Chile Rellenos

Delicious Gringa Relleno
In case you haven't heard already, I'm addicted to peppers.  Not just any ol' peppers. I'm talkin' bout green chile peppers picked fresh from the fields in Southwestern New Mexico.  I grew up in the Land of Enchantment, and now I live in California.  Luckily I have a connection in the New Mexico Chile Pepper biz, a company that ships to chile connoisseurs all over the United States, so I get my favorite fixin' delivered in bulk straight to my door for a few months each year.  I got my chile and I'm ready to get cookin'...

Yuck = Typical Spongey Relleno
I wanted to start with my absolutely favorite recipe, Chile(s) Rellenos (the gringa phonetic spelling is "Chilly Ray-Een-Yos.")  Great rellenos are very hard to find anywhere outside of New Mexico.  I literally order one at every Mexican restaurant I eat at, and I have never ever had one as good as what I find in the Land of Enchantment, let alone as good as the one I am about to teach you how to make.  And it's so darn simple to make but the key to a great relleno is a great pepper.  Most restaurants use flavorless peppers or the large, thick, meaty poblano pepper.  And in addition to the peppers being bland, the "chefs" usually cake on tons of spongy egg batter which ends up watery and chewy in your mouth.  Yuck!

So here's how you make the best dang chile relleno on the planet:

1.  Start by ordering your fresh New Mexico Green Chile Peppers from New Mexico Catalog.  Read my other post called "Gimme the Chile" to learn more about the flavors and quantities available and go to their website...

2.  Once your chiles arrive you need to roast them to perfection.  Please check out my post "Let's Get Roasting"

3.  Depending on how rustic you want your rellenos to be, you can choose either to remove or leave the stems and seeds intact.  In my family, we keep them rustic, so that's what you'll see pictured.  If you choose to keep them this way, make sure you let your lucky guests know not to eat the stem and seeds.  It's all part of the wonderful culinary experience.

4.  Get your ingredients together...this recipe is for about 4 people, or 8 servings, so adjust your quantities if necessary.

Vegetable or Canola Oil
2 medium eggs, beaten
8 roasted New Mexican Green Chile Peppers
1 sleeve of saltine crackers (preferably with salt)
8 thick slices of your favorite cheese (Cheddar is better, in my opinion)

5.  Crack your eggs in a wide shallow bowl, the width of the peppers, and beat with a fork until well blended.  Set aside.

6.  Remove the crackers from the sleeve of saltines and place inside a larger zip loc bag.  Make sure there is no air remaining inside after sealed.  Take that bag of crackers and beat it up.  Punch it or use a rolling pin or whatever you have to make those crackers turn into crumbs.  You don't want them to turn into cracker dust, just small enough that they will adhere to the chiles and make a nice even crust when frying.  Pour the crumbs into a separate wide shallow bowl, the width of the peppers, and set aside. 

7.  Take your chile peppers and make a slit vertically in the long direction of stem to pointy end.  Place your slice of cheese inside, and close up the hole with your fingers.  I like to use really thick chunks, as wide as the pepper and about 2/3 as long as the pepper, and let the cheese ooze out when frying.  Usually some of the cheese fries up and it adds an extra special touch of flavor and texture.

8.  Get your favorite frying pan out and fill with about a 1/2 an inch of oil on the bottom and turn to medium heat.  Ideally you would use a pan that can fit all 8 peppers at once, but a smaller pan is fine, too.  You'll know that the oil is ready to go after a few minutes when you throw in a crumb or two and hear it sizzle.  Please be careful, as you are working with hot oil here, but I'm making sure to instruct you to only use a shallow layer of oil so that it most likely won't jump out at you.  An apron is recommended and if you have kids in the house, put the pan on the backburner. This is a good time to grab a plate with some paper towels on it.  You'll use it to let the fried peppers cool off on after frying, and to let some of the excess oil drain off.

9.  While the oil is heating up, set up your assembly line:  peppers, eggs, crumbs.

10.  Pick up your cheese filled pepper in such a way that the cheese won't pop out and carefully place it in the egg bowl.  Use a fork, spoon or your hands to evenly coat the chile pepper with egg.  The egg is the glue that makes this recipe a success or failure, so make sure you really get it covered.

11.  Place your eggy pepper in the bowl of crumbs and use a fork, spoon or your hands to evenly coat with cracker.  This is your crust and if isn't sticking, then it needs more egg.

