Get ready to tantalize your taste buds with a vegetarian twist on a classic dish. In this mouth-watering recipe for Grilled Chiles Rellenos, Steven Raichlen shows us how to elevate this traditional Oaxacan favorite by taking it to the grill. By replacing some of the cheese with pinto beans, not only do you reduce the fat content, but you also get an added boost of fiber and protein. The result? A lighter, cleaner, and more flavorful version of chiles rellenos that you can enjoy guilt-free. So fire up that grill and get ready to impress both your vegetarian friends and those hardcore carnivores in your life!
Grilled Chiles Rellenos Recipe
Grilled Chiles Rellenos are a delicious and flavorful dish that can be enjoyed by vegetarians and carnivores alike. This traditional Mexican dish typically consists of poblano chiles stuffed with cheese (and sometimes ground beef) and deep-fried in egg batter. While these deep-fried chiles rellenos can be indulgent and high in calories, a healthier and equally tasty alternative is to grill them instead. Grilling adds a smoky flavor and char to the chiles, while reducing the amount of fat and calories consumed. In this article, we will explore the benefits of grilling chiles rellenos, different variations of the dish, and provide a comprehensive recipe for making grilled chiles rellenos at home.
Introduction to Grilled Chiles Rellenos
Chiles Rellenos are a popular Mexican dish that is typically filled with cheese and other ingredients, such as meat or vegetables. The chiles are then coated in batter and fried until golden and crispy. Grilling chiles rellenos offers a healthier alternative to deep-frying, while also imparting a unique smoky flavor to the dish. By grilling the chiles, you can achieve the same delicious flavors and textures without the excess fat and calories.
Traditional Chiles Rellenos vs Grilled Chiles Rellenos
Traditional Chiles Rellenos are typically deep-fried, resulting in a crispy exterior and gooey cheese filling. While this version is undeniably delicious, it can be quite heavy and calorie-dense. Grilled Chiles Rellenos, on the other hand, offer a lighter and healthier alternative. By grilling the chiles instead of frying them, you can reduce the amount of fat and calories while still enjoying the same great flavors.
Choosing the Right Chiles
When it comes to making grilled chiles rellenos, it’s important to choose the right type of chiles. The most common chile used for this dish is the poblano chile, which has a mild to medium heat level and a dark green skin. Poblano chiles are known for their earthy flavor and are perfect for stuffing due to their large size and thick walls. However, if you can’t find poblano chiles, you can also use other varieties such as Anaheim or Hatch chiles. These chiles are similarly mild and are great for grilling.
Variations of Grilled Chiles Rellenos
Grilled Chiles Rellenos can be customized to suit your taste preferences and dietary restrictions. One popular variation of this dish is the North African inspired version, which features spiced chickpeas as the filling. By adding coriander, turmeric, and paprika to the chickpeas, you can give the dish a unique flavor profile. Another creative variation is the French inspired version, where flageolet beans and goat cheese are used as the filling. These variations offer a fresh take on the classic chiles rellenos recipe and allow you to experiment with different flavors and ingredients.
Ingredients for Grilled Chiles Rellenos
To make grilled chiles rellenos, you will need a variety of ingredients. The core ingredients include chiles, cheese, batter, and oil for grilling. The specific type of chiles will depend on your preference, while the choice of cheese can range from traditional Mexican cheeses like queso fresco or Oaxaca to variations like goat cheese or feta. The batter typically consists of flour, eggs, and seasonings like salt and pepper. Additionally, you can add optional ingredients such as herbs, spices, or other fillings to enhance the flavor of the dish.
Preparing the Chiles
Before you can stuff and grill the chiles, they need to be prepared. This involves roasting the chiles until the skin is charred and blistered, which can be done over an open flame, under a broiler, or on a grill. Once the chiles are roasted, they should be placed in a plastic bag or covered with a damp towel to allow the steam to loosen the skin. After a few minutes, the skins can be easily peeled off, and the seeds can be removed. Be sure to handle the chiles carefully and wear gloves if you have sensitive skin, as the capsaicin in the chiles can cause irritation.
Preparing the Filling
The filling for grilled chiles rellenos can be tailored to your liking. A traditional filling consists of cheese, but you can also incorporate other ingredients such as cooked meat, sautéed vegetables, or beans. For a classic cheese filling, choose a cheese that melts well, such as Monterey Jack or cheddar. Simply stuff the roasted and peeled chiles with the cheese or other fillings of your choice, being careful not to overstuff them.
Making the Batter
The batter is an essential component of grilled chiles rellenos, as it helps to hold the filling in place and provides a crispy coating when grilled. To make the batter, combine flour, eggs, and seasonings in a bowl and whisk until smooth. The batter should have a thick but pourable consistency. If desired, you can add herbs, spices, or other seasonings to enhance the flavor. For those with dietary restrictions, you can also substitute the flour and eggs with alternative ingredients such as almond flour or chickpea flour for a gluten-free option.
Grilling the Chiles Rellenos
Once the chiles are stuffed and the batter is prepared, it’s time to grill the chiles rellenos. Brush the stuffed chiles with oil to prevent sticking, then place them on a preheated grill over medium-high heat. Grill the chiles for a few minutes on each side, or until the batter is golden brown and crispy, and the cheese filling is melted and bubbly. Take care when flipping the chiles to ensure they stay intact. Once grilled, remove the chiles from the heat and allow them to cool slightly before serving.
Serving and Garnishing
Grilled chiles rellenos can be served as a main course or as an appetizer. They pair well with salsa or a simple tomato sauce, and can also be garnished with toppings such as sour cream, chopped cilantro, or sliced avocado. To elevate the presentation, consider serving the chiles rellenos on a bed of lettuce or with a side of Mexican rice and beans. These delicious and flavorful grilled chiles rellenos are sure to be a hit at your next gathering or family meal.
In conclusion, grilled chiles rellenos offer a healthier alternative to traditional deep-fried versions while still delivering on taste and flavor. By grilling the chiles, you can reduce the amount of fat and calories without sacrificing the delicious smoky flavors. Whether you choose to stick to the traditional recipe or experiment with different fillings and variations, grilled chiles rellenos are a versatile and enjoyable dish that everyone can appreciate. So fire up your grill and give this recipe a try – your taste buds will thank you!