So, you’re out at a restaurant, perusing the menu. How do you decide what to order? I abide by a pretty simple rule: order something I don’t usually cook at home. Sometimes this is because an ingredient is just not in my pantry, such as saffron or a mixture of wild mushrooms. Other times there are ingredients just not available in the local stores such as goat or rabbit or a unique cheese.
But the absolute king of all reasons to order out and not cook a dish at home is that the preparation will make my kitchen look like Armageddon arrived, twice. For that last reason, chile rellenos are a total favorite to order at restaurants. At home, I’ve made some darned good versions, but gawd, the mess makes me crazy! Those tempting casserole versions have been given a test drive, but they just didn’t satisfy the craving for the real deal. Here is a nice compromise – no deep frying, but all of the roasted poblano and cheese love. These mini chile rellenos have all of the love of roasted peppers and cheese without completely trashing the kitchen. Bueno!
Mini Chile Rellenos
- 5 poblano peppers, halved lengthwise, stems and seeds removed
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 1 can diced petite tomatoes
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 6 ounces cotija cheese
- Slice chiles in half lengthwise and remove stems and seeds. Place chiles skin side up on a baking sheet, and broil until skins blister, about 6 minutes. Be careful not to let them burn. Remove chiles from the oven and return to the plastic bag, seal and set aside for 10 minutes. Remove and discard the skins.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Stir in sliced onions, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes with the liquid and cook until onions and tomatoes achieve a sauce-like consistency, about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally. Season with cumin.
- To assemble the chiles rellenos: Slice cheese into 10 long rectangles (or sticks) 1/4-inch thick and approximately as long as the chiles. Roll each cheese rectangle into a chile half. Place rolled chiles into a baking dish and top with the tomato sauce. Crumble any extra cheese on top of the sauce. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the sauce is bubbly.
- The cojita cheese holds together nicely, so these make great sides without falling apart in the pan.
- The cojita can easily be replaced with jack or a mixture or whatever light cheeses you need to use up. I figure that once you have the amazing taste of roasted poblanos, its tough to go wrong.
- Best chile relleno ever? The Chilaca at the totally amazing Blue Agave. Best food combined with the worst web site ever.