How to Make a Chile Relleno

1/18/20243 min read

animal standing near body of water and mountains
animal standing near body of water and mountains

Chile rellenos are a popular food in New Mexico, known for their delicious combination of stuffed, deep-fried green chiles. This dish has become one of New Mexico's signature dishes and is a must-try for any food enthusiast. In this article, we will guide you through the process of making a mouthwatering chile relleno.

Choosing the Right Chile

The first step in making a chile relleno is to choose the right type of chile. While there are many varieties to choose from, the most recommended chile for this dish is the Big Jim chile. This particular variety is big, fat, and easy to work with, making it ideal for stuffing. However, if you prefer a spicier chile, you can also opt for the Miss Junie variety. Just keep in mind that the Miss Junie chile is hotter than the Big Jim. Many mild varieties are also great for this, such as Numex6-4 or 1904.

It's worth noting that other types of chiles can also be used for chile rellenos, but they may require more preparation and may not be as straight as the Big Jim or Miss Junie chiles. Personally, I would never use an extra-hot chile like Barker or an xxx-hot chile like Lumbre, but some people do. If you want to make a super spicy chile relleno, you can, but it will take a lot of work. Instead, I recommend using a bigger chile, then using some extra hot powder in the stuffing to bring up the heat level.

Preparing the Chiles

Once you have chosen your chiles, it's time to prepare them for stuffing. Start by roasting the chiles to bring out their flavors and make them easier to peel. There are several methods you can use to roast the chiles:

  • Grill: Place the chiles directly on a hot grill and cook them until the skin is charred and blistered.

  • Oven: Preheat your oven to broil and place the chiles on a baking sheet. Broil them, turning occasionally, until the skin is charred and blistered.

  • Stovetop: If you have a gas stove, you can char the chiles directly over the flame using tongs. If you have an electric stove, you can use a cast iron skillet to achieve the same effect.

Once the chiles are roasted, place them in a plastic bag or a covered bowl for about 10 minutes. This will help loosen the skin, making it easier to peel off. After 10 minutes, remove the chiles from the bag and gently peel off the skin. Be careful not to tear the chiles in the process.

Stuffing the Chiles

Now that your chiles are peeled, it's time to stuff them with your desired filling. Traditional fillings for chile rellenos include cheese, meat, or a combination of both. Here are a few popular filling options:

  • Cheese: Use a mild cheese like Monterey Jack, Cheddar, or Oaxaca. Cut the cheese into strips and stuff it into the chiles.

  • Meat: Cook ground beef, chicken, or pork with onions, garlic, and spices. Once cooked, drain any excess fat and use the mixture to stuff the chiles.

  • Combination: Combine cheese and cooked meat for a flavorful and satisfying filling.

To stuff the chiles, make a small incision near the stem and carefully remove the seeds. Stuff the chiles with your chosen filling, being careful not to overstuff them. Once stuffed, gently close the incision to keep the filling inside.

Frying the Chiles

Now that your chiles are stuffed, it's time to fry them to perfection. In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat. You want enough oil to cover the chiles when they are placed in the skillet.

In a separate bowl, beat some eggs until well combined. Dip each stuffed chile into the beaten eggs, ensuring it is fully coated. Carefully place the coated chile into the hot oil and fry until golden brown on all sides. This should take about 3-4 minutes per side.

Once the chiles are fried, remove them from the oil and place them on a paper towel-lined plate to drain any excess oil.

Serving the Chile Rellenos

Chile rellenos are best served hot and fresh. They can be enjoyed on their own or with a side of rice, beans, and salsa. Some people also like to top their chile rellenos with a tomato-based sauce or salsa for added flavor. New Mexicans sometimes top it with a red or green chile sauce, but many prefer no sauce to let the original chile flavor shine through.

Now that you know how to make a delicious chile relleno, it's time to get in the kitchen and give it a try. Whether you're a fan of spicy food or prefer a milder flavor, chile rellenos are sure to satisfy your taste buds. Enjoy!