Style at a Certain Age is a lifestyle blog by Beth Djalali dedicated to aging with grace, strength, and beauty.
Hi friends! I am super excited about today’s recipe. The idea for it comes from my Dad, who lives in Northern California. Each year, he and his wife count the days until it’s Hatch chile season. So this year when he told me they got their shipment from New Mexico, I had to wonder if I would be able to get them easily in Athens, Georgia. Well, I was able to get them locally. (thank you, Trader Joe’s!) So today, it’s my take on Chile Relleno.
Hatch chiles are similar to Anaheim chiles, but are native to the Hatch Valley in New Mexico. They are prized for their spicy sweet flavor and you can get them in a range from hot to mild. Mild is best for making chile relleno. So if you can’t find them, an Anaheim chile will work just fine.
I am going a little rogue with this Mexican dish: I am stuffing them with chorizo and jack cheese, and adding panko to the breading for a nice crispy crust.
But first I need to roast the chiles. I cut their tops off, set them out on a sheet tray and broiled them on each side until they were bubbly and had a nice char to them. Just put them in and keep an eye on them, they go pretty quick.
Then put them in a Ziplock for just 15 minutes and the steam will soften the chile so they are easy to peel.
Then, carefully peel off the skin and remove the seeds. I didn’t bother with removing them altogether, I just got rid of the main cluster of them at the top of each chile.
I had some leftover grilled tomatoes from Joojeh Kabob we made over the weekend, so I took those charred grilled tomatoes and I pureed them with two of the smallest roasted Hatch chiles I had. Then I rough chopped one yellow onion, 5 cloves of fresh garlic, and a good handful of cilantro (stems and leaves) in the food processor. I also added a glug of olive oil.
I mixed the onion, garlic, cilantro mixture into the tomatoes and added lime juice (half a lime) and Kosher salt to taste. Set it aside to let the flavors hang out a bit.
Then it’s on to the chorizo. This is Mexican chorizo which is a soft sausage. It comes in a casing that you remove and cook it like ground meat. I am using 8 ounces of chorizo. The brand I get is portioned out in 2 ounce sausage links, but otherwise you can make the whole package and save what you don’t use for breakfast tomorrow! Chorizo and eggs in a tortilla is THE BEST breakfast. (just sayin’)
The chorizo cooks pretty quickly over medium high heat. It’s done when the texture is crumbly and it’s slightly more brown than red. Use a slotted spoon to remove chorizo from the pan and let it drain on a few folded paper towels.
I am using pre-shredded Monterey Jack cheese. To make filling the chiles easier, I mixed my shredded cheese with the cooked chorizo ahead. This made the possibility of tearing the chile as I filled it less of an issue.
For toppings, I have chopped cilantro, sliced scallion, avocado and Cotija cheese. All of this is optional, but really goes nicely, especially with the roasted tomato salsa.
Take your chile and slice a slit down the center. If you can, try not to cut it all the way to the bottom. Only go as far as you have to to get filling into the bottom without compromising the chile.
My mixture is pretty crumbly so I decided to hedge and use toothpicks to help keep it closed.
Set up your breading station right to left: prepared chiles; then in shallow bowls, ½ – 1 cup all purpose flour, 1-2 beaten eggs, ½ -1 cup panko. Then finally, a sheet tray with a wire rack placed inside.
A note on the ratios: I usually go for the higher quantities for the dredge because nothing is worse than having to break your assembly stride to beat more egg. So I used: 2 eggs, 1 cup flour and 1 cup panko. I definitely had leftover, but that was ok.
Also think ahead on your fry station set up. Go right to left. I have my breaded chiles; then my dutch oven filled with about a ½ inch of grapeseed oil, heating to 350 degrees. I turn my burner on low to get the oil going while I fill and bread my chiles. Then I turn the burner up to medium high once I am ready with the chiles.
Then I have my landing tray: another sheet tray lined with a wire rack. This will keep your rellenos from getting soggy bottoms while they cool.
If you don’t already have one, you must get a fish spatula for a job like this. It is life-changing! Another great tool is a pair of large chef’s tweezer-style tongs. They have a very pointy tip which makes turning the chiles much easier because you don’t have gangly tong tips accidentally scraping off any of your panko crust. Also, have your handy thermometer to read the oil temp.
When your oil is hot, gently lay in one chile at a time, with a maximum of two in the pot. after about 3 minutes, check the bottoms, and if they are golden brown flip them over.
To flip: in your right hand use your fish spatula to lift up one side of the chile. With your left hand use your tongs to gently help scoot the chile onto the fish spatula. With your fish spatula hand, slowly flip the chile over onto the tong arms and then gently pull out your tongs from under the chile.
Repeat this process for the four chiles.
Once slightly cool, pull out your toothpicks and plate up your Hatch Chile Rellenos!
You guys, I have to say I haven’t made these before because they have never been my favorite Mexican dish. I think usually at restaurants, they’re always too cheesy and too soggy. But when my Dad got all excited about making chile relleno with his Hatch chiles, I had to try my hand at it.
Dad, if you’re reading this, thank you so much for today’s recipe inspiration! And thank you, everyone for spending some of your Saturday with me this week. Don’t forget you can find me on Instagram and Facebook too! Take care everyone, be well. xo Kelly
Purèe tomatoes and Hatch chiles to a chunky salsa consistency. Transfer to a bowl and set aside
Rough chop onion. Peel and smash garlic cloves. Add cilantro, onions, garlic and olive oil to food processor. Process to a chunky salsa consistency.
Stir onion garlic mixture into tomato chile mixture, add lime juice and season with Kosher salt to taste.
Broil chiles until they are blistered and charred on both sides. Put chiles in a Ziplock and let them steam for 15 minutes.
Cut off chile stems and remove seeds. Carefully peel the charred skin off of the chiles. Set aside.
Cook your chorizo until the sausage is crumbly and browned. Using a slotted spoon transfer the chorizo to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
Prepare your dredge station with shallow bowls with flour, egg and panko.
Prepare your fry station with 1/2" grapeseed or vegetable oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven. Turn your burner on low.
Mix your cooked chorizo and cheese and set near your dredge station.
Slice each chile down the center only long enough to easily fill with filling. Gently fill each chile with filling and close the chile with toothpicks. Repeat with each chile.
One chile at a time, carefully dredge each chile in the flour, then the egg, then the panko.
Turn up the heat on your burner to medium high to get the oil to 350 degrees. Then carefully place two chiles in the oil, frying for about 3-5 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Adjust burner temp to maintain 350 degrees. Repeat for remaining chiles.
Remove toothpicks from each chile, plate with toppings and whatever sides you like.