Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Grilled Chile Rellenos

My husband grew up in Texas and went to medical school in San Antonio, so he's had the privilege of sampling some dang-golly-good Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine.

Me, not so much. North Dakota didn't have much to offer growing up; I don't think we even had a Taco John's. And you'd think Colorado would have at least some decent offerings--I mean, we're not that far from Texas and Mexico, but I've eaten some incredibly shitty food here. When I get down to Denver (which is, actually, never) I have maybe a 5% chance of finding authentic and edible Mexican food.

Okay, rant about lack of good Mexican cuisine in the Rockies over. Sorry.

Anyways, my husband loves nothing more than a good chile rellenos. When he heads back to the Lone Star State, that's always one of the first things on his mind. Note that I said good chile rellenos. When done properly (which apparently darn few people know how to do) chile rellenos makes you groan and roll your eyes in ecstasy. Shitty chile rellenos? You'll groan and you'll roll your eyes, but it's not 'cause you're blissed out, lemme tell ya. Shitty chile rellenos=colon bomb.

I'd love to make chile rellenos for my husband, but I don't fry. Hot oil scares the heck out of me. I don't know how my grandmother Henrietta fried chicken almost every day of her married life, but I applaud her bravery.

Plus, my dear husband has high cholesterol, and I really, really, want him to stay on this planet for a long time. So where fried food is concerned, I'm kind of the Food Gestapo. He probably sneaks it behind my back, but when I'm present, he's allowed to eat it maybe twice a year. And yeah, I know I'm no fun, so shut up.

I made a great discovery the other day. The cool folks at Weber make a cookbook! A pretty darn good one! It's called Weber's Way to Grill, by Jamie Purviance, and it tells you how to grill just about anything. Sorry Bobby Flay, I am now two-timing your ass.

The Weber Grill Cookbook has a recipe for Grilled Chile Rellenos. Genius! Of course, I had to mess with the recipe and alter the heck out of it, because I cannot leave well enough alone, but we were all quite pleased.

Here's the recipe (with my modifications):
Grilled Chile Rellenos
modified from Weber's Way to Grill by Jamie Purviance
serves 6

6 large poblano chile peppers
1 cup grated pepper jack cheese
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup crumbled fresh goat cheese
2 idaho potatoes, scrubbed and pricked with a fork
1/3 cup salsa
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
salt and pepper to taste

Bake the potatoes at 350 degrees for an hour; cool and scoop out potato from shells, reserve. Discard potato skins.

Heat the grill to medium. Place poblano chile peppers directly on the grill with the lid open until the skins are blackened and blistered all over, 10 to 15 minutes, turning occasionally. (The goal is to char the skins quickly so that you can peel them without the chiles collapsing. You will need chiles with enough structure, even when roasted, to hold the filling).

They'll look something like this--although I think I'd even blacken them some more next time.

Place charred chiles in a large bowl; cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow chiles to steam, about 10 minutes.

Gently peel and discard the skin from the chiles. Leaving the stems intact, carefully cut a slit down one side of each chile and remove and discard the seeds and veins.

In a medium bowl, combine the potato, salsa, chopped jalapenos, cheeses, ancho chile powder, salt and pepper.

Carefully stuff the chiles with the filling mixture. Brush chiles with olive oil.

Grill the stuffed chiles, seam side up, over indirect medium heat, with the lid closed, until the cheese melts, about 6-8 minutes. Alternatively, you can just pop them under the broiler until the cheese melts.

The original recipe didn't call for potato in the filling, but I wanted a dish that was more substantial. Read: Dana's ass is too lazy to make more than one thing, so she's trying to turn these into a heartier, more entree-like dish.

I actually thought of this because another of my hubby's favorite things are samosa and dosa, which are Indian dishes using spiced mashed potatoes.

