The popular dish known as “stuffed chili,” or Chile Relleno, has Mexican culinary origins. Although its actual history is unknown, it is thought to have originated during the colonial era when indigenous and Spanish culinary traditions mixed. In Puebla, Mexico, the dish became well-known and a local specialty.

Chile relleno, or “stuffed chile” in English, is a classic dish celebrated across Mexico. With its crispy exterior, gooey cheese filling, and often a savory sauce, it’s a culinary masterpiece that tantalizes taste buds. But what’s the story behind this iconic food?

A Rich History Rooted in Puebla

Originating in Puebla, Mexico, the chile relleno (pronounced “CHEE-leh ray-YEH-noh,” meaning “stuffed chile“) is a culinary treasure. In 1858, it was documented as a green chile pepper filled with minced meat and coated in eggs.

Today, the most popular pepper for chile relleno is Puebla’s poblano, although New Mexico chile, pasilla, or even jalapeño peppers are also used. Common fillings include melted cheeses like queso Chihuahua or queso Oaxaca, or picadillo, a savory mixture of diced pork, raisins, nuts, and cinnamon. The chile is then typically dipped in an egg white batter, corn masa flour, and fried, or sometimes served without any batter.

While often paired with tomato sauce, chile relleno can be accompanied by a variety of sauces, making it a versatile and flavorful dish enjoyed throughout Mexico and beyond.

Variations on a Theme

While the classic chile relleno features a poblano pepper stuffed with cheese, there are numerous regional variations. In some parts of Mexico, you’ll find them filled with picadillo (a seasoned ground meat mixture), seafood, or even beans. The sauces served alongside can also vary, from a simple tomato sauce to complex mole.

Crafting Your Own Chile Relleno: A Step-by-Step Guide

Ingredients:

  • 6 fresh Anaheim chile peppers
  • 1 (8 ounce) package queso asadero (white Mexican cheese), cut into 3/4-inch thick strips
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening for frying

Instructions: 

Step 1

Gather all ingredients.

Image: allrecipes.com

PHOTO: DOTDASH MEREDITH FOOD STUDIOS

Step 2

Turn on the broiler in the oven and place the oven rack approximately 6 inches below the heat source. Put aluminum foil on one side of a baking pan.

 

Step 3

After placing the peppers on the ready baking sheet, broil for 10 minutes, or until the skins are blistered and blackened. To sear both sides, turn the peppers frequently with tongs. Put the peppers that have browned into a bowl and cover them securely with plastic wrap. Give the peppers fifteen minutes or so to steam as they cool.

Image: allrecipes.com

PHOTO: DOTDASH MEREDITH FOOD STUDIOS

Step 4

After peeling the peppers, cut a slit down each pepper’s long side to extract the seeds and core.

Image: allrecipes.com

PHOTO: DOTDASH MEREDITH FOOD STUDIOS

Step 5

Rinse the peppers inside and out, then use paper towels to pat dry. Stuff cheese strips inside peppers.

Image: allrecipes.com

PHOTO: DOTDASH MEREDITH FOOD STUDIOS

Step 6

In a bowl, beat together egg yolks and baking powder until well blended.

Image: allrecipes.com

PHOTO: DOTDASH MEREDITH FOOD STUDIOS

Step 7

In another bowl, beat egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.

Image: allrecipes.com

PHOTO: DOTDASH MEREDITH FOOD STUDIOS

Step 8

Whisk the egg whites gently into the yolk mixture. Fill a different small basin with flour.

Image: allrecipes.com

PHOTO: DOTDASH MEREDITH FOOD STUDIOS

Step 9

In a pan over medium heat, melt the vegetable shortening. After coating both sides of each stuffed pepper with flour, tap off excess flour and dip into the egg mixture. Coated peppers should be gently deposited into the hot shortening. For about 5 minutes on each side, fry the peppers until they are softly golden brown and the cheese has melted.

Image: allrecipes.com

PHOTO: DOTDASH MEREDITH FOOD STUDIOS

Step 10

Serve, and enjoy!

Image: Taste of Home

Tips:

  • For a vegetarian option, substitute the cheese with a mixture of sauteed vegetables and rice.
  • Experiment with different cheeses to discover your favorite flavor combination.
  • Don’t overcrowd the pan when frying to ensure a crispy exterior.

The Enduring Appeal of Chile Relleno

Whether you’re an experienced cook or a beginner, chile relleno provides a delectable insight into Mexico’s rich culinary legacy. Its adaptability, tasty ingredients, and pleasant textures have made it a favorite dish for decades. Now that you know the narrative and how to create it, it’s time to experience the magic of chile relleno for yourself!

 

For more exciting insights on food and dietary choices, check out other blogs and offerings by Incloodie Food Tour. Embark on a delicious journey with us to discover diverse cuisines and the latest food trends. Explore now and satisfy your culinary curiosity!


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