Put the holiday party helpers to work assembling a mixed bag of stuffed pasilla chiles. —INGRAIN, Fall/Winter 2019
The term "chiles rellenos" can refer to any chile stuffed with a variety of fillings; the peppers don’t have to be batter fried and bursting with oozy cheese. Refried beans (canned work great) are a crowd-pleasing base that you can take in fresh veggie, meat/poultry, or firmer cheese directions (queso fresco, goat, even?). If you want to go all out and make barbacoa to include in the holiday, and you should, the shredded meat makes a great topping.
Lay the chile peppers out on a big platter so everyone diving into the Mexican-inspired Thanksgiving feast can grab what they like.
Makes 20 chile peppers
20 fresh pasilla chile peppers
2 15-ounce cans refried beans (black or pinto)
About 1 cup low-sodium vegetable stock
Toppings (ingredients follow)
20 fresh pasilla chile peppers (grill, broil, or pan-sear) on all sides until chiles have softened and are blackened in spots. Transfer chile peppers to a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. When cool, peel skins, make 1 slice down the length of each pepper (try not to tear the flesh), and remove seeds.
2 15-ounce cans refried beans (black or pinto) + enough low-sodium vegetable stock together in a medium bowl until beans are thinned just enough to be a spreadable consistency. (If beans are too thick to stir, zap them in the microwave or warm on the stovetop for a few minutes.)
Chile peppers side by side in 2 large baking dishes. Spread a generous spoonful of refried beans down the center of each. Cover baking dishes loosely with aluminum foil and set aside for up to 2 hours.
All of the chiles rellenos toppings. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake chiles until beans are warm, about 15 minutes. Arrange chiles on a serving plate and pile on the various toppings or let guests build their own chiles rellenos.
Chiles Rellenos Toppings
Consider these toppings merely inspiration. Finely chop any vegetables, fruits, and herbs ahead (except the avocado, it will discolor), so they’re ready when the chiles rellenos come out of the oven. If you are using barbacoa, shred the meat and add it on top of the beans before baking the chiles.
Queso para freír (fried)* + red onions + tomatoes + pepitas
Pineapple + avocado + red onions + serranos + queso fresco (crumbled)
Tomatoes + serranos + cilantro + tortilla chips (crushed)
Barbacoa (baked with beans) + serranos + cilantro + Mexican crema
*Farmer’s cheese is a firm type of queso fresco that can be pan-fried in a little oil without melting. It is available at most Latin markets. Cut the cheese into cubes before frying.
For pairing tips, check out our Holiday Beer & Food Pairings guide.