Your best bet is to make the sauce in advance. It’s not difficult, but it does take some time and attention–just one less thing to worry about when dinnertime rolls around. You could substitute pre-made enchilada sauce if you’re really time crunched, but the fried garlic tomato sauce is traditional with chiles rellenos and really balances the richness of the cheesy filling and dense batter.
Fried garlic tomato sauce
- 2 lbs. roma tomatoes (6 to 8 medium)
- 4 T olive or vegetable oil
- 5 plump cloves garlic, not peeled
- 1 T finely chopped fresh oregano (or 1/2 t dried)
- Kosher or sea salt
- 1 1/2 C (or more) grated monterey jack cheese
- 4 to 6 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
- 8 poblano peppers
- 8 scallions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
- 3 T chopped cilantro
- 1/4 C all-purpose flour or fine cornmeal
- 1/2 T butter or oil, for greasing
- 3 large eggs, separated then brought to room temperature
- 1 C whole milk
- 1 T vegetable or olive oil
- 1/2 C all-purpose flour
- 1/2 C finely ground yellow cornmeal
- Ground black pepper
- Kosher or sea salt
Fried garlic tomato sauce
- Toss clean tomatoes with about 1/2 teaspoon oil to coat. Broil on a rimmed baking sheet close to heat for about 15 minutes, turning a few times and rotating the pan once, until blistered and charred in spots. Cool slightly, cut off tops, chop roughly, and transfer to a blender. While tomatoes roast, heat just enough oil to coat the bottom of a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic (with skins on) and toss to coat. Cover the pan and toast 10 to 15 minutes, shaking or stirring frequently, being careful of splatters when removing the lid. Once golden and soft, turn off heat, cool slightly, and remove peels. Add peeled garlic to blender with tomatoes and blend until very smooth.
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil in the same saucepan until very hot, then carefully pour in sauce (it will sizzle and steam). Stir in oregano and simmer about 10 minutes, or until reduced to desired thickness. Season with salt, and pepper if desired.
- Place cheeses in a medium mixing bowl at room temperature to soften.
- Broil dry chiles on a rimmed baking sheet 6 inches from heat for about 10 minutes, turning a few times, until blistered and soft but not completely blackened. Place in a plastic bag in a heatproof bowl and cover with a tray or dinner plate for 15 minutes. Use fingers to remove pepper skins, trying not to tear the chiles. Don’t worry about removing every last bit of skin, just most of it. Cut a slit about 75% of the length of each chile with a paring knife, creating an opening. Use fingers or a paring knife to remove most of the seeds and membranes from each. Set aside on the baking sheet.
- Add scallions, cilantro, and a little salt and pepper to cheese mixture and mash everything together with a fork. Turn mixture onto a cutting board, press together into a “cheese ball” with your hands, and cut into 8 equal wedges. Form each into a rough cone shape and place inside each chile. Fold cut sides of peppers over each other to close, then gently squeeze to form cheese to shape of the pepper. If you puncture or tear the chile, don’t worry about it. Put 1/4 cup flour or cornmeal into a shallow bowl and dredge each chile in it, patting off the excess. Arrange chiles in a buttered or oiled 9 x 13″ pan or similar sized baking dish. You can also place 1 or 2 chiles into ramekins.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees (F) while you make the batter. In the bowl used to steam the chiles, whisk together egg yolks, milk, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/2 cup each flour and cornmeal, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and some black pepper until smooth. In another very clean glass or metal bowl, use a hand mixer (or the whisk attachment of an electric mixer) to whip the egg whites until nearly stiff peaks form. This will take a while–5 minutes or so (see tips for whipping egg whites). Fold whites into batter mixture, then pour over chiles. Bake just above the middle of the oven for 20 minutes, until top begins to brown and batter is set. Cool about 5 minutes before serving with warm tomato sauce and extra minced cilantro.
By far, the most time consuming (and annoying!) part of the dish is “operating” on the chiles: peeling them and removing the insides while keeping the pepper intact. Try doing this, or everything except making the batter, in advance.
I haven’t tested non-dairy milk in this recipe, but it should work in equal quantity to dairy milk.
Instead of 1/2 cup each all-purpose and corn flour, the recipe should work with 1/3 cup each, reducing your grain/flour intake further.
- Prep Time: 1 hour 5 mins
- Cook Time: 55 mins
- Category: Entree
- Cuisine: Southwest