12.  You can either pre-assemble all 8 peppers at once and set aside on a plate, or you can make one first as an experiment and see what happens in the frying pan.  Take a pair of tongues and slowly place the battered pepper in the oil.  It should sizzle immediately.  The bottom side should fry up in a couple of minutes and you want it to be a nice golden brown.  Undercooked batter will be doughy and wet, and you definitely don't want to over fry them either.  So keep an eye out for what's happening on the underside.  When it looks golden brown , flip it over and repeat on the other side.  Place all golden brown rellenos on the paper towel plate and use your tong to scoop out any remaining cheese or crumbs and sprinkle on top the removed rellenos. 

If you are going to be reusing the oil for another batch, make sure there is no residual food floating around in it as it will start to burn and ruin the flavor of your next batch, and most likely stink up your kitchen.

13.  Congratulations!  You've just made the most delicious things in the world.  Remove from paper towel and serve as a side dish, or even in burritos.   Warm in the oven if needed until served, and enjoy!


New Mexico Chiles Rellenos + New York Pizza = Love

My creative husband invented something very special in the kitchen the other night.  He surprised me with a new culinary treat by combining two of my favorite foods:  Pizza and Chiles Rellenos. The recipe is quite simple, and can be customized to include your favorite pizza (homemade, take-out or frozen,)  cheeses and extra toppings. 

After we savored our last bite of this New York meets New Mexico masterpiece, I decided to visit my trusty friend Google and see if Chiles Rellenos Pizza existed somewhere else in the blogosphere.  I was crushed to see that the search "Chiles Rellenos Pizza" came up with a few links, but was satisfied to see that they included bell peppers, chopped canned chile and photos (which actually made me nauseous.)  I was happy to determine that a New Yorker, married to a New Mexican, had possibly invented Chiles Rellenos Pizza.

Unfortunately his pizza pictures were taken with poor lighting and my iPhone, but hopefully they get the point across: New Mexico Chiles Rellenos + New York Pizza = Love.

These are what the Rellenos look like if you follow my recipe from June.  You can order your fresh New Mexico Green Chile Peppers from

Order the fresh peppers, follow the easy recipe and take these warm beauties fresh from the frying pan and chop them up into smaller bites and place on top of your favorite pizza:

I love onions (especially sweet Vidalia Onions), so he chopped and sauteed some with a little salt and olive oil, and sprinkled on top. 

In New York the phrase "Now how easy is that?" would be used to describe this particular recipe.  Trust me, it's as easy as that...


Green Eggs with Bam!

Other than Huevos Rancheros, I can't think of a better way to start my morning than by feasting on a Green Eggs with Bam breakfast sandwich made with Green Chile, Cheese, Eggs and Toast (and Bacon if you want it to taste extra awesome.)  Nothing could be simpler, yet the key ingredient, Green Chile, will either make it or break it.  Like all my recipes in this blog, you must use New Mexico Green Chile in order to make it taste like it should.

The recipe is as easy as Chile Pie (what is Chile Pie?  Stay tuned...):

Your favorite bread, buttered
Cheese (in my opinion, Cheddar is always better, but please use your favorite cheese)
Salt and Pepper
Roasted and Peeled New Mexico Green Chile Peppers
Toast your favorite bread and lightly butter
Fry or scramble your eggs
Slice your cheese to your liking. 
A twist of salt and pepper to taste
Prepare your NM Green Chile peppers by slicing or dicing them.

Take one piece of buttered toast and slide your favorite eggs on top
Lightly salt and pepper to taste
Place cheddar on top of egg, either in the pan or when you're ready to make the sandwich (If you have time, it's always extra tasty to lightly broil your egg and cheese together, before placing the chile on top.)
Layer Green Chile on top
Finish off with your other piece of toast, and viola!  You have a delicious and nutritious breakfast.

You can order your New Mexico Green Chile Peppers here:


Let's Get Roasting

It's time for the roasting fun to begin...there are a few videos out there showing you different ways on how to roast a chile pepper, and some of them, which recommend roasting directly on top of your stove burner, just seem ridiculous. My years of experience have proven that broiling in my oven is the easiest, most fool-proof and efficient way to roast.  Of course, having an industrial chile roaster would be the bees knees, but I'm determined to teach you how to roast with a simple oven broiler, and it's actually kind of fun.

