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 Chile Rellenos

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yumbo

  • Total Posts: 330
  • Joined: 6/4/2001
  • Location: Milwaukee, WI
Chile Rellenos Fri, 03/21/03 1:43 AM (permalink)
Hey Ya'll -

I've had Chile Rellenos in California. They're basically the elongated peppers stuffed with cheese, batter dipped and fried until they surrender into a flattened and barely-contained gooey state. Then I've had the Tex-Mex rellenos, which are made from a much more robust and spherical pepper and filled with all kinds of meats and cheeses.

Then recently I was in New Mexico, and the chile rellenos I got looked like corndogs. What is up with that?

Can someone give me a quick 101 on Mexican cuisine? Do these New Mexico chile rellenos represent another school of Mexican cooking?
 
#1
    Michael Stern

    RE: Chile Rellenos Fri, 03/21/03 2:46 AM (permalink)
    If you ask a New Mexican, you will be told that EVERY dish there is different from everywhere else, that New-Mex bears only the most superficial relationship to Tex-Mex, Arizona-Mex, Cal-Mex, and Mexican Mex. In my experience, individual cooks make rellenos their own way, but most of the ones I've had in New Mexico are made in such a way that the flavor of the chile itself is preeminent. It's not cooked to mush, and there's not too much breading around it. Never had one that was corn-dog like!
     
    #2
      JRShakula

      • Total Posts: 6
      • Joined: 5/10/2003
      • Location: Draper, UT
      RE: Chile Rellenos Sat, 05/10/03 12:52 AM (permalink)
      The traditional, authentic (Mexico & Guatemala) rellenos are made from Pasilla chiles although I've hardly ever seen them offered in Mexican restaurants in the US. Pasilla chiles are larger and rounder than the Anaheim chiles commonly served. I expect the Anaheims are easier to "process." I know from experience the Pasillas take more time and energy to prepare but I think they're tastier. Their flesh is thicker and they therefore don't turn to mush like a thinner chile would.
       
      #3
        Nonni

        • Total Posts: 1
        • Joined: 5/7/2003
        • Location: Scottsdale, AZ
        RE: Chile Rellenos Sat, 05/10/03 2:45 AM (permalink)
        I would imagine that the chile rellenos in New Mexico are made with Hatch chiles...much more heat and flavor.
         
        #4
          spamlamb

          • Total Posts: 8
          • Joined: 5/20/2003
          • Location: Ouray, CO
          RE: Chile Rellenos Wed, 05/21/03 6:22 AM (permalink)
          quote:
          Can someone give me a quick 101 on Mexican cuisine? Do these New Mexico chile rellenos represent another school of Mexican cooking?


          Some notes from a gringo relleno lover from Colorado. Rellenos are usually the staple I use to gage quality of Mex-fare in any place that serves them. I have tried them in probably 30-50 different restaurants in the Denver area alone. Not all restaurants bother including them on the menu, partly - I suspect - due to the relative difficulty in making them well. There are only 2 of those 30-50 restaurants where I would order them again (and again, and again...)

          Rellenos are generally stuffed with cheese, but some places will also stuff with chicken, shredded beef, etc. Rellenos can be made with any kind of chile, but hatch and Anaheims seem to be the most common. The chiles have to be physically intact and of top quality for the relleno to be worth a damn, further complicating the process. Fresh roasted peppers make all the difference in the world; to me there is no dish that so showcases the pepper itself than a relleno. You cannot just pop open a can of random peppers and start cooking. Never had them with Pasillas but would love to try them, Goner!

          In being dragged kicking & screaming into a Chevy's once I discovered they serve rellenos made with poblanos; they were just as bad as I'd imagined. I have once made rellenos myself with a handful of largish jalapenos, and somewhere a fool had probably tried making one with a habenaro (but certainly not two of them). A serrano would be a tough fit. Once in Cincinnati I had one made with a bell pepper, further reinforcing my longstanding opinion that there is no Mexican food worthy of note east of the Mississippi (except maybe the Mex Village in Detroit).

