This recipe is my take on Chile Rellenos. Typically, Chile Rellenos are made with Poblano peppers and are stuffed with cheese, breaded, and deep-fried in oil. Nothing against deep-fried chiles, but for the home cook, frying can be a lot of work…and sometimes dangerous. I have lightened up this recipe by stuffing the Poblano peppers with shredded chicken breast and some cheese. They are topped with a delicious red salsa (that is good enough to drink on its own) and are baked in the oven with a bit more cheese on top. This recipe is perfect for any fiesta or any night of the week!
Prep Time: 30 minutes | Cook Time: 60 minutes | Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- 4 Poblano peppers
- 5 Roma tomatoes
- 3 cloves fresh garlic, peeled
- 1 jalapeño pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons salt, divided
- 1/4 cup water
- 5 sprigs of cilantro (stems and leaves)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika powder, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3 cups finely shredded chicken
- 2 cups Monteray Jack cheese, grated (you can also substitute with sharp cheddar cheese)
- Cilantro leaves, for garnish
First, we will make the salsa that goes on top of the chiles and in the stuffing. Preheat your broiler in your oven and move a shelf in your oven to the top rung closest to the broiler. You will want the veggies close to the broiler, but not touching so that they can get blackened and roasted.
Wash the Poblanos, tomatoes and jalapeño, and dry them. Place them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Place the peeled garlic cloves on the sheet pan as well and drizzle all the veggies with the olive oil. Use your hands to rub the olive oil all over the skins of the veggies so that they are evenly coated. Sprinkle the veggies with 1 teaspoon of salt and place in the oven.
Broil the veggies on high heat until the tops of the veggies get charred/burnt (this typically takes 2-3 minutes, depending on your broiler and how close the veggies are to the element). Once charred/blackened, flip them over and char the other side. Repeat on all sides until all the veggies are fully charred and have softened slightly.
Remove the sheet pan from the oven. While the Poblano peppers are still hot, place them in a bowl and cover the bowl with a towel or saran wrap. This will trap in the steam inside and make it much easier to peel the skins off the peppers.
Place the roasted tomatoes, garlic, and jalapeño into a food processor. I like it spicy, so I put the whole jalapeño in. If you like it less spicy, remove the seeds and membrane- that’s where all the heat is! Add the cilantro sprigs, water, 1/4 teaspoon of smoked paprika, oregano, coriander, black pepper and the remaining teaspoon of salt. Place the lid on the food processor and blend until the mixture is fully combined and is silky smooth. There you have the salsa!
Once blended, add the salsa to a sauce pan over medium-high heat. Bring the salsa to a boil then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Once the salsa has cooked, scoop out 1 cup of the salsa and place it in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Leave the remaining sauce in the pan for later.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Add the finely shredded chicken, 1 cup of shredded cheese and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of smoked paprika powder to to the bowl with the salsa in it. Mix all the ingredients together until combined. Set aside.
Now it’s time to prepare the Poblano peppers. Remove the towel or saran wrap from the bowl and begin peeling the skin off of the peppers, trying not to tear the flesh. The skin should easily fall right off. If it doesn’t, use a knife to peel the peppers. Carefully make an incision down the length of the pepper and gently open it up to expose the seeds. Gently remove the seeds from the inside of the pepper and the stem and once cleaned, set aside. Repeat this for all the peppers.
Now it’s time to stuff the peppers! Scoop about 3/4 cup of the chicken mixture and gently stuff in inside the Poblano pepper, making sure to get the filling all the way down to the tip of the pepper. Gently fold the pepper back around the mixture, making sure not to tear the pepper. Repeat this process until all the peppers are stuffed with the chicken mixture.
Place about 1 cup of the salsa into the bottom of a large baking dish (large enough to hold all the stuffed peppers without them touching) so that the entire bottom of the pan is covered in sauce. Arrange the stuffed peppers in the pan so they they are not touching. Top each pepper with 1/4 cup of salsa and healthy sprinkling of 1/4 cup of cheese.
Cover the baking dish loosely with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes have elapsed, remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes. This will let the cheese get nice and browned.
Once fully cooked, remove the peppers from the oven and top with some cilantro leaves. Serve piping hot with a side of rice and/or beans.