A chile relleno (CHEE-leh rrehYEH-noh) is simply a stuffed chili. Although Anaheim and Poblano chilies are used most commonly for this dish, you can choose your chili (Bell, Banana, Cherry, Peperonicini), depending on the heat you like. Anaheims are pretty mild, although I'll admit to biting into a few over the years that had some heat. Poblanos are a little hotter than Anaheims.
I used Anaheim chilies for this recipe because I happened to find some long and rather straight ones at the store. Sometimes they are pretty curled up, which makes it difficult to roast and stuff them.
Begin by roasting the chilies. Save yourself some cleanup time by lining a pan with foil. Turn the broiler on high and place the pan on the highest rack in the oven. You'll hear the chilies hiss and pop as they roast. Keep an eye on them, turning them as necessary with tongs until they are charred all over. This will about take 15-20 minutes.
When the chilies have roasted, remove them from the oven and using a tongs, put them in a bag. You can use a paper bag, or a heavy Ziploc bag. Leave the chilies on the counter for 15-20 minutes so they can steam and cool off. When they're cool enough to handle, remove each one from the bag and peel the skin off, which should happen easily. Don't worry about a spot here and there where the skin won't come off.
The chilies will tear easily, so be gentle in removing the skin. After removing the charred skins from the chilies, I like to put them on a plate and refrigerate them for a bit. It seems like they're not so fragile after refrigeration. In fact, since this recipe is fairly time-consuming, so I usually roast the chilies and make the salsa the day before I'm going to fry them. That way I can get all the roasting, chopping, and dirty dishes done beforehand.
Just as you can choose your chili to make the rellenos, you can choose your stuffing using picadillo, shrimp, beans... whatever you'd like. I always use just cheese, because it's my favorite!
Whether you do the entire process in one day or two, when you're ready to fry the chilies, first prepare the cheese. You can use whatever cheese you like... I like the Cheddar/Monterey Jack combo. Yes, you could use shredded cheese, but the sticks of cheese are much easier to insert into the chilies without them tearing.
Using a small knife, make a slit at the top of the chilies and insert the sticks of cheese. I don't bother removing the seeds, but if you'd rather, use a small spoon to scoop out as many as you can, being careful not to tear the chilies too much.
Separate the eggs and whip the whites to stiff peaks.
In another bowl, beat the yolks with a little flour, then pour the yolks into the whites...
... and stir to combine.
Roll the chilies in a little flour and dip them into the egg mixture. It's a messy process - you'll have to get your hands in there to help the egg mixture adhere to the chilies. You can see a few places that aren't coated... that's okay. If you get too much of the egg mixture on the chilies, they'll be way too bready after they're fried.
Put about an inch of vegetable oil in a large frying pan and heat until a drop of water sizzles in the oil. Using a spatula, gently place the chilies in the hot oil and fry until the bottom half is browned. Turn the chilies (made easier by using a spatula and spoon... or two spatulas) and fry the other side until browned. This won't take long. The chilies have already been cooked by roasting and steaming them. At this point, we just want to brown them.I line a pan with paper towels and let the chilies drain. Since I fried these the morning before we were going to eat them for dinner, I covered them with paper towels and put them in the fridge.
When you're ready to serve the rellenos, bring the salsa to a boil. Put a couple rellenos on a plate and cover with a bit of shredded cheese, then microwave for a minute to a minute-and-a-half... until the rellenos are hot and the cheese on top has melted. Remove from the microwave and ladle some salsa over the rellenos. Serve with rice and beans, sit down and enjoy!
The salsa is excellent spooned over fried eggs. You can also make a chile relleno burrito. Heat up a relleno and fold it in a warm flour tortilla (with or without beans and rice). Put the burrito on a plate and spoon some salsa over it.