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Dec 11, 2006 12:48 AM

Chile Rellenos

So I'm actually looking for a definitive answer, but that doesn't exist in food. Is a Chile Relleno traditionally made with a Hatch/Anaheim style chile or a poblano? I've heard both from supposedly reputable sources. I've always associated it with New Mexican fare so I've assumed Hatch. Well, while we're at it, does anyone know where it originates from? FYI, my opinion is always that whatever is freshest is best, but I prefer the Hatch style ones, but from the variety with more capsaicin.

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  1. This doesn't answer any of your questions but I had a great chile relleno in the Outer Banks this summer made with crab and cream cheese I think. They were so great. I hope the place is still there next summer. It was at Mack Daddys (I know, the name almost kept me from going.)

    1. Some of the Mexican chile rellenos are rellenado with refried beans and are not fried in any way. The tempura style comes from who knows where, but uses anaheim style chilis.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

        Sam, may I ask where in Mexico have you seen these simple unfried and bean stuffed chile rellenos? Black beans or other?

        1. re: kare_raisu

          In Chiapas. Take the chile skins off after roasting over flame. Slit open, remove seeds & ribs; fill with refied black beans; serve and eat.

        2. re: Sam Fujisaka

          > Given the souffle batter used in Chile Rellenos...
          > Their inclusion in 16th Century Pueblan Convent cookbooks... before any Europeans set foot in New Mexico.
          > The widespread cultivation of Poblanos in Puebla

          It all reinforces the theory that they orginated in Puebla & thus the original would be made with Chile Poblanos

          1. re: Eat_Nopal

            Thanks for providing some evidence rather than just, "____ is the answer, because I know it is."

            1. re: amkirkland

              Spot on. But I did eat the roasted and filled with refried beans in the countryside in Chiapas. Poblanos are to me an "Anheim style"--mild and amenable to stuffing.

            2. re: Eat_Nopal

              I should clarify that these timeline only pertains to battered, deep fried stuffed chiles. Sam is correct, in Mexico there are many chiles that are stuffed with a wide range of fillings, these go back to pre-hispanic times.

          2. Since a Hatch/Anaheim chile is a New Mexico variety, it will be used in a New Mexico relleno, while poblano is widely used through out (old) Mexico. I'm not even sure what a New Mexico variety of chile is called in Mexico.

            Chile relleno just means 'stuffed chile', although the most common style is a cheese or picadillo (sweet pork) filling, and an egg batter coating.


            1. As with most things, a "proper" chile relleno to me is the kind to which I was first introduced. In my case, it was an Anaheim chile stuffed with cheese, dusted with flour, then rolled in a batter made with egg white whipped with salt and egg yolk beaten with flour and then all folded in together. This confection is then slipped into a skillet of boiling oil, cooked until it is puffy and light brown, and then served with a red chile sauce.

              I understand that the versions that are stuffed with picadillo and other things are equally traditional. I frankly don't care.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Will Owen

                I think that they use poblanos exclusively in old Mexico (I don't mean they use poblanos only in Mexico but that Mexico doesn't use any other types).

                I'm with Will, however, if they taste good, I'll eat em.

                I always use poblanos, but used to always use anaheims before I knew about poblanos. I also have made the chile sauce with chunks of turkey or chorizo or ground pork. I've had em stuffed with mushrooms and once with shrimp.

                I love them all. I even loved my friend's version which had been frozen for a week and then reheated.

                I even love those casseroles of chiles layered with cheese and sauce and then topped with the beaten egg whites mixed with egg yolk and flour.

                1. re: oakjoan

                  In Oaxaca I had Chiles rellenos made from chiles de agua, which are small and can be very, very spicy.

                  I much prefer poblanos to Anaheim/California/New Mexico (the long pale green skinny ones) because I think their flavor is heartier.

                  I have also made chiles rellenos from dried, stuffed anchos (the dried form of poblanos). The stuffing was (fake, in my case) chorizo and potatoes, and they were to die for, but a real pain to make.

                  Sometimes I stuff poblanos with diced veg - zucchini, corn, sweet peppers - and just bake them with a green tomatillo sauce, no eggs or cheese involved. Yum.

                  1. re: Snackish

                    how do you make the ancho relleno? reconstitute it then stuff it or does liquid from the stuffing do that in the cooking?

                    1. re: amkirkland

                      Yes, reconstitute in warm water for quite a while. I wrote a blog post about it on I will try to hunt up the date when I am at a place where I can access my blog.

                      1. re: Snackish

                        Here is the blog post - Ancho Chiles stuffed with potatoes and chorizo


              2. If you love chile rellenos, you haven't lived until you've had them stuffed with a tamale, a la Fiesta Tepa-Sahuayo in Watsonville, California. Insanely delicious!

                Carb Lover, have you ever thought of trying to make them?

                5 Replies
                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  I've been wanting to make stuffed poblanos lately (I hesitate to call them chile rellenos), but I've been looking for a corn bread/corn meal based stuffing recipe, to no avail. So I could just use the cornmeal dough from a tamale recipe and stick it in there?

                  1. re: JGrey

                    A corn meal or bread stuffing for Chile's Relleno's is not tradional Mexican. I would buy some corn based empanada flour (Columbian empanada flour is quite good) and batter your peppers with this. The tamale stuffed pepper sounds tasty though.

                    1. re: JGrey

                      The restaurant in question uses actual small tamales -- masa filled with one of three different fillings -- and then stuffs them in the chiles. Looking at the picture ( ), it appears they split the chile lengthwise to insert the tamale. My recollection is that they use a fairly soft masa dough for the tamales.

                      1. re: JGrey

                        I think you would want to precook the stuffing, whether it is based on corn bread or a tamale. You don't want to cook the chile, before stuffing, or after, for more than about 10 minutes. In the classic relleno, the chile is partially cooked while removing the skin. Once stuffed it is cooked (fried) just long enough to melt the cheese and to brown the batter.

                        Come to think of it, there is a version of stuffed peppers that involves longer cooking - stuffed bell peppers. Though even with those the stuffing (ground meat etc) is precooked.


                      2. re: Ruth Lafler

                        Re the question to Carb Lover asking if she's going to make them.....And then invite us all to wolf them down?