I have always liked Mexican food but it was never something you had more than once a month. That all changed when I moved to Pueblo Colorado. There is a Mexican restaurant on every corner just like in Massachusetts there is a Dunkin Donuts on every corner. Side note: Dunkin Donuts is a MUST!!! Maybe because I grew up on it but that is another story.
Whenever I go to a restaurant I always like to try different foods as I want to be adventurous, but I really love trying the chile rellenos at any Mexican restaurant. I have found that many people make this simple dish different. So you may be asking what exactly is a chile relleno? In simple terms it is a stuffed chile. Usually a roasted poblano chile is stuffed with a Mexican cheese covered with an egg batter and fried. The popular pepper in Pueblo was the Hatch green chile. My husband and I still go to Pueblo to get these or buy them whenever we see them. You will see coming up a recipe for Green Chile using Hatch Green Chilies and the assembly of a “SLOPPER”. I know it is a teaser to make sure you come back. In the meantime, if you find yourself in Pueblo Colorado you MUST have a slopper. Anyone from Pueblo will know exactly what that is.
Okay now that I have gotten side tracked back to chile rellenos. I have had them with a thick egg batter versus a thin batter. My preference is the thin. The relleno is then covered with either a red or green sauce. I prefer a pork green sauce but either one is complimentary. I also make a chile relleno casserole but I want to focus this recipe on one I adapted from my mother-in law. She came to visit us and was going to make chile rellenos. Usually I buy whole chilies and then have to roast and peel them. She bypasses all of this by buying canned whole green chilies. The other major difference: she uses egg roll wrappers to wrap the stuffed chile in before frying. I had never heard of this before but after she did it I researched it and it seems this is the Colorado or Denver “trick”.
Now I can never follow a recipe without adding my own twist so I am adding hominy to my stuffing.
1 small (12 oz) can of hominy, drained
1 small onion, diced
1 large (28 oz) can whole green chilies
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp pepper
4 oz grated Monterey Jack
5 oz grated Mexican cheese (about half of the round package such as Oaxaca, Queso Fresca, Cotija, or Quesadilla)
12 egg roll wrappers
Oil for frying
- In sauté pan with oil add the onions and sauté until translucent. Add the garlic, hominy, and spices. Continue sautéing until fragrant. You can adjust the seasonings to your taste then take off of heat.
- Take the whole chilies out of the can and drain.
- Now time for assembling!!!!
- Start heating your oil for frying
- I found it best to have a large cutting board or work area. I had the cheeses mixed in one bowl, the hominy mix in another, the whole green chilies, egg roll wrappers and a little bit of water in a cup (you can also use an egg mixed with water). The water is just to seal the seams of your wrapper.
- This next step can be done two ways. Either stuff the chilies whole or split in half (lengthwise). I find splitting in half is easier as they are fragile. So I will explain how I do it.
- Place your egg roll wrapper on your work area with one of the points in front of you. Place half of the chile lengthwise in the same direction of the two points on the side (horizontal).
- On the chile put some cheese and hominy mix.
- Now for the wrapping….Take the sides and fold into the center so they overlap or meet.
- Now either take the top or bottom…I work from the bottom since it is closet to me and roll up….fold over the chile and roll. You can use a little water or egg wash on your fingertips to seal all the seams if you like.
- Depending how big your deep fryer is or if you are pan frying, I find it easier to fry as I roll. In my case I have a mini deep fryer I use so only one will fit at a time. So I roll, drop into the fryer and start rolling the next.
- When they are golden brown take out of fryer and place on paper towels.
- Enjoy alone or with your favorite sauce overtop.
Tricks and lessons learned:
The first time I did these I was all excited as all my “bundles” came out looking great. They were nice and tight and looked like egg rolls. In a large can of whole chilies they are about 12. As I was rolling I placed them on top of each of each other. I was very upset that on some that were touching it tore the wrapper. Maybe someone who makes egg rolls and uses the wrappers all the time can tell me what I did wrong. I am thinking maybe may fingers were too wet from sealing edges making the wrapper doughy. Anyways, now I just fry as I go and make sure I don’t let them touch.
The sealing of edges: you don’t need a lot of water or egg wash. Just enough on your fingertips and rub over the fold edges and the wrapper will seal. You just don’t want your filling to come out.
I like using the whole chilies but another variation is to chop the chilies and mix into your filling and cheese. Then you just have to place about a 1-2 tablespoons of the mixture in the middle of the wrapper.
If you want to forgo the hominy and just use cheese, cut the cheese into sticks big enough to stick into the whole chilie.