green salsa
1 cup red salsa
2 ounces fresh cilantro, chopped
INSTRUCTIONS – Chile Relleno – Beechwood Inn
- Broil the poblanos. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the broiler. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the poblanos on the baking sheet. Broil, turning with tongs occasionally, until all sides of poblanos are charred, about 2 minutes per side. Carefully put blistered Chiles in a bowl with a tight fitting lid and let them steam and cool for 15 minutes. The steam will help the charred skin easily peel off.
- When cool enough to handle, peel off the charred skin from each Chile and discard (I like to hold each Chile in my hand while removing the skin under cold running water, as the Chiles have softened and I want to avoid tearing them).
- Remove the core and seeds. Using a paring knife, cut a slit down almost the full length of each Chile. Use your hands to remove the seeds and core from each Chile, but be careful not to tear the Chiles. Dry with paper towels. Stuff the cheese into the Chiles. I often include some goat cheese as well as the Oaxaca cheese. Also, many recipes call for meat.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a large bowl with a handheld mixer, whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg yolks into the whipped egg whites; set the egg batter aside.
- Spread the flour on a large plate. Carefully roll each Chile in flour to coat evenly, shaking off the excess.
- Heat about 1 inch of vegetable oil in a large, high-sided skillet over medium-high heat to about 375ºF. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with paper towels. Carefully dip each Chile in the egg batter until coated, then place seam side-down in the skillet. Sear until golden-brown, about 2 minutes. Flip and sear until the second side is golden-brown, about 2 minutes more. Place on the paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain.
- Heat the salsa. While the poblanos are searing, heat the salsa in a saucepan or microwave until heated through.
- Spoon some of the salsa on the plate and place the Chile on top of the salsa and drizzle more over the top. Scatter some grated cheddar on top of each relleno (at this point I pop the plate under a hot broiler for 30 seconds to melt the cheese) and dust with cilantro. Then add a small dollop of sour cream. The rellenos would typically be served with rice and frijoles or charro beans (you buy these beans in a can but they are always better if made from scratch). I also serve on the table a bottle of high quality Chipotle pepper sauce (smoked) for those who want more heat.
- As for the salsa or mole, at most supermarkets you can choose from dozens of red and green salsas and canned moles. Some are good and some are not. But, if you make salsa or mole from scratch they will always be better. Here is one of my favorite salsa roja, Pasillas de Oaxaca Salsa. https://beechwoodinn.ws/pasillas-de-oaxaca-salsa/
Our favorite restaurant in Santa Fe: https://sazonsantafe.com/
It is owned by our friend Chef Fernando Olea, James Beard Award Nominee 2020 https://www.jamesbeard.org/blog/the-2020-james-beard-award-semifinalists