Chiles Rellenos, or stuffed chiles, is a classic Mexican recipe from the city of Puebla. A stop along the route on the journey from the port of Veracruz to Mexico City, Puebla was influenced by Europe's passing visitors inspiring cuisine that mixed the best of both continents. The first mention of the recipe is from 1858.
With a delicate meringue coating and a cheesy interior, the robust flavor of the fresh chile shines through in this archaic dish. This dish is a bit labor intensive, but it is so versatile in terms of what you can stuff inside the chile, I often make this for my vegetarian friends.
4 Poblano chiles, fresh and stem intact
2 garlic cloves
1 white onion slice, 1/2 inch
3 Guajillo chiles
3 Puya chiles
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
3 allspice berries
1 inch piece canela (Mexican cinnamon)
2 cups vegetable oil
Oaxaca or Monterrey Jack cheese, 8 ounces sliced
1/4 cup flour
Over a high flame charr the Poblano chiles until the skin is blackened. Be sure to charr every area of the chile or else the skin will stick leaving a tough exterior. Place the chiles in a bowl and cover with a plate until they are cool enough to handle. Slide the skin off the chile and leave the stem intact. Set aside.
Over medium-high heat, roast the tomatoes, garlic, onion slice on a comal until charred and fragrant - place in blender. Toast the chiles over the comal until fragrant and a darker shade of red being careful not to burn them - place in blender. Add the oregano, allspice, canela and 1 cup of water to the jar and blend for 4 minutes, alternating speed to ensure that no large skin pieces remain. Pass the liquid through a strainer into a sauce pot over medium heat. Salt accordingly and cook for 30 minutes until the liquid has reduced by half.
Separate the eggs and reserve two of the yolks. Whisk the meringue to soft peaks and slowly add the egg yolks, one at a time. Heat the vegetable oil to 350 degrees.
Slit the chiles in the center and add the cheese slices. Dredge the filled chiles into the flour mixture, coating the entire outside surface. Gently lay the chiles, one at a time, in the meringue and fold the mixture over, covering the entire chile. Lay the chiles into the oil and fry until golden brown on each side. Remove to a towel to collect the excess grease.
Laddle the tomato-chile sauce into a bowl and lay the chile relleno on top. Serve with rice and beans on the side.