          There seem to be 2 major schools of thought w/ regard to relleno preparation: the soft and the crispy. Opinions vary (and are like what?) as to which is better, but most acknowledge that soft is more "authentic" if one can use so strong a term here. Soft, when done right, are generally just battered in egg whites with enough flour to give some lumpy consistency, then pan-fried in pretty damn hot oil (or lard). Crispy are all over the map: I have sampled and loathed the corn-dog variation, the won-ton, the fish-&-chips batter, even a deep-fried chimichanga-style wrapped in tortilla. To me, the heavier the batter, the worse the relleno, but light batter will not salvage a bad chile.

          And you can't have a good relleno w/o the proper accompaniments. Mine are always smothered in green chile - chili verde - and while a good green chili cannot correct the potential shortfalls in relleno, it can at least give you something interesting to munch on instead. Throw that on a plate w/ some beans, rice, a couple fresh tortillas and optional guac, lettuce, tomato, pico de gallo, Negra Modelo, etc. and you have a pretty substantial meal.

          Sorry to be long-winded & somewhat evangelical. This is religion to me. Off to lunch!
           
          #5
            Michael Stern

            RE: Chile Rellenos Wed, 05/21/03 9:17 AM (permalink)
            Here's a nice semi-crisp one, sided by a tamale. An Anaheim, from Nogales:



            And here's a very crisp one, gobbed with guacamole, served in a tortilla for eating out of hand (although the cheese inside does tend to squish out). This is a Hatch chile:

             
            #6
              Sundancer7

              RE: Chile Rellenos Wed, 05/21/03 9:36 AM (permalink)
              quote:
              Originally posted by Michael Stern

              Here's a nice semi-crisp one, sided by a tamale. An Anaheim, from Nogales:



              And here's a very crisp one, gobbed with guacamole, served in a tortilla for eating out of hand (although the cheese inside does tend to squish out). This is a Hatch chile:




              I was in Nogales a few months ago. I parked on the USA side and walked over. Sort of a neat town. Food was really good I drove from there to Puerto Penasco. Beautiful place. I wish I had known about this place. Looks great to me. Your pics are really good

              Paul E. Smith
              Knoxville, TN
               
              #7
                EliseT

                • Total Posts: 2849
                • Joined: 7/11/2001
                • Location: L.A, CA
                RE: Chile Rellenos Mon, 06/16/03 2:14 PM (permalink)
                Yeah, the "conical" one was probably a Poblano or Pasilla. Here in LA, Poblanos are used at the nouvelle places and often filled with ground meat. They can be a bit hot for me. The California/green chiles are mcuh more common. One mistake I frequently come across is cooks neglecting to remove the seeds...I hate that!
                 
                #8
                  Texicana

                  • Total Posts: 185
                  • Joined: 7/19/2003
                  • Location: Ashland, KY
                  RE: Chile Rellenos Sun, 07/20/03 12:44 PM (permalink)
                  My mother catered locally in a Texas border town, and she used poblano chiles for her rellenos. As for filling, you can use a good white melting cheese, which we did for Lent, or either a ground beef or shredded beef filling. I know that in Mexico a sweet and savory filling is common, with dried citron and dried fruits, plus nuts and cinnamon, but we mixed the meat with some paprika, cumin, and cubed carrots, potatoes and onions that had been lightly fried beforehand, then mixed with the savory meat. Let that filling cool a bit.

                  The chiles are a bit tricky. If you have a cast iron skillet or better yet, a comal, heat that up with no oil and place the whole poblanos on it till the skin chars black. You can do this in the oven as well, or even a kitchen torch, as long as you blacken the surface. Place the chiles under a damp kitchen towel or a plastic bag for 15-30 minutes so as to let them steam slightly and make it easier to peel the black skin off them. Try not to use running water for this, it lessens the flavor.

