Last night I made Chiles Relleno – my version of course. For those of you who don’t know, the word relleno means stuffed. So any chile pepper stuffed with any ingredient is a chile relleno. Those poppers everyone love – yep chiles relleno. Your filling is limited by your imagination and what’s available in your refrigerator and pantry. During the summer I often add fresh corn to this recipe and reduce the amount of chicken. It’s all about your personal preference. Yesterday I made the chicken and cheese filling.When you mention Chile Relleno to alot of people they think of a pepper stuffed with cheese and deep fried – then covered with red or green chile sauce. It seems to me if you’re going to cover fried food in liquid why fry it. Who wants soggy breading? Not me. Which is why my chile relleno recipe does not include frying. Not only does it eliminate the soggy aspect but it is lower in calories. And I swear they are just as good! So here goes.
Chiles Relleno 2 servings
- 2 good size poblano chiles – pick ones that don’t have deep creases
- 2 skin on chicken thighs
- 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
- 1/2 tsp chipotle chile powder, divided
- 1 tbl grape seed oil (or any vegetable oil)
- Red Chile sauce recipe below
Charring the Peppers
You begin by charring the poblano peppers. This can be done over an open flame on the range or outside on the grill. I use a roasting grate that I bought just for this purpose from the Santa Fe School of Cooking. You can order one for yourself off their website. It’s great for roasting all sorts of vegetables.
The grate sits on top of the gas burner on my range. You need to watch the peppers carefully as they char quickly. You want them charred on the outside but not cooked. DO NOT OIL THE ROASTER, if using, or the chiles. A word of caution about these types of roasters, hey will get hot enough to glow red. Be careful around them until they have cooled!
When the chiles are charred on all sides, remove them to a bowl and cover the bowl with plastic. The steam will loosen the skin making it easier to remove. I usually let my chiles sit in a covered bowl for about 30 minutes. I have found the best way to peel the skin from the chiles is to use a spoon. Hold the chile with one hand while carefully scraping the chile with the spoon. The skin comes off without tearing the chile.
You can see by this picture that removing the charred skin reveals a beautiful green poblano ready to stuff. Set the cleaned peppers aside while you make the filling.
Cooking the Chicken
Loosen the skin from the chicken thigh and run 1/4 tsp of chipotle chile powder between the skin and the thigh meat.
Heat the oil in a skillet and place the chicken, skin side down, in the hot oil. Cook with the skin side down until the pieces release from the pan. Then cook skin side up for another 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pan and let sit until cool enough to handle. Pull the chicken off the bone and shred with a fork. Place the shredded chicken in a bowl with the shredded cheese. Mix well.
Cut a slit in one side of the pepper from the stem end almost all the way to the tip. Make a cut across the slit at teh very top of the pepper parallel to the stem. Gently open the pepper – you don’t want it to tear – and carefully remove the seeds and membranes. Wipe out the inside of the pepper to remove any seeds. Do not rinse the pepper to remove the seeds as you will remove some of the oils in the pepper. Carefully stuff the pepper and secure with a toothpick. Place the peppers on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil coated with PAM.
Bake the peppers in a preheated 350 degree F. oven for 45 minutes or until heated all the way through. Remove from the oven and serve immediately. Pass red or green chile sauce and sour cream or creama on the side. If you don’t want to make chile sauce you can substitute any salsa – just bring it to room temperature before serving.
Red Chile Sauce
- 3 dried red hatch or similar chiles
- 4 large garlic cloves
- 1/2 medium onion, diced
- 1 tbl grapeseed oil
- salt and pepper to taste
Remove the tops from the dried chiles and shake out as many seeds as possible. Place the chiles in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Place a smaller bowl over the chiles to keep them submerged. They need to stay in the water until they have softened – at least 30 to 45 minutes.
While the chiles are soaking, mince the onion and the garlic. Heat the oil in a small skillet over low heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until softened but not browned. Remove from the pan and set aside. Remove the softened chiles from the bowl – reserve the soaking liquid – cut into small 1 inch pieces and place in a blender. Add the onion garlic mixture and to the blender and a bit of the soaking liquid. Puree mixture, adding more soaking liquid until you obtain your desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
Yes, this dish takes some time to make but the end does justify the means!