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Sep 10, 2007 12:27 AM

What kind of chile relleno is this?

I usually think of a chile relleno as a Poblano pepper, stuffed with cheese, dipped in an egg batter and fried. The Mexican place I just went to served me a relleno that consisted of part of a bell pepper, stuffed with cheap awful-tasting ground beef, topped with equally cheap cheese, and baked. It was terrible. The sad thing is other places have tried to foist this cheap imitation on me. What's up?

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  1. Aynrandgirl, to me that sounds like a plain old stuffed pepper. Even Don Pablos will serve you the relleno as you described with a Poblano.

    1 Reply
    1. re: AlyKen

      The restaurant I went to wasn't a chain. Do they figure the stupid gringos won't know the difference? For one thing, poblanos aren't exactly spicy but they're a lot more flavorful than the baked bells they used, which are practically flavorless.

    2. Just had a chile relleno in Huatusco, Mexico, at the Sunday street market: filled with pig's foot. The "normal" was better.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

        I'm in Mexico now, also, and we're just coming into chiles en nogada season- can't get enough of them!

        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

          was it s pickled foot? Roasted and fried pepper? or simply roasted? Caldillo?

          1. re: kare_raisu

            The foot was just cooked down to tenderness, stuffed into a pepper; the whole dipped in batter and then fried. I took photos and talked to cooks in their homes and comedors these last couple of trips to Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Mexico. The chile rellenos, however, were prepped at home and brought to the market, so I couldn't get photos of the process.

        2. That is what my mom used to make and call "stuffed peppers."

          I sometimes make chiles rellenos at home with poblanos with a mixed vegetable stuffing (corn, sweet potato, onion, etc) and no batter frying. Just baked with a tomatillo sauce. Something lighter and different.

          1. The stuffed pepper relleno is the type that I recall growning up in Houston before they figured out the poblano variety. Here in central Mexico, rellenos are filled with just about anything and dipped in a very thin egg batter and fried. My favorites are chilies en nogada and chilies with refritos and chorizo. The cheese is put on after the thin tomato sauce and geneally doesn't melt.

            1. Many years ago it was common to use bell peppers for Chile Rellenos. My mother loved the dish; she made few attempts to cook Mexican food, but she did that one. After the publication of Diana Kennedy's Cuisines of Mexico in 1973, restauranteurs had to move to more authentic ingredients. There may still be some restaurants around that use bell pepper around here but they will be very old establishments catering to an earlier era. Today, poblanos are as common in supermarkets as green bell peppers add more common than red or yellow bell peppers.

              Chili relleno does not have to be made with a poblano; some are made with other chile peppers such as Anaheim or New Mexican.

              1 Reply
              1. re: brucesw

                As much disdain as I have for bell peppers.... just about any kind of chile can be used to make a chile relleno... and is used within Mexico. However... not all are created equal... and some are specialized.

                It should suffice to say... that while Bell Peppers (Chile Morron) aren't entirely unknown in Mexican kitchens they are a sign of one of two things:

                > The audience are Gachupines aka Criollos aka descendents of Spaniards that still relate greatly to Spain.


                > There is other freaking Chile around... and well you have to stoop sometimes!