Intro: Nesting Hen Chile Rellenos
In my Family, it's widely known that I love to experiment and play with food.
My sweetheart loves my traditional homemade Chile Rellenos, so this hearty chicken version took him a little by surprise... and quite pleasantly!
Nesting Hen Chile Rellenos are a fun and delicious departure in both taste and preparation.
Roasted Anaheim Chiles are generously filled with shredded chicken and cheese, then nestled atop a cloud of frying egg batter. The Chicken Rellenos are then transfered to a casserole dish to finish baking in the oven.
Please note: The BEST Chile Rellenos are made using freshly roasted Chiles. The prep takes a little longer, but the taste and texture of fresh Chiles is a BILLION times better than anything "canned". They're well worth the effort!
For the easiest way to fire-roast any chile, use my technique for No-Sweat Roasted Chile Peppers . It'll save you a LOT of time and the results are flawless.
When your fresh Anaheim Chiles are roasted and the skin has been removed, proceed to step 1.
Please review each step for the recipe ingredients and the preparation.
Step 1: Cleaning the Chiles
Your chiles need to be cleaned inside and here's how to do it:
Put on a pair of inexpensive latex or plastic gloves. (The disposable gloves that are sold with Hair coloring kits work just fine)
Just below the stem, cut a T into one side of the chile as pictured. Use your thumbnail (or a grapefruit spoon) to reach inside and scrape/scoop all of the seeds out. Gently pull/peel out the excess membrane from the inner ribs, too.
Rinse the chile quickly to remove any seeds that might be hiding.
Drain the chile on a paper towel (cut side down) while you prepare the Chicken filling.
Step 2: Make the Chicken-cheese Filling
For filling 2 Anaheim Chiles you'll need:
- 1/4 cup cream cheese- softened
- 3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese (1/4 cup reserved)
- 3/4 cup shredded Longhorn Cheddar Cheese (1/4 cup reserved)
- 1/4 cup roasted Poblano Chiles- roasted and diced
- 1/2 cup corn kernels. Fresh or canned
- 1 cup cooked, shredded Chicken meat
- Salt to taste
- Salsa (reserved)
Stuff each Anaheim chile chock-full of the chicken-cheese-corn mixture as pictured. Set aside.
Step 3: Heat the Oil, Prepare the Egg Batter and Fry
Heat 1/2" cooking oil in an electric skillet (or on the stove top over medium-low heat) to approx. 325 degrees.
Prepare the egg batter. You'll need:
- 2 Eggs- room temperature
- 1 pinch Cream of Tartar
- 1 pinch Salt
Put the yolks in a small bowl. Add a pinch of salt to the egg yolks and stir well with a fork. Set aside.
With an electric hand mixer, beat the egg whites until frothy, then add a pinch of Cream of Tartar. Continue beating on high speed until stiff peaks form.
Gently fold the egg yolk mixture into the whipped egg whites until fully incorporated
Your goal is to make an egg batter "nest" for each Chicken Relleno. The temperature of the oil should be low enough to fry the nests slowly and in a controlled manner. You can always increase the temperature if you need to.
Begin by gently spooning the batter into the hot oil, forming the approximate shape of the pepper. When the shape looks right, let the nest fry for a couple of minutes to set the batter. It will be puffy.
Then begin spooning the second nest into the hot oil next to the first one. Try not to let the batter nests touch one another. Do not turn the nests over or baste them. Let them fry slowly.
It's hard to describe this process in words, so please look at the pictures. It's actually much easier done than said. ;-)
When the bottom of the first nest is firm and golden brown in color, place one Chicken Relleno directly on top of the nest. Continue frying it undisturbed for a 3-4 minutes. Again, don't turn the relleno or baste with the hot oil.
Repeat this process with the second Chicken Relleno.
If you need to turn up the heat, this is the time to do it.
When the bottom of the Chicken Relleno nests are a deep golden brown, use a slotted metal spatula and remove them from the oil to a baking dish.
Spoon about 2 tablespoons of salsa down the center of each Chicken Relleno.
Cover with foil, the dull side facing outward. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.
Step 4: Garnish and Serve
Remove the foil cover from the Chicken Rellenos and sprinkle each Relleno with the reserved cheeses.
Serve with salsa and anything else your heart and tastebuds desire