                  Make a slit alongside the pepper that is just big enough to remove the seeds inside, and stuff with the filling. You can leave them batterless and nestle them on top of a beg pan of mexican rice, or go whole hog and have them battered and fried.

                  For the batter, you need to seperate some egg whites from the yolks. Not sure how many to use, since it depends on how many peppers you have to work with. Beat the whites until they are foamy, and then at the last minute return the yolks to the whites to turn it a yellow color. Do this while some oil is heating in your pan (an inch or two deep is fine, you need enough so that you can carefully lap the oil over the top of your chile). Your oil has to be pretty hot, because you will wind up with a greasy relleno with too cool oil. Carefully dip a chile in the batter, and place it seam side up in your skillet, while gently lapping the oil over the top to help cook the batter over the slit to seal it. As it browns on the bottom, turn it over to finish the browning evenly. Repeat until you are done, draining your peppers on lots of paper towelling. Serve as is or with a spicy salsa or tomato sauce.
                   
                  #9
                    Texicana

                    • Total Posts: 185
                    • Joined: 7/19/2003
                    • Location: Ashland, KY
                    RE: Chile Rellenos Sun, 07/20/03 1:02 PM (permalink)
                    I did forget an imprortant step...once your chiles are stuffed, but before they are battered, lightly coat them in some flour. Then you can proceed to lower them into the foamed up eggs.
                     
                    #10
                      puresilk

                      • Total Posts: 4
                      • Joined: 7/31/2003
                      • Location: San Diego, CA
                      RE: Chile Rellenos Thu, 07/31/03 11:51 AM (permalink)
                      quote:
                      Originally posted by Texicana

                      I did forget an imprortant step...once your chiles are stuffed, but before they are battered, lightly coat them in some flour. Then you can proceed to lower them into the foamed up eggs.


                      I add about 2 tbs of flour and a tsp of salt to the egg yolks before creaming them. Make sure the egg whites are very very stiff before gently foling in the yolks. This will make a very nice batter that will cling to the chiles when then are dipped.

                      Always dip the chiles into the egg mixture holding them by the stem.
                       
                      #11
                        Texicana

                        • Total Posts: 185
                        • Joined: 7/19/2003
                        • Location: Ashland, KY
                        RE: Chile Rellenos Thu, 07/31/03 11:58 AM (permalink)
                        A great way to use up any left over meat stuffing (doesn't work for cheese) is to mix with the egg batter and cook in the leftover oil from the chile making. Makes some neat tasty egg and meat patties that I ate as a kid when I didn't appreciate the glories of a good Poblano

                         
                        #12
                          Lone Star

                          • Total Posts: 1730
                          • Joined: 5/22/2003
                          • Location: Houston, TX
                          RE: Chile Rellenos Thu, 07/31/03 12:10 PM (permalink)
                          Texican - my mouth is watering!
                           
                          #13
                            Texicana

                            • Total Posts: 185
                            • Joined: 7/19/2003
                            • Location: Ashland, KY
                            RE: Chile Rellenos Thu, 07/31/03 12:45 PM (permalink)
                            Lonestar, next time I am in Texas (at least once a year til I make it back there permanently) I'll leave a relleno or two on your doorstep Heh, just kidding, that would leave a grease spot!
                             
                            #14
                              EliseT

                              • Total Posts: 2849
                              • Joined: 7/11/2001
                              • Location: L.A, CA
                              RE: Chile Rellenos Thu, 07/31/03 8:18 PM (permalink)
                              I had a Salvadorean relleno for lunch today. It was perfectly round, and stuffed with green chile, shredded meat, potatoes, carrots and corn. It was like a pupusa made with egg instead of tortilla.
                               
                              #15
                                Texicana

                                • Total Posts: 185
                                • Joined: 7/19/2003
                                • Location: Ashland, KY
                                RE: Chile Rellenos Thu, 07/31/03 8:20 PM (permalink)
                                Lordie Elise I sure do envy you the food variety you get in EL AY. I don't have nearly the choice here in KY. That's why I cook lots!
                                 
