While I’ve made no mistake that Mexican is my favorite type of food, I don’t know if I’ve touched upon how obsessed I am with chile rellenos. They are my absolute favorite meal of all time – it’s hands-down what I’d pick if I were only able to eat one type of food for the rest of my life. Whenever I eat Mexican, it’s almost a guarantee that one will be ordered, if not for my actual meal, then most definitely as a side.
The problem, though, is that a lot of restaurants don’t know how to make a proper one. I only like poblanos stuffed with cheese; never ground beef, and I always have to clarify that just to be sure. I also like a light, yet crispy batter, and the cheese has to be stringy and delicious. I’ve had my fair share of bad chile rellenos, but also some of the best. This recipe, one of my mom’s specialties, takes the cake. Usually when she makes these, she layers them in a bed of enchilada sauce, but I like the chipotle cream sauce in this. It adds a bit of dimension to the already delicious poblano.
These chile rellenos came out very spicy, I am guessing that the poblanos in the store were of just a higher heat level than normal. With saying that, if your tolerance for spice is low, then I would absolutely recommend making these with canned whole green chiles. They are much more mild and won’t leave your mouth on fire. The cream sauce’s spice is completely up to you – add more of the chipotles for a spicier sauce. I used about 3 chipotles plus 1 tablespoon of adobo sauce and the spice level was perfect for me. The crispy batter and the melty cheese helps bring down the spice level a bit, but, we are making Mexican food after all, and I wanted to make something spicy – the main thing I love about chile rellenos.
Chile Rellenos with Chipotle Cream Sauce
2 medium tomatoes
1 cup red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
Salt and pepper
2-3 Tbsp oil
1 cup heavy cream
1-3 chipotle peppers, depending upon desired spice level, chopped plus 1 Tbsp of adobo sauce
4 poblanos (alternatively, you can use canned whole green chiles if poblanos are too spicy)
3 eggs, whites and yolks separated
1 Tbsp flour, plus more for dusting
4 oz monterrey jack cheese, cut up into thick strips, plus about 1/4 cup shredded to sprinkle on before they bake
Vegetable oil, for frying
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Begin by placing the tomatoes, onions, and garlic in a baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle the oil, making sure to coat everything. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the onions are soft and the tomatoes begin to split from their peel and are completely cooked through. Place the ingredients in the baking dish into a food processor and blend until smooth.
In a medium saucepan, heat the heavy cream and chipotle peppers over medium heat. Add the blended tomato and onion mixture. Heat until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
Turn your broiler onto high and place the poblanos in (if you are using a can of whole green chiles, skip to where you stuff them with cheese, as you won’t have to pre-cook them), watching carefully and charring all sides by turning frequently. Once the peppers have been charred, place in a paper bag or an airtight container and let sit for about 10 minutes. Once the peppers have softened, peel the skin off, it should slip off easily. Make a small slit and take out all of the seeds inside, being careful not to tear the pepper up too much. Stuff with the cheese; about 1 oz for each pepper. Set aside.
In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, place the 3 egg whites in and beat on high until stiff peaks form, about 3-4 minutes. Fold in the yolks and 1 Tbsp of flour gently until all incorporated. Place enough oil in the bottom of a nonstick pan to cover the bottom, about 1-2 Tbsps and heat over medium high heat.
Place about 1 Tbsp of flour on a plate. Roll the poblanos that are stuffed with cheese and make sure to coat them with the flour. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In the skillet, place a large spoonful of the batter into the oil. Nestle the poblano stuffed with cheese into the batter and spoon over another spoonful on top. Cook for about 2-3 minutes or until golden brown and flip over and cook on the other side until golden brown. Remove from pan and repeat with remaining poblanos.
In the bottom of an oven-proof dish, spoon about 3/4 of the chipotle cream sauce in. Place the fried poblanos on top. Sprinkle with the cheese. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbly. Serve with another spoonful of chipotle cream sauce on top if desired.
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