Chilis Rellenos Serving
(click to enlarge)

Chilis Rellano de Queso

6 main  
2-1/3 hrs

If I want to know how good a Mexican restaurant is I'll check out their Chilis Rellanos - they're sure to tell the tale. They aren't that hard to make, but take close attention. This recipe is divided into segments, each of which can be a break point - the first two segments can be done even days ahead. See Note-4 for general hints.





Chilis Poblanos (1)  
Cheese, Oaxaca(2)
-- Broth
Can Tomatoes
Olive Oil
-- Seasonings
Pepper, black
Bay Leaf
Cinnamon Stick
Thyme, dry
Egg Whites
Egg Yolks
Oil, deep fry (3)
Make Broth   (35 min)   -   This can be done several days ahead.
  1. Make Tomato Broth
    1. Chop TOMATOES quite small, saving all the juice they're packed in.
    2. Chop ONION small. Crush GARLIC and chop fine. Mix.
    3. Heat Oil in a saucepan and stir in Onion mix. Fry stirring until garlic starts to show color.
    4. Stir in Tomatoes including their juice. Stir in all Seasoning items. Simmer for at least 15 minutes. Simmer uncovered if needed to get the consistency you want (fairly liquid).
Prep Chilis   -   (45 min)   -   This can be done one day ahead.
  1. Blast CHILIS with your Propane Torch and rub off the charred skin under cold running water. Split the chilis down one side and scrape out the seed mass and ribs. A good thumbnail is the best tool but a small spoon will work.
  2. If you are using Poblanos you should probably steam the Chilis for just a couple of minutes to make them more flexible and partially cooked - but don't overcook, they should remain very crispy.
  3. Grate CHEESE on the course side of your grater. It will grate easiest if very cold. I toss it in the freezer compartment for a while.
  4. Dry the Chilis carefully inside and out. Stuff them as full as you can get them and still have them stay closed. Pack the cheese moderately tight and massage the chilis to arrange it so they close well.
Deep Frying   -   (45 min)
  1. Get everything ready. There must be no hesitation or distractions during the frying step.
    • Set out some Flour in a dish.
    • Have a shallow ladle ready for ladling oil over chilis.
    • Have a draining rack ready large enough to accommodate all your chilis.
    • Have ready some means to lift the chilis out of the batter and into the oil. Tongs are a problem because the chilis are both heavy and slippery at this point.
    • Have ready a slotted turner or similar to lift chilis out of the oil to the draining rack.
  2. Separate EGGS into whites and yolks. Make sure there isn't even a dot of yolk in the whites. Add Salt to the yolks.
  3. In a deep iron skillet or similar, heat Oil to 350°F/177°C. The skillet needs to be large enough to fit two chilis with space to work the ladle.
  4. Beat Egg Whites stiff, then beat in Egg Yolks and Salt. This batter is a little unstable so it can't be made too far ahead.
  5. Working just 2 at a time (see Note-5) roll Chilis in flour to coat very lightly, shaking off any excess. Dip Chilis into Egg Batter to coat completely, then set them into the Hot Oil. Immediately start ladling oil over the chilis, very gently at first, then vigorously as the batter stiffens. As soon as the chilis are lightly browned top and bottom remove them to the draining rack.
Finish   -   (15 min)
  1. In a sauté pan or buffet casserole, pour in enough of the Broth to come about half way up the chilis when they are placed in the pan. Arrange the chilis in the pan and bring up to a simmer. Simmer until cheese is well softened but not running out. You can poke a skewer through to see if the center is softened. This will be about 7 minutes.
  2. Ladle some broth on each plate and plunk a chili in it. Serve hot. Rice is a good accompaniment.
  1. Chilis: Fresh green Poblanos are the proper chili to use and have a unique dark flavor. Select ones that are a little flattish so they don't stand too high in the oil and broth. Anaheims are often used in restaurants for availability, consistent shape and size, or if they fear the unpredictable hotness of Poblanos. Flavor is different but they work OK. See our Chili Page for details.
  2. Cheese:   Success depends on the quality of the cheese. Supermarket industrial pseudo-cheese that turns into rubber must not be used. Oaxaca or a really good Monterey Jack that melts smoothly and is a bit stringy is fine. Other options include Queso Quesadilla / Asadero and Queso Manchego (Mexican, not Spanish). If in doubt, melt some as a test. For details see our Cheese Varieties page.
  3. Oil - Deep Fry:   You need oil deep enough to come half way up the chilis. While lard would most likely be used in Mexico, Pure or Pomace Olive Oil (not Virgin) will do fine if you are still afraid of Lard.
  4. General Info:   Chilis Rellanos is one of the most famous Mexican dishes so nearly all Mexican restaurants offer them - with results ranging from pretty good to tragic. Doing this recipe right takes more careful attention than is available in many restaurants. To get around the trickiness many recipes use somewhat the same ingredients but prepare and present them differently, and the results just aren't the same. Best to learn to do it right - it just isn't that hard.
  5. Frying:   Allow no distractions whatever during the batter and fry steps. You must work without hesitation, paying close attention. On the other hand, once fried, they can sit on the draining rack for as long as 20 minutes before going into the broth.
  6. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
xmv_chilirell1* 080809 com263   -
©Andrew Grygus - - Linking to and non-commercial use of this page is permitted.