Pati's Mexican Table airs Saturdays at 12:30 pm.
In a new season of the James Beard Award-winning Pati's Mexican Table, Pati Jinich explores the cuisine of a Mexican state many people know only for its desert: Sonora. But the state, one of Mexico's largest, also has a long sea coast and rich culinary traditions. As the season launches, Pati starts her journey in Tucson, Arizona, the "gateway to Sonora," which is where she makes these oozy, cheese-filled chiles rellenos. Try the basic recipe here.
Cheese Chile Relleno (Chile Relleno de Queso)
Makes: 8 to 10 chiles rellenos
8 to 10 fresh Anaheim chiles, about 3 pounds
3 cups shredded queso Oaxaca or asadero, quesadilla, or melty cheese of your choice
1/2 cup all purpose flour
4 eggs, separated
Vegetable oil, for frying
1. Roast or char the Anaheim chiles by either placing them on a tray under the broiler, directly on the grill, or directly over an open flame. I prefer to broil them because you can do more at one time, and it just seems faster and easier. Whatever method you choose, turn them every 2 to 3 minutes for a total of 6 to 9 minutes. They must seem charred and blistered on the outside, and the flesh must be cooked but not burnt.
2. Once charred and hot, place the chiles in a plastic bag, close it tightly, and let them sweat for at least 10 minutes. Lastly, under a thin stream of cold water, or using a bowl of water, remove the charred skin, which should come right off. Make a slit down one side of the chile and remove the cluster of seeds and veins.
3. Stuff each chile with about 1/3 cup cheese or as much as will fit allowing them to close. You may seal with a toothpick.
4. Place 1/2 cup all purpose flour on a plate, roll the stuffed chiles in the flour, and let them sit. The flour coating will help the batter coat and stay on the chiles later on.
5. In a mixer, beat the egg whites until they can hold stiff peaks. Gently, over low speed, fold in the egg yolks and only beat enough to incorporate them, a few seconds.
6. In a large casserole, heat about 1/2” depth of oil, over medium to medium-high heat. Once hot, test the oil by dipping in a piece of tortilla or bread — if there are active and happy bubbles all around it, the oil is ready. When oil is ready, dip each of the stuffed and floured chiles into the egg batter, making sure that they are entirely covered in batter. Gently place them in the hot oil, trying to keep the side that was open or sealed with the toothpick facing up. Spoon some of the hot oil on top, so that it will seal the chile. Make as many as will fit in the casserole without overcrowding them. Fry for about 2 minutes per side, until golden brown. Make sure you flip them gently with a slotted spoon. Once ready, place on a paper-covered drying rack or platter. (Note: If you are going to eat later, you may warm up the chiles in a baking dish in a 300℉ oven for 10 minutes.)
6. To make tacos, place the chiles rellenos in flour tortillas and top with shredded cabbage, colorado chile salsa, Mexican crema, and crumbled queso Cotija or queso fresco. Enjoy.