Chiles Rellenos in a Smoky Salsa de Tomate

Chiles Rellenos in a Smoky Salsa de Tomate

How was your Thanksgiving break/weekend? Como les fue? I got to sleep in a bit, and basically watched movies all day–it was everything I wanted.

Aaaand I got to do a little shopping for Small Business Saturday, where I got to support some of my new favorite latinx businesses!

Check out my girls, Rageddy Tiff and Rowdy Corazon, their stuff is so cute!

Chiles Rellenos in a Smoky Salsa de Tomate

My mom made Chiles Rellenos all the time for us when I was still living at home, and it was always one of my favorite dishes because they were always stuffed with hunks of cheese.

Have I told you how much I love cheese?

I’d sit there and I’d pick off and eat the batter first and save the cheese for last, and if I could, I’d ninja my way into the kitchen to try to sneak in for seconds when no one was looking.

I rediscovered Panela a few months ago and as my mom would say, “Omaiga!”  I’m obsessed!

Because I love cheese so much, we’re stuffing our pasillas with not one but two cheeses! My mom used to just stuff them with queso fresco, but queso fresco is sort of the Kim K of  Mexican cheeses, it’s pretty to look at but bland as hell.

Panela is nutty and creamy, and it melts just right, and doesn’t become a gooey mess. Oaxaca is our messy girl, she is great for quesadillas and she’ll give you that nice cheese pull.

I’m also adding a little bit of chipotle and the adobo it comes in to the tomato sauce because we’re not basic and you deserve the nicer things in life.

Buen Provecho!

Chiles Rellenos in a Smoky Salsa de Tomate

Chiles Rellenos in a Smoky Salsa de Tomate

(Makes 4-5 depending on the size of your peppers)

For the salsa:

1  1/2 lbs roma tomatoes

1/4 white onion

4 garlic cloves

3 guajillo peppers

1/2 chipotle pepper in adobo (you can add a whole one if you can handle the spice)

1/2 tablespoon adobo sauce from the chipotle peppers

1 tsp chicken bouillon

1/2 tsp salt, more to taste if needed

cracked black pepper


For the peppers:

4-5 medium sized pasilla peppers

1 cup Oaxacan cheese, cubed

1 cup Panela cheese, cubed

For the batter:

4 egg whites

1/8 tsp cream of tartar

3 egg yolks

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp flour


For the dredging:

1 cup all purpose flour


Vegetable oil for frying


To make the salsa:

Add the tomatoes and guajillo chiles to a medium sized saucepan and add enough water to cover the tomatoes by a couple inches. Bring the water to a boil and cook for about 6 minutes, until they peppers have softened and the tomatoes are blistered. Transfer the tomatoes and guajillos to a blender with 2 cups of the cooking liquid and add the onion, garlic, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, salt, chicken bouillon, and a pinch of black pepper. Blend until smooth and cook, empty out any remaining liquid from the saucepan then bring the salsa to a simmer in the same saucepan and cook over low heat for 20 minutes.

For the batter, using the whisk attachment for about 2 minutes on medium-high until  your whites are light and fluffy. Add the salt, cream of tartar and yolks, and beat for another minute. Fold in the flour.

To make the chiles, rinse your pasillas thoroughly, pat them dry and place on a baking sheet. Set your broiler on high, and broil the pasillas for about 4 minutes on each side until the skin starts to get blistered and blackened. Place in a plastic bag and seal for about 15 minutes.

While the pasillas blister and steam, Prepare the batter by beating the egg whites with the cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until they’re light and fluffy. Add the salt and yolks, and beat for 2 more minutes. Fold in the flour with a silicone spatula and set aside.

Once the pasillas are cool, remove the waxy blistered layer of skin. Cut a slit halfway down the length of the pepper, just enough so you can stuff it, and de-seed it if you’d like. Mix the Oaxacan Cheese and the panela together in a small bowl, and stuff each pepper with about a 1/2 cup of the cheese mixture. Add the flour to a shallow dish and dredge the peppers in it and set them aside.

Heat up an inch of vegetable or canola oil in a medium sized skillet over medium heat to about 375F, then carefully dip each pasilla in the batter, and place in the skillet cut side up. Fry for about 1-2 minutes, carefully spooning the hot oil onto the top to help seal up where the cut was made for the first 30 seconds or so so the cheese doesn’t escape. After the 1-2 minutes flip the pepper and cook  on the other side 1-2 minutes until golden brown.

To serve, pour 3/4-1 cup of the salsa to a large plate and set the chile relleno on top.



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  • Pasilla peppers!!! I tried to make chiles rellenos a few years ago but used hatch peppers and burned my face off…

    • Esteban Castillo

      Oh nooo! We call them pasillas, but they also go by Poblanos in case they try to trick you again!