Authentic Mexican Recipes: Chiles Rellenos de Queso

I’m very excited today because I get to share one of my all time favorite Mexican dishes: chiles rellenos de queso (chiles rellenos stuffed with cheese)!  Chile Rellenos are loved around the country and the world abroad, in international Mexican cuisine, for their intensely delicious combination of flavors.  Among Mexicans–the true afficianados of authentic Mexican recipes–chiles rellenos are a heavyweight contender for favorite dish in the cuisine.

This recipe is for chiles rellenos de queso (with cheese).  There are different types of chile rellenos, as they can be stuffed with ground beef, shrimp, fish, but today I’m going to show you how to cook this traditional and very popular variety that uses fresh cheese.

Chiles Rellenos de queso are also great because they are a vegitarian dish that can be served to anyone, even the most hungry guests.  These babies are filling: often you’ll be full after eating just one of these, so the rellenos are great if you’re serving guests who have a big appetite.  And I definitely recommend you use this dish to serve guests at a dinner party or something where you have a lot of people over because this dish definitely takes longer to cook than most of the other authentic Mexican recipes we’ve shared so far: cooking just six of these to feed six people can take upwards of two hours to cook if you like to take your time and be slow in the kitchen like me, and not be in a my-hair-is-on-fire-and-there’s-a-tornado-coming-at-our-house rush like most of the chefs I seeon TV these days!

But the hard work pays off in the end with a very tasty reward that almost everyone I’ve ever seen who tries falls in love with.  So with that said, let’s go:

authentic Mexican recipes: chiles rellenos de queso oaxaca cheese

Ingredients
(serves six)

– poblano chiles, aka “poblano peppers” (six of them)  If you’ve never seen them before, here’s what poblano chiles look like.
– Oaxaca cheese (if you’re in Mexico), or organic or fresh cheese of some kind that is handmade, that you can find near you, that isn’t creamy soft or block hard–somewhere inbetween is perfect.  Pictured above is the fresh cheese that I used for this recipe.  (about 400 grams)
– eggs (four)
– tomatoes (three medium size, red, fresh)
– onion (1/4 of a medium size one)
– cilantro (four branches)
– garlic (2 cloves)
– chicken broth cube (one)
– flour (3/4 cup)
– olive oil
– (other ingredients if you’re going to complete the dish with beans, rice, and tortillas.  Read the last part of the recipe for more on this)

Preparation

the Chiles:

Wash the poblano chiles.

authentic Mexican recipes chiles rellenos de queso roasting poblano peppers

On medium heat, roast each of them on an open flame until the skin of the chile starts bubbling, and keep turning the chile so the same happens over the entire body of the chile and the entire thing is roasted.  Do not keep roasting the poblanos until they are burned!–just until they start to bubble.  You know you’re done when the whole chile looks a little crispy and a little darker than when you started.  Each poblano will probably look a bit different because even when they’re the same size, some of the peppers are thicker than others, so you can’t go on color alone.  Below are two properly roasted poblanos, to give you an idea of what I’m talking about:

authentic Mexican recipes chiles rellenos chiles poblanos different textures

You’re going to roast them one chile at a time, and when you finish doing a chile, place it in a sealed tupperware container big enough to hold all six chiles, to let it sweat.  Once you have all six poblanos in the container, let them sweat in there for another five minutes.

authentic Mexican recipes poblano peppers sweating

If you don’t have a gas stove for making your delicious authentic Mexican recipes, then you need to use an oven to do this:  preheat the oven to 360 F, spray a tray with olive oil, and then place the six chiles on it and in the oven.  Do not leave them unattended: when you start to hear them pop, which will not take long, flip them on the pan, and keep this up until the other side is roasted, and do it again if needed until the whole poblano is evenly roasted.  Then do the same thing with the tupperware container mentioned in the step above.

After five minutes of letting them sweat, open the container and pour warm water into it to submerge all the chiles.  Then take each chile one at a time and, using your finger to rub, strip off all the roasted crusty skin from the body, until you’re left with smooth skin, soft chiles.

With each chile, make a two to three inch incision in the side of the body, and then pull out the stem and the seeds inside.  If you don’t do this, your chiles rellenos will turn out to be insanely spicy, you might end up in the hospital, and it won’t be a good time, so make sure you remove those seeds!

Wash out the inside of the chile with some clean water, to clear out the remaining bits of seed and stem.

Let them sit and dry in a colander.  Now we make…

the Batter:

Crack and separate the egg yolks and egg whites of four eggs into two separate bowls.  For the egg whites, use a bowl that is big enough to fit an entire chile poblano into.

Whip the egg whites until they’re foamy.

authentic Mexican recipes egg whites whipped for chiles rellenos de queso

Start heating a pan that is more than big enough to fit an entire poblano pepper.  Use enough olive oil to create a little depth of it in the pan.

Back to the egg whites:  take your egg yolks and now mix them in with the foamy egg whites and whip them together until you have something that looks foamy and just the same as above, only yellow now.

Spread your flour out evenly on a plate, and then doing this process one chile at a time, take a poblano, stuff it with some cheese, roll it in your plate of flour, then roll it through your egg batter, then place it in the pan and let it cook until the batter becomes crispy.  Use tongs to slowly and carefully (so you don’t splash any hot oil) turn the poblano while it’s cooking so it fries evenly, and keep scooping the oil over top of it to further help with that.  It will fry quickly: in about one minute, so pay attention the whole time.  If you get lazy and doze off while doing this step, that can very easily lead to a nasty burn and that is not cool, so make sure you stay focussed while doing this.  After it’s done, place the poblano on a plate with paper towel to help absorb the excess oil from it.  I shot some video to show you exactly what this step looks like:

With all six done, now it’s time to make…

the Sauce:

Blend the tomatoes, garlic, and onions along with 3/4 cup of water (you can use more or less, according to how thick you like your sauces).

Take a pot, add 1/2 tbs of olive oil, and on medium heat, add the blended sauce.

Wait for a minute or two, and then add the chicken broth cube and the cilantro, and let it cook and bring it to boil.

authentic Mexican recipes chiles rellenos finished dish

Once it’s boiling, you’re done!  Now serve your chiles rellenos on a plate and pour your tasty sauce on top and enjoy one of the most popular authentic Mexican recipes in existence!  I recommend serving them with mexican beans and rice to finish of the dish, and add in a tortialla or two if you really want to eat it like the locals.  Provecho!

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2 Comments

  1. monica
    Posted August 7, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Hello. Just a suggestion, Your title should be .. chili rellenos CON queso. Not DE queso. That means “of cheese”.

  2. Posted August 7, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    Hey Monica! I agree with you: that makes more sense, but the Mexicans themselves tell me they use the “de” when referring to this version of the chiles rellenos dish… just one of those weird linguistic glitches, I guess, just like we have all over the place in the English language, too.

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