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The basic recipe for Chiles Rellenos is:

  1. Char the outside of some whole chile peppers and peel them
  2. Slit the peppers and remove the seeds
  3. Stuff the peppers with cheese or picadillo
  4. Batter and fry the peppers
  5. Optionally, add some sauce

In the Northern Mexico and the US, the peppers used for this are primarily poblano or Anaheim peppers, both of which are large, meaty peppers with thick walls. However, in Oaxaca, the traditional peppers are chiles de agua or pasillas de Oaxaca.

The challenge here is that the walls of the chile de agua pepper are thinner than a poblano, and when the skin is removed they become tissue-thin and lose all strength. In practice, I've found it impossible to keep the pepper in one piece, it shreds while being stuffed, falling apart.

I've been charring the peppers on the gas grill to peel them, which works fine with poblanos. My question is: do I need to char/peel chiles de agua a different way? How? Is there a way to make rellenos without peeling the peppers? Should I be doing something else different?

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    "Is there a way to make rellenos without peeling the peppers?" Yes. Use the same recipe that you are using now, but don't peel the peppers. It'll be fine. When I'm feeling lazy, I tend not to bother peeling even anaheims. Jul 10, 2023 at 20:32
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    Are you currently in that area? If so, ask around, as the locals probably know what the trick is
    – Joe
    Jul 11, 2023 at 21:33
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    If I were still in Oaxaca, I wouldn't be asking on SA.
    – FuzzyChef
    Jul 11, 2023 at 22:12

1 Answer 1

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Well, a few miscellaneous thoughts, from someone who has routinely had to substitute utterly unacceptable peppers in chiles rellenos:

  • The more tender the pepper, the faster you've got to be with the initial charring, to loosen the skin without cooking the flesh. Find a turning rate which blisters reasonably thoroughly; charring is unnecessary. As an alternative, consider a quick dip in hot oil, as with pimientos de padron. (DRY THE PEPPERS THOROUGHLY FIRST. WEAR PROTECTION.)

  • When peeling, pull horizontally, not vertically; less likely to pull off strips of flesh. And don't be too fastidious. Some remaining skin is okay.

  • Cool (on silicone or a greased surface) before you stuff them, but not below room temperature.

  • Char some extra peppers for when you mess up.

Remember, chiles rellenos aren't like chicken kiev. You don't so much stuff them with cheese as put them around the cheese. Rely on the egg batter to seal them. Untidiness is fine.

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  • The cheese is less of a problem than the picadillo, which is a loose mixture of either shredded pork or tuna and seasonings. That absolutely requires an intact pepper vessel.
    – FuzzyChef
    Jul 11, 2023 at 16:52
  • Gonna leave this question open until I can test your instructions.
    – FuzzyChef
    Jul 12, 2023 at 21:34
  • Sufficiently greasy shredded meat can be compressed into shape like shredded cheese if it's refrigerated; I haven't used that fact for chiles rellenos but it seems like it would work fine.
    – Sneftel
    Jul 13, 2023 at 10:48
  • I've confirmed this answer is correct. Direct flame is required, from a gas stove, or even better from a blowtorch.
    – FuzzyChef
    Aug 12, 2023 at 2:04

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