Chiles Rellenos

Relleno is the Spanish word for stuffed.  Fresh green poblano chiles are stuffed with meat or with cheese.  They are a tasty way to stretch the food budget so that a small amount of meat and cheese can feed a large family.  In the story shown here, 10 adult servings (one meat and one cheese) were made with about a pound and a half of ground beef and half a pound of cheese, and, of course, a pot of rice and a stack of fresh tortillas.

At the market Doņa Martha selected 20 large, firm poblano chiles without soft spots and with stems still attached. 

She fried the ground beef with a little chopped tomato and onion for filling half of the chiles.  The other 10 will be filled with grated cheese and onions -- just like the filling for enchiladas.

On this day daughter Martha is on hand to help start the process by charring the chiles to cook them and to remove the tough outer skin.

The chiles are laid directly over the fire and turned until they are completely blistered and the skin has begun to turn black.

When properly blackened, the chiles are placed in a bag to continue steaming/cooking until they are cool enough to handle.

When the chiles are cool, the charred skin is slipped off leaving a soft, deflated chile ready for stuffing.

Doņa Martha cuts a small slit in the side where the stuffing can be inserted.  

The soft chiles are easily torn, so she must take care to handle them gently while stuffing in the meat and cheese.

Some cooks remove the seeds to reduce the heat factor; she does not.

Some cooks insert chunks of cheese; she prefers grated cheese with chopped onions.  Sometimes she makes a filling of frijoles and cheese which I really like.

Tooth picks are used to close the opening so the filling will not spill during handling and frying.

She prepares an egg batter by beating eggs whites until they are very stiff.  Then the yokes are stirred in.

The chiles are dredged in flour and then dipped into the egg batter on the way to the frying pan.

They are turned in the hot vegetable oil until they are a light brown on all sides.

Served with rice and fresh tortillas, they make a wonderful, hearty meal!  Number one on my list.

If you wish to write to Doņa Martha, you may send an e-mail to
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