Baring any unforeseen issues with moody mother nature, once you receive your beautifully simple box of New Mexico Green Chile Peppers, slowly open it and savor the heavenly aroma.  Notice the unscripted casual beauty of the hand picked stems and the few remaining untouched leaves from the fields (unfortunately I don't have a picture of this yet, but I'll post one once I get my first bulk shipment.  I only had a few peppers for this in home photo shoot...)  I always start by rinsing the peppers and removing any leaves and then I let the roasting process begin...

I usually roast on cookie sheets lined with tin foil, which makes it easier for clean up.  Line up the peppers one after another on the sheet and place under your "high" broiler.  Make sure you have a few minutes to monitor the peppers, especially if it's your first time broiling, as the broiler sometimes works a little faster than you would expect.  You'll start to hear some subtle popping, so take a peek inside the oven and you'll notice the skin starts bursting open, later darkening to brown (ideally you don't want the peppers to get charred but some of them probably will and that's ok.) Take a pair of tongues and flip over the peppers that are brown, to ensure that you roast the other side.  You want an even roasting all around if possible.

Once you have a full sheet of roasted peppers, take them out of the oven and cover them in plastic food wrap, or place them in a plastic bag.  This will help the peppers "sweat" and the skin will remove a little easier. 

Once they've sweated for a few minutes, remove the plastic wrap and assuming that the peppers are no longer warm from the oven, start peeling the skin off. Some people like to wear gloves when doing this, but it's your call.  The skin should come off pretty easy, but some peppers may be a little more stubborn than others.  If any of them seem impossible, you might want to try them under the broiler again...

I like to keep my chiles rustic and always keep the stems and seeds intact as the seeds help seal in alot of the natural flavor...but if you prefer to remove them, i've found that a grapefruit spoon with a serrated edge does the trick, and you can usually just pull off the stem. Depending on what you are going to be using your chiles for, set aside whatever quantity you will be cooking with, and place the rest inside an airtight container or bag and place in the refrigerator.  If you aren't going to be using them for awhile, I suggest freezing them in manageable quantities, so when you are ready to unfreeze them you can easily defrost them.  

Now it's time to get cookin'.  Stay tuned for some of my favorite New Mexican-Mexican food recipes with Green Chile.  If this sounds fun and delicious please read my previous posts titled "New Mexican-Mexican food" and "Gimme the Chile."   Unfortunately Green Chile season will be over before we know it...luckily I'll have a kitchen and garage freezer full of hot frozen peppers to keep me warm throughout the winter and make me the coolest domesticated chef all year.  If you're interested in ordering some peppers for yourself, please take a visit to the following site:


New Mexican-Mexican Food

The men in my family seem to be the naturally talented, uninhibited, creative chef types, and the women stick to the tried and true recipes,  passed down from mother to daughter, which we know will deliver every time.  When it comes to a party, or any occasion when I have friends over to eat, I always rely on what I know is a home run: New Mexican-Mexican food (no, I did not accidentally type the word "Mexican" twice.  there is such a thing as New Mexican-Mexican food.) New Mex-Mex is unbelievably delicious food, easily whipped up and drooled over.  I'll do my gringa best to describe this type of exotic, American food the best way I can...

Side note:  both and I define "gringa" as follows:
Gringa is the spanish definition for a white female usually used for english speaking persons, it doesn't matter if she is american, italian, french or whatever as long as she is white and speaks any other language different from spanish

Now back to the subject at offense to anyone who actually enjoys the bland flavors of "Tex Mex" or even authentic "Mexican" food, but most New Mexicans can attest that New Mexican-Mexican food has a flavor that is unrivaled by any other "Mex" type foods out there.  There is one main ingredient that can take the credit for making this unusual cuisine so darn good, and the New Mexican Green Chile Pepper takes home the trophy.

