Classic Chile Relleno

Classic Chile Relleno

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For the salsa

  • 1 pound Roma tomatoes cored and halved
  • 1/2 medium white onion cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 2 medium garlic cloves peeled and smashed
  • 1 medium serrano chile stemmed
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice plus more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more as needed

For the chiles rellenos

  • 4 medium poblano chiles about 1 pound
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese about 8 ounces
  • 4 large eggs separated and at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus more as needed
  • 1 cup vegetable or canola oil


For the salsa

  • Heat the broiler to high and arrange a rack in the upper third of the oven.
  • Place the tomato halves skin-side up on a baking sheet.
  • Scatter the onion, garlic, and serrano around the tomatoes.
  • Broil until the tomato skins start to blacken and blister, about 7 minutes.
  • Transfer the vegetables to a blender, add the measured lime juice and salt, and blend into a smooth purée.
  • Taste and season with additional salt and lime juice as needed.
  • Transfer to a small saucepan and keep warm over low heat.

For the chiles rellenos

  • Lay 1 chile on a work surface so that it sits flat naturally without rolling.
  • Using a paring knife, make two cuts forming a “T” by first slicing down the middle of the chile lengthwise from stem to tip, then making a second cut perpendicular to the first about a 1/2 inch from the stem, slicing only halfway through the chile (be careful not to cut off the stem end completely).
  • Carefully open the flaps to expose the interior of the chile and, using the paring knife, carefully cut out and remove the core.
  • Scrape the inside with a small spoon to remove the seeds, ribs, and any remaining core.
  • Repeat with the remaining peppers.
  • Turn 2 gas burners to medium-high heat.
  • Place 1 chile directly on each burner and roast, turning occasionally with tongs, until blackened and blistered on all sides, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  • (Alternatively, heat the broiler to high and arrange a rack in the upper third of the oven.
  • Place all of the chiles directly on the rack.
  • Broil, turning occasionally with tongs, until the chiles blacken and blister on all sides, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  • The chiles will be softer using the broiler rather than a direct flame, so be careful not to tear them while stuffing.)
  • Remove to a large heatproof bowl; repeat with the remaining 2 chiles.
  • Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap or a baking sheet and let the chiles steam until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes.
  • Using a butter knife, scrape away and discard the chile skins, being careful not to tear the chiles; set the chiles aside.
  • Heat the oven to 250°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
  • Place a wire rack over a baking sheet and set aside.
  • Season the inside and outside of the chiles with salt and pepper.
  • Stuff each chile, being careful not to tear them, with a quarter of the cheese (about a heaping 2/3 cup) and close the flaps over the cheese; set the chiles aside.
  • Whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl until lightened in color and frothy, about 2 minutes; set aside.
  • Place the egg whites and measured salt in the clean, dry bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.
  • Beat on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 1 1/2 minutes.
  • Remove the bowl from the mixer, add the egg yolks, and fold with a rubber spatula until just combined (do not deflate the egg whites); set aside.
  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until hot, about 4 minutes.
  • Check to see if the oil is hot by submerging the handle of a wooden spoon or a wooden chopstick until it touches the bottom of the pan—the oil should bubble vigorously.
  • Working with 1 chile at a time, drop 1/2 cup of the egg batter into the oil and use a rubber spatula to spread it to about the same size as the stuffed chile.
  • Lay the chile seam-side down on top of the mound of batter.
  • Drop another 1/2 cup of batter on top of the chile, spreading it with the rubber spatula to cover the sides and encase the chile.
  • Cook without disturbing until the bottom of the chile relleno is golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Using a flat spatula and a fork, carefully flip the chile relleno over and cook until the other side is golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • (If the sides of the chile are not brown, use a spatula or tongs to turn it onto each side to brown.)
  • Transfer the chile relleno to the rack set over the baking sheet, season with salt, and place in the oven to keep warm.
  • Repeat with the remaining stuffed chiles.
  • To serve, spread 1/3 cup of the roasted tomato salsa on each plate and top with a chile relleno.
  • Serve immediately, passing the remaining salsa on the side.
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