Photo by Sonia Mendez Garcia

Chiles Rellenos en Salsa (Skillet Stuffed Poblanos in Tomato Salsa)

Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 70 minutes
Servings: 4 peppers
These chiles rellenos made in the skillet will save you time and produce a lighter version of the classic recipe. And you can get creative with the leftovers!

This recipe for chiles rellenos en salsa comes together fairly quickly compared to the traditional relleno covered in egg batter. No mixing bowls and no frying makes for a lighter version of these roasted and stuffed poblanos that I enjoy so much. Prepare as directed, adding stuffed poblanos to the skillet filled with salsa. Let cool at room temperature, cover and chill for a day or two before warming in a preheated oven for 45 minutes. And if there are only two of you, like in my family, then you will be set with leftovers for the next day.

Want a knockout chile relleno burrito casserole for your next game night? Take a large burrito-size tortilla, add beans, cheese and chile relleno. Roll as tight as you can and top with the salsa from this recipe in a baking dish, then top with more cheese. Bake in a preheated oven until warmed through and the cheese has melted.

For the tomato salsa,  if you want to keep with the smoky flavors, you could add 2 chipotles en adobo instead of the serranos when you get ready to blend the salsa. And if you want to try a vegetarian version, fill with roasted chayote squash, bell peppers, corn, black beans, cooked quinoa and cheese.


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The Poblanos
  1. Preheat broiler on high for 5 minutes. Transfer the poblanos to a baking sheet and broil for 15 to 18 minutes, or until skins have blistered, turning halfway through cooking time. Remove from oven and transfer to a plastic storage bag to cool and steam.
The Tomato Salsa
  1. In a medium pot, add all of the ingredients for the tomato salsa. Cover with water, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and continue cooking for 15 minutes. Remove from heat.
The Picadillo
  1. Preheat a heavy skillet to medium-high heat for a few minutes. Add the ground beef or meat of your choice. Use a flat-edged wooden spoon to break up the meat. Season to taste with salt; I usually start with just 1/2 teaspoon. Add the pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, cumin, 1/2 teaspoon oregano and 1/3 teaspoon chipotle powder. Cook until meat is nicely browned.
  2. To the ground meat, add the onions, garlic, bell pepper and chayote. Stir well to combine and cook for 5 minutes. Add the cooked potato, zest and juice of lime, Maggi sauce and water. Sprinkle the masa harina evenly over the top of meat, then stir well to combine. Taste for salt and continue cooking until the sauce thickens and reduces. Cover and set aside. Remove blistered skins from poblano peppers. Cut open on one side and clean out the seeds and membranes.
To Assemble
  1. Add 1/3 teaspoon pepper and salt to taste. Blend on high until smooth. Preheat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet to medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the salsa from blender to the hot skillet. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Fill each pepper generously with picadillo and carefully place in warm, simmering salsa open side up. Sprinkle tops of rellenos with queso fresco. Cover with lid and cook just until cheese melts. Garnish with jalapeño, green onions and cilantro. Serve with rice, beans and warm tortillas.

Chef Notes

For the picadillo, I recommend cooking the potato ahead of time. Bake the whole Russet potato until fork tender or peel and dice the raw potato. Then cook it in boiling, salted water until fork tender.

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