Chiles Rellenos is one of my wife’s favorite Mexican dishes. One of the best versions I’ve tasted was years ago just after we were married on a trip across country looking for the perfect place to live. We took the southern route that brought us through the small town of Prescott, Arizona where we spent the night.
We asked around for the best Mexican restaurant in town and someone told us about a place just down the street from the famous Palace Restaurant & Saloon. It was a hole in the wall and I can’t remember the decor, but I think it had florescent lighting. It could have been La Cocina De Durango but I’m pretty sure it was El Charro Restaurant and they served some of the best authentic Mexican food I can remember. And their Chiles Rellenos were spectacular.
What are Chilies Rellenos?
Chiles Rellenos translates to “stuffed chiles” that have been dipped in an egg batter and then deep fried. That’s a fairly broad category, as stuffing can be made of almost anything, from meat to cheese to seafood. Chiles rellenos is a Mexican dish from the city of Puebla. Traditionally, the pepper of choice for stuffing is the Poblano pepper, which means “from Pueblo.”
With the vast variety of peppers available around the world, though, chiles rellenos can be made with any medium or large, fairly mild peppers, such as Anaheims or New Mexican Hatch green chiles. You can even use smaller peppers, if you like. In fact, most of us have enjoyed a mini version of chiles rellenos when enjoying appetizers at a sports bar: the ubiquitous jalapeno popper is a type of chile relleno.
This is a great dish to serve to a crowd, especially if you are entertaining both vegetarians and omnivores. Simply alter the filling to suit the folks who are eating, stuffing the peppers with veggies and/or cheese for the vegetarians and maybe going with a sweet-spicy picadillo filling for the meat eaters in the bunch. Since there are so many ways to make chiles rellenos, I’m giving you two filling and two sauce options, along with two batter options. That way, you can mix and match and discover your favorite way to enjoy them.