Classic chiles rellenos are green chiles, blackened and outer skin removed, stuffed with either cheese or a pork sausage picadillo, dipped in batter, fried in oil, and often served with a thin tomato sauce. I grew up loving the chiles rellenos my mother made for us. The only problem is that they are a bit tricky to make; they can sometimes get soggy with the oil. And they can be a bit rich with all that frying. This recipe for a chile relleno casserole skips the steps of dipping in batter and frying, and instead bakes the stuffed chiles in an egg batter. The recipe is based on one from Sunset Magazine; our main adjustment to the original is to include a tomato sauce base to the casserole. To us, chiles rellenos just taste better with a light tomato sauce, and they do in this casserole as well.
Feel free to play around with the stuffing, Mexican chorizo is great for this, but we've also used hot Louisiana pork sausage. Or you can skip the pork all together and just use a jack cheese stuffing. Note that this casserole serves 8; you can easily cut the ingredients in half and use an 8x8 dish for the casserole.
- 8 poblano chiles
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 28-ounce can tomatoes
- 1 pound Mexican chorizo (or other spicy sausage)
- 1 cup crumbled cotija cheese
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano leaves
- 12 eggs
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 cup Monterey jack or mild cheddar cheese, shredded
1 Preheat broiler. Lay chiles in a single layer on a broiling pan (not a baking sheet that will warp in the heat of the broiler) or on a rack in a roasting pan. Position the the chilies one to two inches from the broiler element. Cook until chiles are blistering and black, a few minutes on all sides. Turn chiles over and broil until blistering and black all over. Alternatively, you can blacken the chilies directly over a gas burner. Put chilies in a paper bag or thick plastic bag. Let sit 15 minutes.
2 While the chilies are cooling, heat olive oil in a large sautée pan, on medium. Add the chopped onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a minute more. Add the tomatoes (break up any whole tomatoes before adding to the pan). Add a pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer and lower the heat to low. Gently simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
3 Carefully peel and discard the blackened skin off of the chilies. Cut off the stem ends, remove the seeds and discard. Set chiles aside on a layer of paper towels to dry.
4 In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, cook chorizo, stirring occasionally to break up the meat, until cooked through, about 4 minutes.
5 Preheat oven to 375°. Pour tomato sauce into the bottom of an 8x12 inch baking dish (the tomato sauce should be the consistency of a thin spaghetti sauce. If it is too thick, thin it out with a little water).
6 In a large bowl, mix chorizo, cotija, and oregano. Stuff chiles with sausage mixture and lay them on top of the tomato sauce in the pan.
7 In a large bowl, whisk the eggs thoroughly. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, and a pinch of salt. Sprinkle chiles with half of the jack or cheddar cheese. Pour egg mixture over chiles and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
8 Bake until top starts to brown and the eggs are set but still soft, about 30 minutes.