Learn how to make this classic Mexican dish!
6-8 large poblano chiles (about 2 pounds, roasted, peeled, stemmed, slit down one side, and seeded)
4 cups grated melting cheese (such as Oaxaca, asadero, mozzarella, or Monterey Jack)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs (separated)
canola or safflower oil, for deep-frying
RED SALSA (WITHOUT CHILES)
2 pounds ripe tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon white onion (coarsely chopped)
3/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt or to taste)
2 tablespoons canola or safflower oil
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth (homemade or store-bought)
Stuff each roasted chile with about 1/2 cup cheese, or as much as will fit inside without preventing the chiles from closing with a little bit of overlap. Close the chiles, overlapping the edges, and if desired, seal each one with a toothpick inserted horizontally, as if you were sewing up the chiles.
Place the flour on a plate, roll the stuffed chiles in the flour to coat entirely, and set aside. (The flour coating will help the batter adhere to the chiles).
To prepare the batter (or capeado): With a hand mixer in a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed to stiff but not dry peaks. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks with a whisk or fork. Using a rubber spatula, carefully fold the egg yolks into the egg whites.
Add 1 inch of oil to a large casserole or wide deep skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Cover a cooling rack or platter with paper towels and set it next to your stove. Test the heat of the oil with a thermometer (it should be at 350ºF degrees) or by dropping in a teaspoon of the batter to see if active and happy bubbles immediately form around it.
When the oil is ready, working in batches, dip the stuffed and floured chiles into the egg batter to coat thoroughly, then gently place in the hot oil, slit side up, without crowding. Using a large spoon, gently spoon some of the hot oil on top to seal the chiles. Fry for about 2 minutes per side, until golden brown; flip them gently with a slotted spoon or two (Once they are cooked place on the paper towel – covered rack or platter).
Meanwhile, heat the salsa in a sauce pan.
Serve the chiles hot (before the cheese begins to cool), spooning a generous amount of salsa on top. Alternatively, you can heat the salsa roja and chiles rellenos together in a large casserole or soup pot; heat the salsa, then add the fried chiles rellenos and spoon some of the hot salsa on top. Serve right away from the casserole. Don’t wait, or the batter will become soggy.
For the Red Salsa: place the tomatoes and garlic in a medium saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer to 10 to 12 minutes, until the tomatoes are very soft. Drain.
Transfer the tomatoes and garlic to a blender. Add the onion and salt and puree until completely smooth. Taste for seasoning.
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat until a spoonful of the tomato puree sizzles immediately when added. Add all of the tomato puree, being careful as it will splutter. Stir well and cover partially. Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the broth, stir, and cook for another 6 to 8 minutes. until the salsa has thickened slightly. Taste–it should be well seasoned; adjust the salt if necessary.
Note: if not serving them right away, transfer the fired chiles to a casserole or baking dish. Heat the chiles, uncovered, in a 300-degree iven for 8-10 minutes, until the cheese melts. Warm the salsa and serve.