I love Mexican food. I've been to Mexico so many times it's hard to count. One of my favorite Mexican dishes is the Chile Relleno, or stuffed chile, but now when I go to restaurants I usually can't have it. Even though it's mostly chile, egg, and cheese, it's usually not made gluten-free. A little bit of flour is used in the egg batter to hold it together.
I'm having my sister and her family over for Cinco de Mayo, and this hand-down her favorite Mexican dish. She and her family are vegetarian, and this dish is one of the few Mexican dishes that is both satisfying and meatless. I decided to wow her with my new chile relleno recipe that I've adapted to be gluten free. I'm hoping it's just like the traditional chile relleno we used to have in Mexico.
Recipe for Gluten-free Chile Relleno
This recipe makes 2-3 chiles rellenos. Double, or triple it as necessary for more servings. The recipe makes plenty of sauce and batter for two, so if you make eight you can triple the recipe and it will come out about right.
You can use a ranchero sauce from the Mexican section of the super market, but if you would like to make your own sauce this works nicely. It's a bit more tomato-y than a traditional sauce for this recipe, which would mostly be chile, but it's tasty and mild.
Throw together in a sauce pan:
1 can crushed tomatoes
4 Tbsp new Mexico Chile Powder
1 cup vegetable stock
1 Tbsp olive oil
Salt to taste
Let that simmer while you cook the chiles.
Prepping the chiles:
A gas stove or grill works best for this, but in a pinch you can use your broiler.
Place the chiles (poblano or pasilla peppers, or anaheim if you can't get anything else) directly on the burner of your gas stove. Turn the stove to high. Don't be shy - you want to blacken these all over the outside. Turn the chiles with tongs as needed to blacken every side, then set aside on a plate to cool.
When the chiles are cool enough to handle, gently scrape all the blackened skin off the chiles with your fingers, being careful not to tear the chile itself.
When you have successfully scraped the chiles, use any existing tear to open the chile slightly and remove the seeds from inside with your fingers or with a spoone. Try not to open the hole larger than 2 inches. Carefully stuff the chiles with:
queso fresco or mozzarella cheese
Use enough so they are full, but they shouldn't be crammed or you will tear the chile. Cut the pieces of cheese to fit the chiles.
Set the stuffed chiles aside.
Making the Batter:
In a large skillet heat:
Canola oil, about 1 inch deep
2 egg whites
1/2 tsp salt
In another bowl, whisk together:
2 egg yolks
1.5 tsp white rice flour
Fold the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites.
When the oil is hot enough, you will know it by placing a little bit of the egg batter into it. The batter will sink a little, then immediately rise up to the surface and puff up. Dip your chiles first into the batter to coat them with egg. If your seam is gaping, fill it with egg batter. Spoon more batter over the top if necessary. Place the chiles in the pan seam-side up and cook until brown on the bottom, about 1 minute. Carefully turn the chiles over to cook on the other side until brown. Place on some paper towels to drain, then serve while hot with the sauce.
Update: It's Cinco de Mayo evening and the guests have left. My sister insisted on taking her second chile with her as leftovers. My brother-in-law Andy cleaned his plate. When my boyfriend asked them how my dish compared to chiles rellenos in Mexico Andy said, "They're identical." That's exactly what I wanted to hear! The new photo I have at the top of the post is from tonight's meal.