                                #16
                                  EliseT

                                  • Total Posts: 2849
                                  • Joined: 7/11/2001
                                  • Location: L.A, CA
                                  RE: Chile Rellenos Fri, 08/1/03 3:49 AM (permalink)
                                  Oh my goodness, a girl who can cook like you do stuck out there miles from the border? Can you find the right ingredients?
                                   
                                  #17
                                    Texicana

                                    • Total Posts: 185
                                    • Joined: 7/19/2003
                                    • Location: Ashland, KY
                                    RE: Chile Rellenos Fri, 08/1/03 9:01 AM (permalink)
                                    I have to go out to Lexington (hour and a half drive) to get alot of the really exotic stuff because they have a really neat little mexican mercado there. And there's a middle eastern store here where I can get my beloved falafel.

                                    (See Michael, I told ya we need a chat room!)
                                     
                                    #18
                                      Tiramisu

                                      • Total Posts: 54
                                      • Joined: 7/3/2003
                                      • Location: Pittsburgh, PA
                                      RE: Chile Rellenos Tue, 08/5/03 2:49 PM (permalink)
                                      Well..I have had rellenos dipped in a tempura-like batter (egg/flour)and they were heavenly, as long as the cooking oil stayed hot. If oil is too low in temperature(below 375 at high altitudes, 350 for sea levels) the effect can be soggy. I like a semi-firm pepper, no meat, and a bit of cheese with a sharpness to it. I don't like the Cheese whiz effect . EEK ! I do like the idea of smoking the raw pepper a bit prior to stuffing it with goodies, then deep frying. I had the corn dog style relleno. They are not bad, but the cheese inside was awful. I swear some restaurants use Velveeta. I also prefer to salt my own food. Many salsas are way too salty.
                                       
                                      #19
                                        TxConnie

                                        • Total Posts: 83
                                        • Joined: 6/18/2004
                                        • Location: Fort Worth, TX
                                        RE: Chile Rellenos Sun, 08/8/04 1:30 PM (permalink)
                                        FOr a really good roodfood relleno- Try Sara's in Fort Stockton, Texas Been there over 70 years. Best I have ever had
                                         
                                        #20
                                          BT

                                          • Total Posts: 3589
                                          • Joined: 7/3/2004
                                          • Location: San Francisco, CA
                                          RE: Chile Rellenos Sun, 08/8/04 1:58 PM (permalink)
                                          I truly love chile rellenos, but they are one of the most variable foods on the planet. When they are bad they can be so bad, but when they are good they can be so good, that I use them as my criteria for selecting a Mexican restaurant.

                                          For rellenos I really love, two places stand out right now: (1) Wisdom's in Tumacacori, AZ (on I-19, about 2/3 the way to Tucson to Nogales--this is a roadfood place worth a lot more attention, but it sadly gets too much already and can get really busy, esp. for dinner on weekends); (2) Elvira's in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico--"a little cafe on the other side of the border"--hum along with me and Jay & the Americans, however I have NOT met Badman Jose' there (just park on the US side at the terminus of I-19, walk into Mexico, then walk along the street next to the border fence for a block or two). By the way, Elvira's gives you a free shot of tequilla to start the meal no matter what you order for lunch--maybe that's why I enjoy the food so much.

