I grew up eating battered and fried chiles rellenos, stuffed mostly with gooey cheese. I still love them, but when I found a rare copy of the out-of-print Los Chiles Rellenos en Mexico by Mexico City’s brilliant Ricardo Muñoz Zurita, I was inspired to think beyond deep-frying and experiment with baked poblano chiles. The baking intensifies the flavor, something deep-frying doesn’t do. Poblanos have a thick, meaty quality and a denser flavor than bell peppers. Occasionally you get one with some heat, but normally they are mild.–Steve Sando and Vanessa Barrington
LC Baked Not Fried Note
Don’t mistake these chiles rellenos for potato chips. What we mean by that is just because the chiles are baked, not fried, doesn’t mean they’re not compelling in their own right. They’re really quite lovely. That couldn’t be further from the truth for baked potato chips. Ugh.
Rancho Gordo's Chiles Rellenos
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In a dry, heavy skillet over medium-high heat, cook the onion, garlic, and chiles, turning occasionally, until they char. You’ll need to keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. Remove the vegetables as they finish cooking. The garlic will take the longest. When the garlic cloves are cool enough to handle, peel them.
Toss the onion, garlic, chiles, tomatoes, cilantro, and lime juice in a small food processor or blender and pulse until roughly chopped. Season to taste with salt. (The salsa will keep for 1 week in the refrigerator.)
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
In a heavy skillet over medium heat, saute the onion and chorizo until the onion is soft and the chorizo is cooked through, about 10 minutes. The chorizo should have enough fat, but if the mixture seems dry, add a little oil. Add the wild rice, gently toss, and cook just until heated through. Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro.
Cut a slit down the length of each chile and remove the seeds. Carefully fill each chile with 1/4 cup refried beans, followed by 1/4 of the chorizo mixture. Place the chiles on a baking sheet, slit side up, and sprinkle 1/4 cup cheese over the stuffing.
Bake until the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes. Spoon 1/2 cup salsa on each plate and top with the chiles rellenos.
Rancho Gordo's Chiles Rellenos Recipe © 2008 Steve Sando. Photo © 2008 Sara Remington. All rights reserved. All materials used with permission.