September is here, and with it comes one of the greatest celebrations for people in Mexico, celebrated the night of the 15th and all throughout the 16th: Mexican Independence Day. As we've mentioned many times before, there is no better way to experience Mexican culture than with food, especially as this is the main way Mexicans like to celebrate.
In Mexico a particular dish that is famous throughout Mexico during September festivities is Chiles en Nogada. With its green, white, and red colors, mix of flavors, and distinguished ingredients, Chiles en Nogada is one of the most iconic and representative dishes for Mexican Independence Day. According to its history, this dish was a creation from nuns in Puebla in the year 1821, who presented it to general Iturbide after the signing of the Treaty of Independence, which granted Mexico independence from Spain. After centuries, this tradition is still maintained and the famous dish is served only in September, when ingredients are in season. Moreover, it is said that there is no state that can make better Chiles en Nogada than its place of origin, Puebla, that offers them everywhere and in a myriad of variations.
There is no doubt that Chiles en Nogada is a representative dish perfect for this month. However, this also implies that only expert and talented hands in the kitchen are able to achieve the greatness that comes from them. Inspired by Chiles en Nogada, we at Lolo have decided to pick one of the tastiest, easiest, and more iconic food from the wide an array of Mexican recipes that we could think of (one of the toughest choice, too!).
Chiles Rellenos is a delicious recipe that can easily be made ahead of time for any event. This is also a versatile dish that can be modified to any tasting, palate, and dietary needs. Let's jump into what needs to be done to create this Mexican delicacy!
Chiles Rellenos Recipe
4 poblano peppers
8 ounces of Oaxaca cheese (if oaxaca is too hard to find, you can always try using mozzarella, provolone, monterrey, asadero/quesadilla, or any other good melting cheese)
3 large eggs
1 cup of all purpose flour
2 cups of frying oil
Salt to taste
-½ will go in the blender
-½ will be chopped and sauteed into the sauce
1 large garlic clove
Fresh cilantro (approximately 1 small bunch or ¼ cup is more than enough)
Chopped parsley to taste,
Granulated chicken bouillon seasoning (we use Knorr brand, but you can use whichever you prefer or use ¼ cup of natural chicken broth)
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Roast peppers until skin is blackened and there are blisters in the skin. You can do this directly on your stove’s fire or in the oven by lining a baking sheet with aluminum foil to place peppers and setting your oven rack directly underneath the broiler and turning the broiler on, making sure to turn them so the whole pepper is blackened.
(Tip: before roasting them, take some oil into your hands and lightly rub peppers with it, they will roast much faster and be more tender).
Remove peppers from the fire and place them immediately in a closed plastic bag and let sit for 20-30 minutes with a kitchen rag on top to let them steam.
Remove peppers from bag and peel off as much black and loose skin as possible, you can rinse them to help with this.
Make a small incision and remove all seeds and veins from the pepper.
Fill the peppers with oaxaca cheese strings and close them with a toothpick. Feel free to use more than one as long as you ensure the cheese won’t spill in the frying process. Set aside and prepare batter.
For making the batter, separate egg whites and yolks. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. While continuing to batter the eggs, slowly incorporate egg yolks one by one. The batter should have a light and fluffy consistency.
Place flour on a plate and mix in salt. Then fully coat stuffed peppers with flour, giving them a light tap to remove excess, and then coat with batter. Tip: use the stem of the peppers to submerge them into batter, these do not need to be coated.
Fry peppers in preheated oil for about 3 minutes on each side, or until the batter is golden brown. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan; depending on the size of your pan, try frying 1-2 at a time.
Remove from oil and place peppers on a plate lined with paper towel to absorb excess oil.
For the sauce:
Boil tomatoes until soft and add to blender together with ½ onion, cilantro, garlic, chicken bouillon, salt and pepper. Puree until smooth.
Sauté chopped onion and add sauce into frying pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, tasting occasionally for seasoning.
Serve chiles by placing a small quantity of sauce in the plate, then place the pepper on top, and finally coat the pepper with your sauce. Use parsley to garnish.
You can accompany this with rice and refried beans to have the perfect mix of Mexican flavors.
-You can leave some seeds in if you would like the peppers to be more spicy, or soak for 5 minutes in water with salt if you would like to eliminate all levels of spice.
-Be sure to pick out the largest poblano peppers you can find, the size of the pepper you pick will dictate the size of your chile relleno.
-Try different fillings such as picadillo (ground beef seasoned with salt and pepper), shredded chicken, quinoa, and/or a blend of cheeses. The process will remain the same.
-Try different options for garnishing; the best one we’ve had so far is goat cheese.
-You can make this recipe ahead of time by roasting and peeling peppers a day or two ahead of time and making the salsa, which can last up to 4 days in the freezer and simply pre-heating before serving!
So, what do you think? Is this something that you will be making at home? Are you planning to make any creative modifications? If so, we would love to hear what you come up with!
Let us know how it turns out and if you have any questions, we will definitely be making them for September Mexican Independence Day celebrations. Also, don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter where we make sure to share this and many more recipes, and make sure to give our familia of subscribers exclusive promotions, gifts, first-hand look at all new products and, of course, these articles that we love to write for you all!