                                          In San Francisco, I usually get them from La Rondalla at 20th and Valencia, but their rellenos may be an acquired taste for some--they come pretty much drowned in a thin tomato sauce containing big hunks of chiles and onions so the coating on the rellenos gets soggy, but when you mix the remaining sauce (after you've eaten the rellenos) with the rice and stuff it into your mouth with a buttered corn tortilla, it's yummy. Also, their salsa is about the best I've had anywhere, ever (made in house, of course, with several kinds of peppers--fresh AND pickled jalapenos, tomatoes, cilantro, onion--I can't duplicate it so I can't say I know exactly what's in it) and their refritos are made the right way with lots of lard giving them lots of flavor.
                                           
                                          #21
                                            hermitt4d

                                            • Total Posts: 367
                                            • Joined: 8/4/2003
                                            • Location: Houston, TX
                                            RE: Chile Rellenos Thu, 08/19/04 3:14 AM (permalink)
                                            I've known others who've judged Tex-Mex restaurants by their Chile Rellenos and Houston food writer Robb Walsh calls them the pride of Mexican cuisine in his new Tex-Mex book, but it's one of those dishes I was exposed to as a child and did not like and cannot bring myself to order again. The term 'grease sodden' aptly explains my revulsion. The last time I had one was the winter of '68 at a Mexican restaurant on S. Congress in Austin near St. Edwards U. with a particularly enchanting dark-haired beauty as my dining companion. I couldn't finish it and the quantity of grease I took in kept my stomach on edge all night. Despite my intentions when I go into a Mexican restaurant, I always find something else on the menu that I'd rather take a chance on.

                                            I may be wrong, but I think in the old days around here they were made with bell peppers. According to what I see on menus, poblanos are the pepper of choice now; about the size of a bell pepper but longer, tapered toward the bottom end, and with a darker skin.

                                            As important as they may be as standards for the connnoiseurs of Roadfood (and other food related web sites) a Tex-Mex restauranteur here told me a few months ago that the general public around here judges Mexican restaurants by their enchiladas. The common wisdom is that if you make good enchiladas, you'll prosper as a Tex Mex restauranteur.

                                            I had never heard that before and ever since he told me I've been paying more attention to enchiladas whenever I go for Tex-Mex.

                                            The best I've found is the Bandido Platter at El Toro in Clute, TX: one beef (ground), one chicken (shredded, with sour cream sauce), one cheese and one steak enchilada with ranchera sauce, together with the requisite sauces and gravies and cheeses, some very good refritos and rice. It's a bit of Tex-Mex heaven. The 20oz. Mexican Hurricane drink ain't bad either.

                                            You can have the chile rellenos, I'm going to stick with enchiladas .
                                             
                                            #22
                                              BT

                                              • Total Posts: 3589
                                              • Joined: 7/3/2004
                                              • Location: San Francisco, CA
                                              RE: Chile Rellenos Thu, 08/19/04 3:54 AM (permalink)
                                              quote:
                                              Originally posted by hermitt4d
                                              it's one of those dishes I was exposed to as a child and did not like and cannot bring myself to order again. The term 'grease sodden' aptly explains my revulsion. .


                                              That's what I meant when I said when they are bad, they are truly awful. But they needn't be greasy at all and shouldn't be when done well.
                                               
                                              #23
                                                olphart

                                                • Total Posts: 289
                                                • Joined: 12/29/2003
                                                • Location: Bastrop, TX
                                                RE: Chile Rellenos Sun, 08/22/04 7:56 PM (permalink)
                                                OK, here’s a twist for you. Roast some poblanos and peel, seed and slit them, then let them cool. Line each with a slice of Swiss cheese and stuff with tuna salad.
                                                 
                                                #24
                                                  enginecapt

                                                  • Total Posts: 3486
                                                  • Joined: 6/4/2004
                                                  • Location: Fontana, CA
                                                  RE: Chile Rellenos Sun, 11/28/04 6:59 PM (permalink)
                                                  My rellenos are always a hit. I received the recipe from an Orange County, CA restauranteur shortly before his retirement. They are messy but worth it. I simply take fresh roasted Anaheims or Pasillas, stuff them with a creamy Mexican white cheese like Queso Oaxaca or Queso Asadero, dip them in an egg white/flour wash, then fry them till golden in very hot peanut oil. I gently sauce them in a warm pork based chile verde sauce and serve them with an achingly fresh Pico de Gallo in a side bowl. Roadfoodies, you are lucky. I never give this recipe out to anyone I know or who is local.
                                                   
                                                  #25
                                                    Ort. Carlton.

