A traditional chile relleno is a poblano pepper stuffed with cheese (or meat or beans), covered in an egg batter and deep fried. If that is what you are looking for, click here. But if you're wanting the melt-y cheese factor without the frying, or if you're wanting a make-ahead recipe to use a bumper crop of peppers, read on.
My go-to recipe for a Baked Chile Relleno (or a Stuffed Pepper) is more about the fabulous summer produce than the fried coating and the cheese: Fresh corn and pepper with just enough Monterey Jack cheese to hold it together and give it a tang. As with any stuffed-vegetable dish, this is infinitely variable. My husband likes peppers filled with a mixture of shredded chicken and rice cooked with chorizo. I hope you will play around with the basic method and find your favorite Baked Chiles Rellenos recipe.
(Baked) Chile Rellenos
Serve as a side to grilled meats, or as a main dish accompanied by frijoles.
Garnish with sour cream and cilantro, if desired.
Too hot too heat up the oven in the summer? No problem. Set stuffed peppers together seam side up on a large sheet of aluminium foil (or in a disposable foil pan). Wrap tightly with foil and cook over a medium to medium-hot grill approx 30 minutes, until chiles are hot and cheese is melted.
8 fresh poblano peppers or sweet yellow peppers
canola oil, 1-2 tablespoons
2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1/2 a medium red onion, diced finely, about 1 cup
2 ears corn, removed from the cob
2 springs fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, cut into logs.
With a sharp knife, cut a slit from the crown almost to the bottom of each pepper. Set peppers in a large pot with lid. Pour boiling water over peppers to cover. Hold peppers under water by weighting them with a salad plate. Cover pot with lid. Let sit approximately 20 minutes. This step softens the peppers for filling without out having to char and peel each one individually.
Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet over medium to medium high heat. Add garlic and onion and a pinch of salt. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add corn, oregano and salt and pepper to taste and sauté an additional 3 to 5 minutes to bring out the flavor in the corn.
Preheat oven to 400º.
Drain water from peppers. Let sit until cool enough to handle. You can speed this process by rinsing the peppers in cold water or by using rubber gloves when handling peppers (which is a good idea when handling spicy peppers anyway). Carefully insert the blade of a paring knife or a spoon into the slit in the pepper and scrape out seeds. I find that rinsing under cool water helps the seeds come out. Try not to tear the flesh of the pepper.
Squeeze top and bottom of pepper to open the slit and stuff it: First an ounce of cheese, then spoon the onion-corn mixture over the cheese. Use the spoon or your fingers to pack the stuffing in well. You want to pepper stuffed full, as the filling will cook down just a bit, but you don't want the pepper gaping open. Set peppers in a greased baking dish, seam side up.
Bake at 400º about 25 minutes, until filling is heated through and cheese is melted.
Make ahead directions:
Peppers can be stuffed and refrigerated unbaked up to 2 days before baking. Add approximately 5 minutes to baking time.
After baking, peppers can be frozen. Freeze unwrapped on a baking sheet. Once frozen, wrap each pepper in a double layer of plastic wrap and freeze up to 2 months. Remove plastic wrap and microwave one pepper on medium power 2 minutes to defrost, then on high 2 minutes or until heated through.