These stuffed chile ancho and poblano peppers are a delicious choice for any meal.
When most people think of chiles rellenos, it's usually the egg-battered, cheese-filled roasted poblano that is popular in many Mexican restaurants. The relleno I grew up enjoying was egg battered, and always filled with beef picadillo. For this recipe, I decided to use both fresh and dried peppers. The fresh, green chile poblano, and the dried version of the poblano, which is called chile ancho. I most often use the chile ancho for preparing adobo or enchilada sauce for a variety of recipes and forget how tasty they are when stuffed. If you are lucky enough to live in a city with large Hispanic markets, you will find the best selection of fresh and dried peppers. When you pick out your dried chile ancho, it should be soft like leather. This will tell you that it’s more fresh. The peppers turn brittle as they get older. You can still use them, but fresher is always better. I was inspired to prepare this recipe when I received some fresh chile ancho from my foodie friend Helene. She is originally from New Jersey and lives in Texas now. I sent her a box full of her favorite pastas and she sent me chiles! It was a win-win trade. I have the best foodie friends!
First, prepare your peppers: On high, broil fresh poblanos for 8 to 10 minutes, turning as needed or until skins are blistered. Transfer to plastic bag and let steam and cool. Soften the dried chile anchos by adding them to some boiling water. Cover, remove from heat and let steep for 30 minutes.
For picadillo, add the beef to a pan and heat to medium/high. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin and chile ancho powder. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes or until nicely browned. Add the remaining ingredients, stir well to combine and reduce heat. Cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed and picadillo becomes thick. Taste for salt, cover and remove from heat.
For green chile sauce: Add green chiles, jalapeños, onions, garlic and 1 cup broth to the blender. Blend on high until smooth. In a sauce pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil to medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for a few minutes. Whisk in the sauce from blender and remaining chicken broth. Season with cumin, pepper and salt to taste. Reduce heat and continue cooking until sauce becomes thick. Keep warm on low.
Before transferring to a plate, remove the blistered skins, seeds and membranes from the poblanos. Drain all the water from chile anchos. The chile anchos are delicate, so handle carefully so they don’t tear too much. Remove as much of the seeds that you can from the chile ancho. Warm up the picadillo if you need to and divide it between the 6 peppers. Ladle some of the green chile sauce to the bottom of a shallow bowl, add a relleno, garnish with crumbled queso fresco. Serve with warm tortillas, rice and beans.
The dried chile ancho on the left soaking in the hot water. On the right, the roasted poblanos, blistered skins removed. The chile ancho will have a thin skin also, but I don’t usually remove it because you could tear the pepper.
Tips: The chile ancho is often described as a spicy raisin when it comes to the way it looks and tastes, but is most often quite mild.
When picking out the fresh chile poblano, look for the ones that feel heavy and with a thick skin.
These will work best when roasting and stuffing.