                                                    • Total Posts: 3589
                                                    • Joined: 4/9/2003
                                                    • Location: Athens, GA
                                                    RE: Chile Rellenos Sun, 11/28/04 8:06 PM (permalink)
                                                    quote:
                                                    Originally posted by EliseT

                                                    I had a Salvadorean relleno for lunch today. It was perfectly round, and stuffed with green chile, shredded meat, potatoes, carrots and corn. It was like a pupusa made with egg instead of tortilla.


                                                    Elise,
                                                    You've sold me. There are now TWO El Salvadorean restaurants in Athens, and I've not made it to either one. This is a must for me as soon as I can find the time. Because of your nudging, I'll try the Chiles Rellenos both places for starters.
                                                    I'll report back, folks. Roadfood is Roadfood, even if it is ETHNIC Roadfood... Three Brothers in Milwaukee, The Commercial Restaurant in Sonora, Texas, and The Goulash Place in Danbury, Connecticut prove that point beyond debatability.
                                                    Aproaching Hungriness, Ort. Carlton in 30601-land.
                                                     
                                                    #26
                                                      Ort. Carlton.

                                                      • Total Posts: 3589
                                                      • Joined: 4/9/2003
                                                      • Location: Athens, GA
                                                      RE: Chile Rellenos Sun, 11/28/04 8:12 PM (permalink)
                                                      Dearfolk,
                                                      My introduction to chiles rellenos came at Manuel's Mexican Food in Athens some years ago. They were made "Sonora style," using a recipe perfected over the years by the owner Mr. Leon's mother. These were the fluffy kind, were utterly ungreasy, and used a sweet green pepper of some sort. There was a slight hotness in there, but it actually brought out the other flavors rather than hiding them. A soft cheese was used, but it was very light in color - surely not Cheese Whiz nor any of its clones.
                                                      This and Huevos Con Chorizo were the two masterpieces on the place's menu. I've gone into relleno withdrawal since they closed up. The memory, though, lingers on... pleasantly.
                                                      Nostalgically, Ort. Carlton in 30601-Central.
                                                       
                                                      #27
                                                        carlton pierre

                                                        • Total Posts: 2500
                                                        • Joined: 7/12/2004
                                                        • Location: Knoxville, TN
                                                        RE: Chile Rellenos Tue, 11/30/04 6:05 PM (permalink)
                                                        Ort, I'm amazed any place has one Salvadoran restaurant, let alone two. I'd love to hear about them and your experience.
                                                        Awaiting anxiously,

                                                        carl reitz
                                                         
                                                        #28
                                                          AndreaB

                                                          • Total Posts: 1303
                                                          • Joined: 12/6/2004
                                                          • Location: Versailles, KY
                                                          RE: Chile Rellenos Sun, 12/12/04 10:08 AM (permalink)
                                                          I love Chile Rellenos, but only if they're made with poblano peppers.
                                                          There's a restaurant here in Versailles, KY called "Amigos" that has good chile rellenos, and couple places in Lexington have good ones as well. I often make them at home --- there's a Mexican grocery in Versailles and I buy poblano peppers and chihuahua cheese from them and roast and peel the peppers and stuff them with the cheese and bake them (I don't care for all the breading) and serve them with garlic salsa.
                                                           
                                                          #29
                                                            TheHotPepper.com

                                                            • Total Posts: 322
                                                            • Joined: 11/24/2004
                                                            • Location: NY, NY
                                                            RE: Chile Rellenos Sun, 12/12/04 11:01 PM (permalink)
                                                            Goota love good rellenos..

                                                            Theres a good (authentic) recipe by that Tyler guy on the food network website, the show was food 911.
                                                             
                                                            #30
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