The best green chile (not "chili" as it is commonly mistaken) comes from southern New Mexico where the growing conditions are ideally suited to produce the best quality and range of flavor (from mild to extra hot). Many people also aren't aware that the green chile turns red and sweetens when it ripens, which opens up an whole other chapter of flavor.  Stay tuned to learn more about these mouth watering beauties in the Fall after the green chile has exited center stage... but in the meantime learn more about how these red hot natives exemplify New Mexican functionality and style in the form of a "Ristra"

New York is known for the best pizza and bagels, Boston for it's wicked good clam "chowda," New Orleans for benyas and New Mexico for it's old New Mexican-Mexican food. And to believe that most of it's unique flavor can be attributed to one key ingredient, a funny looking pointy green fruit.  Most local New Mexican-Mexican restaurants will offer a variety of menu favorites including Huevos Rancheros, Empanadas or Green Chile and Eggs for breakfast,  Margaritas and Chips and Salsa (or Guacamole, or Chile con Queso) before lunch or dinner, and meals of Nachos, Pinto Beans, Posole, Stuffed Sopapillas, Tostada Compuestas, Enchiladas, Burritos, Tacos, Green Chile Cheeseburgers, Tamales, Chile Rellenos, Chimichangas, and Quesadillas.  And you can't leave a good local restaurant without Sopapillas dripping with honey for dessert.  The list of delish goes on and on...

This blog provides me a creative outlet to share the recipes I've come to depend on, with the help of the New Mexican Green Chile Peppers which have been shipped fresh to chile addicts all over the USA for over 20 years, by New Mexico Catalog.  I genuinely enjoy writing and sharing information about the amazingly hard to acquire native ingredients that they sell and ship through their business.  It makes me feel good to help connect new customers with their products.  They've delivered hard to find flavor directly to my long distance doors for years and they can do the same for you. Click here if you're interested in finding out more...And remember, the other guys don't ship their chiles fresh.  They ship them frozen.


Gimme the Chile

It's my favorite time of year, at least for my kitchen.  The time of year when I start anticipating boxes of fresh New Mexico Green Chile Peppers being delivered to my door month after month until the crops run bare.  The Chile season usually runs from July to October, but mother nature is a fickle woman and every year she's in a different mood.  And I also know where to get fresh Green Chile shipped to me year round...I've lived all over the country, but one thing has remained constant in every locale: I am one of the lucky few who's treated to the fresh and fragrant chile pepper goodness being shipped straight to my door from one of the only national distributors of this regionally distinct delicacy.  Read here to learn more...

Lots of things run through my mind as I sit here thinking about my favorite seasonal ingredient:  which neighbors and friends will I invite over to share the peppers with this year? Should I have another chile roasting party outside on the grill or will I keep it simple inside and do the roasting under the broiler?  Or maybe I'll give a few special friends a small paper bag filled with a hand full of chiles, tied with a bow and note with some favorite recipes?  Which New Mexican-Mexican food dishes will I make first?  Every year part of the chile season excitement entails coming up with some sort of a plan in order to maximize every last morsel and make sure nothing goes to waste.  But the best part is sharing with friends.  Sometimes I feel like a rock star.  New Mexican chile peppers can make a person quite popular...

The hardest part is deciding which flavors and quantities you want to order.  Maybe 10lbs of one flavor and 5lbs more of another.  My husband and I usually prefer our peppers on the hotter side of flavor, but the New Mexico Catalog offers 5 heat levels and you can visit their website for more information:

Heat levels available:
Mild (Joe Parker or equivalent) a favorite for those who love the flavor of chile but who can't stand the heat. perfect on steak or hamburgers.

Medium (Big Jim or equivalent) a meaty, medium heat chile and the largest of the new mexico chile pods. great middle tier heat flavor for those who think that mild is wimpy and extra hot is completely insane.  perfect for chile rellenos.

Hot (Sandia or equivalent) this hot one is a favorite for use in a variety of traditional new mexican recipes. perfect for salsa and guacamole.

Extra-Hot (Barker or equivalent)  this classic variety has bite! if you do like it this hot it is wonderful in and on everything from eggs to hamburgers.

XX-Hot - the hottest variety of New Mexico chile peppers offered. daring indeed.

Once you decide which flavors and how many lbs you want (offered in 5, 10, 20 and 50 lbs shipments) You'll be contacted with information regarding when your chile will be available to ship.  NM Catalog are little guys themselves, and they support the little chile guys, too.  There is a whole method to the madness of figuring out which crops are ready to go and when.  The peppers are always shipped the same day they are picked from the field and packed in strong, specially designed perforated boxes which keep the peppers fresh in transit.  When your box arrives there's no turning back - you will most likely be addicted for life.  Now you can start preparing for the real fun to begin:  roasting and cooking.  Please check out my other posts for this info...