Prepping the chiles really isn't as hard as it sounds. Just make sure you sufficiently blacken and char the skins and steam for enough time. In retrospect, I think I would have let mine steam another 5 minutes because they were a leeetle tricky to peel. In fact, I only got about half the skin off the peppers. It didn't really matter, though. Honestly, next time I might not peel them at all.

Wham-o! I hit this out of the ballpark! Everyone loved them (except for the little girls, who do not like spice in their food). Very delicious vegetarian chile rellenos. Not Texas-fried-good, mind you, but reasonably healthy and quite flavorful. Not bad for a North Dakota girl!


  1. I LOVE Mexican food. My hubby eats so much Mexican food that I am surprised he has not erased his Scottish heritage. We have THE most awesome Mexican restaurant by us, a tiny little place with only 5 tables. I had a taco so good there that I dreamed about it afterwards, and I am not joking. Then Chicago Mag wrote about this place and our secret is out and they are thinking about expanding. The HORROR!!

    Anyhow, that wedding shower I wrote about this week? My brother got this same cookbook as a gift along with some grilling tools. Looks like I know what I am asking him to make me when we visit next!

  2. P.S. I read Julie and Julia this week and loved it! I couldn't stop reading it so of course nothing around here got done until I finished it. You could totally pull something like that off and get all famous and stuff. You really could.

  3. Ok, Gibby, you have to share the Mex restaurant in Chicago for when I go in November. And I agree with your P.S. TKW you could totally do it. And I can't wait to see the movie!

  4. Y'all are so sweet! Gibby--do NOT miss out on the grilled pizza recipe in that book. We made them for family dinner nite this week and they were ama-zing.

    I wish you guys lived near me because I have a feeling I'm going to be seeing that movie by myself. But I still can't wait!

  5. This recipe is so up my alley- if only I could get Mexican ingredients! A cruel tick of fate....bloody Australia

  6. So... when are you coming to visit me? You know, we have no shortage of GREAT (not just good) Mexican food in Chicago).

    And Gibby, do tell us the name of the restaurant!

  7. You make the BEST food.

    (We finally made those yogurt pops for breakfast and they went over HUGE. Thanks again!)

  8. Tamar, when will you have me?

    Ck: my only wish for you is that your yogurt pops didn't end up melted on the trampoline, which ours did. Sticky, sticky.

  9. Camilla, what do you need over there? Is it shippable?

  10. The restaurant I am talking about is Bien Trucha. The bad news is that it is in Geneva, IL, a western suburb about 45 mins from city. But if you have the time, it is well worth it! They don't take reservations (since they only have 5 tables), so if you don't like waiting, try going on an off time.

  11. The Loop in CO Springs makes the best authentic mole I have ever had in a restuarant. And they make a mean Margarita, too. Co Springs is kind of closer than Denver - for us at least cos we've been there more times than we've been to Denver, which is once - to Masala. You might want to head to Masala with hubby, after peeing in Taco Bell across the street, cos their dosas are really good. My dosas are much smaller and not as crisp.

  12. Never heard of these but they sound yum - are the fairly hot? They look like fairly large chilli's too - I haven't seen any that size over here...

  13. Dana, ANY time!!! Come visit me!!!

  14. So glad you posted this! We grilled chilis on a whim last weekend and ate them on brats. (Sounds weird. Tasted good.) But the whole time I was thinking "I need a recipe for chili rellenos." Presto!

  15. Thank you for this recipe, I am going to try it tonight. I also would rather not fry things, and my boyfriend is a vegetarian. We try and grill a lot, but nothing ever seems worth the time and effort of grilling without the meat--particularly because we're from Chicago(hi Gibby!) and recently moved out to Maryland/Washington, DC and for some reason, the corn here is not as good as in the midwest. Anyway, I'm excited to try this out and I really enjoyed reading your post and your writing style Dana!

  16. Awesome! I was looking for a way to preserve the goodness of chiles rellenos without all the fat...and I want to get all our food on the grill tonight. Thank you!

  17. I found your site from a search on grilling poblano for chili rellenos. These turned out really good.