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The Great Relleno Chile controversy...

Okay. I've been very vocal about how awful chile rellenos made with potblano chiles taste, but... A friend dropped by and made some for me as a surprise the other day. They'd have been cold if she'd cooked them at home. She brought both poblano and "Anaheim/Hatch" chiles because she'd heard me desparage poblanos. And to my great amazement, the poblanos DID have a much nicer flavor than the Anaheims! Whoda thunk it?

But this was also the very first time I've ever ever ever had them prepared properly! She broiled them until black and blistered, sweated them, peeled them, stuffed them, whipped the batter with a wire whisk because she says it tastes better than using an electric mixer (what an arm!), then fried them in peanut oil.

Now, I have had chiles rellenos in no less than five different Mexican restaurants since moving to Plano three years ago. And this is the FIRST time I've had poblano peppers properly prepped! (Peter Piper's Peppers have nothing on me!) EVERY stuffed poblano I have ever had in a restaurant in this area was closer to a stuffed rib of raw celery, they were that crunch and totally unprepped. I even called one restaurant before going to ask whether they charred and peeled their peppers before stuffing them and I was assured they ALWAYS do...! They lied to me. They lied to me big time.

So I'm making this public admission that I was wrong on this board just in case I have argued with anyone who would miss it on the Texas board. But it sure says a lot about the restaurants I've been going to, doesn't it? And they've been "better' restaurants, as opposed to holes-in-the-wall, that charged from nine to eleven bucks for ONE chile relleno, rice and beans on their LUNCH menu! Great to have friends who will go to such extremes to educate me. I'm a happy camper! Not about the area restaurants. About finally having delicious stuffed poblano peppers....! '-)

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  1. Wow. I've never had a relleno that wasn't toasted and peeled. I wonder if it is part of the weird trend in some restaurants to serve people undercooked vegetables. Either that, or they are too lazy to do the work.

    Welcome to the world of delicious, skinned poblanos!

    1. I've had the good fortune to have chiles rellenos prepared for me in several homes in Mexico and while I can't swear to the type of chiles they used (so many names of chiles differ seemingly almost from town to town) I can attest to having greatly enjoyed what I thought were poblanos. I even made them once with a Mexican friend in DF and we used a method very similar to the one you describe to achieve meltingly delicious results. No "bones ' in my chiles rellenos please, no matter what kind of chiles you use :-).

      1. For "company" I char peppers over a gas flame on the stovetop and remove the skin; and fry the rellenos. For myself, I don't skin and don't fry--but do them in the oven. The chiles get properly cooked and the result is much lighter. The batter should be beaten by hand, and not overbeaten.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

          Interesting! Thanks, Sam. Baking in the oven makes sense, even though I do like the smokiness that charring gives. I did bring one of the restaurant "celery" rellenos home with me (eleven dollars for the sucker!) and tried nuking it, but even though it got softer, it didn't taste better. But it may taste better when you cook it that way from scratch. But if it's me making them, it's either a hand mixer for the batter or the chiles get dipped in scrambled eggs! '-)

        2. Sorry to hear that restaurants in your area are so clueless about preparing poblanos.

          Do any of the restaurants stuff poblanos with picadillo or other non-cheese stuffings?
          The long green Anaheim/New Mexico chiles are not easy to stuff with anything but cheese.

          I can see charging more for chiles rellenos since they are labor intensive, but they don't have to be battered. Sam F. is right, oven baking/roasting will produce a decent if not optimal result.

          2 Replies
          1. re: DiveFan

            Yes! Lots of rellenos stuffed with picadillo and such, and a lot of rasins and nuts kind of things too. Some of the menus make them sound more like Christmas eve sweet tamales in a chile than what I think of as a chile re4lleno. My first preference is for cheese. I think it compliments the chile without overwhelmint it, or reducing it to a "natural casing" function. But to each his or her own! '-)

            1. re: DiveFan

              Non-cheese stuffings? I mentioned before that the last chiles relleno I had in Huatusco, Veracruz, were filled with pig's feet.

            2. Apology accepted. I defended the worthiness of poblanos in the earlier thread, and will until the vacas (cows) come come.
              Try including some seasoned sauteed shrimp pieces with the cheese filling. And we are only 2 months from chiles en nogada season! Buen provecho.

              9 Replies
              1. re: Veggo

                I also accept the apology... but I am now deeply saddened that it took you this long in life to enjoy a decent Chile Relleno. I think you really need to make a trip down the Central & Southern Mexico to erase decades of depravation.

                1. re: Veggo

                  Bravo for defending poblanos, but there is no defending the Dallas/Plano restaurants that serve them raw!

                  I Googled a recipe for chiles en nogada (http://tinyurl.com/4tnk2) and they look like mucho trabajo! Maybe if a restaurant near me... scratch that! Maybe a friend will take pity on me? Again! '-)

                  1. re: Caroline1

                    Querida Caroline,: it's true that authentic chiles en nogada preparation is a day and a half labor of love. I hope I can speak in concert with Eat Nopal and other aggrieved, sensitive hounds whose injured hearts and souls are only beginning to mend after your full frontal assault on poblano peppers a few months ago.
                    We hope that you feel a sufficient sense of contrition and guilt that you will conclude, by way of your own clear thinking, that the best way to cleanse, purge, and revitalize a new beginning for yourself, is to invite us all for a dinner of your handcrafted chiles en nogada.

                    Respetamente, Veggo

                    P.S. -Eat Nopal, this probably won't work, but it's the best Tom Sawyerin' I could come up with :)

                    1. re: Veggo

                      LOL!

                      Dear "Tom," Nopal, et al... If you guys are willing to travel all this way to have some poblanos with pomegranite seeds while I feast on Humble Pie, come onna my house, my house... I'm gonna feed you chiles and nuts and a pomegranite too!* '-)

                      * With apologies to George Clooney's Aunt Rosemary

                      1. re: Caroline1

                        I understand she really hated that song.

                          1. re: Caroline1

                            here's a CR story: as a thank you to really gracious neighbors spend all day making them but use a too hot variety, don't remove all the seeds and when one guest (and rather heat adverse) starts waving and gasping, hand her the nearest glass of scotch on the rocks.

                            it WASN'T on purpose. I felt awful. it was just the closest glass.

                            it took a while to live that one down.

                            1. re: hill food

                              Oh, god. Did the neighbor ever forgive you? On the other hand, you can always write a comedy.

                              No matter what they claim in their chile "breeding" projects at New Mexico State University, I have never trusted a chile to be mild, no matter what their horticulturists claim. Seems to me that how hot a chile is is the plant's primary defense system for protecting itself, and it just stands to reason that when you try to disarm it, it's going to do its damndest to re-arm. (Sam, do you think I'm nuts? <g>)

                              When I make anything with chiles, I taste each and every one of them, especially when making rellenos! But even that isn't reliable. In our family it is long known that if my ex-husband or daughter claim a salsa is mild, it will scorch my son's and my mouth like gargling with napalm! And the reverse is also true. Trusting a chile to be mild is about as smart as going on a camping trip with Hannibal Lecter! '-)

                              1. re: Caroline1

                                One year I grew the hybrid Big Chili, which is sort of a New Mexico type. The heat varied all over the place. In one case two picked from the same plant the same day at the same stage of maturity varied from mild to moderately hot. You never knew what you were going to get with this cultivar.