Poblano Chile Relleno Casserole

published Aug 3, 2022
Chile Relleno Casserole Recipe

All the big flavors of a classic chile relleno without the deep frying.

Serves6 to 8

Prep30 minutes to 40 minutes

Cook50 minutes to 1 hour

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a single serving of chile relleno casserole on a white plate showing the layers from the side
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Debbie Wee

If I spot chile rellenos on a menu at a Mexican restaurant, it’s pretty much guaranteed that I will order it. I love the combination of a soft poblano pepper stuffed with lots of melty cheese, all encased in a puffy fried egg batter that just soaks up the delicious sauce underneath. I’ve made this traditional version before, and it’s amazing. But between the charring, stuffing, and deep-frying, it’s a time-consuming labor of love. This easy casserole, on the other hand, comes together in one baking dish and it captures most everything I love about chile rellenos.

You can serve this as a breakfast casserole (eggs and sausage, remember?) or pair it with rice and refried beans for a hearty dinner. Make sure to have some salsa and hot sauce to serve on the side for a bright, zesty counterpoint to all the richness in the casserole.

What Is Chile Relleno Casserole?

Chile relleno casserole is made up of layers of poblano peppers, Monterey Jack cheese, and cooked chorizo sausage baked in a batter of egg, flour, and milk. Instead of stuffing individual peppers, the poblanos are cut open and layered into the baking dish, guaranteeing each bite has everything in it. Some chile relleno casseroles include a tomato sauce. But for crispier edges reminiscent of the fried chile relleno batter, I skip it and serve the casserole with tomato salsa or hot sauce instead.

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Debbie Wee

Tips for Making Chile Relleno Casserole

  • Swap in canned fire-roasted chiles. These are less sweet and a bit spicier than poblanos. They’re also not as authentic and take it in a more Tex-Mex direction. If you go this route, there’s no need to broil or peel the chiles — you use them directly from the can. (See recipe notes for specific instructions.)
  • Blend the batter. Chile relleno batter is made of milk, eggs, flour, and baking powder. To make sure there aren’t any lumps, buzz the batter up in a blender so that it’s smooth. The blender jar also makes it easy to pour out of.
  • Swap in soyrizo. This recipe calls for cooking a pound of Mexican chorizo in a nonstick pan. To make it vegetarian, use soyrizo instead.

Chile Relleno Casserole Recipe

All the big flavors of a classic chile relleno without the deep frying.

Prep time 30 minutes to 40 minutes

Cook time 50 minutes to 1 hour

Serves 6 to 8

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 8

    medium poblano peppers (about 2 pounds total)

  • Cooking spray

  • 12 ounces

    to 1 pound uncooked Mexican or soy chorizo

  • 1 tablespoon

    vegetable oil (optional)

  • 12 ounces

    Monterey Jack cheese (about 3 cups pre-shredded)

  • 8

    large eggs

  • 1 cup

    whole or 2% milk

  • 2/3 cup

    all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon

    baking powder

  • Hot sauce or blended tomato salsa, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat the broiler to high and arrange a rack in the upper third of the oven. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.

  2. Trim the stems from 8 medium poblano peppers and halve lengthwise. Remove the core, ribs, and seeds. Place the peppers skin-side up on the baking sheet in a single layer (they can be touching) and press down on them as needed so they sit fairly flat. If they don’t all fit on the baking sheet, broil in 2 batches.

  3. Broil until the skin on the peppers is almost completely blackened and blistered, 5 to 12 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet as needed so they evenly blacken. Meanwhile, heat a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Remove the casings from 12 ounces to 1 pound uncooked Mexican chorizo and add to the pan. Cook, breaking up the meat into smaller pieces, until browned and cooked through (add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to the pan if it is dry), 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.

  4. When the peppers are ready, transfer to a large heatproof bowl and cover with the aluminum foil on the baking sheet. Let sit for at least 10 minutes to steam.

  5. Meanwhile, reduce the oven temperature to 375ºF. Coat a 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Shred 12 ounces Monterey Jack cheese on the large holes of a box grater (about 4 cups, or use 3 cups pre-shredded). Place 8 large eggs, 1 cup whole or 2% milk, 2/3 cup all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon baking powder in a blender and blend on high speed until smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender halfway through, 45 to 60 seconds total.

  6. Peel off and discard the skin from the peppers, using a paper towel to rub off any skin that doesn’t come off easily (do the best you can, it doesn’t all have to come off); it’s okay if the peppers tear.

  7. Pour enough of the egg mixture into the baking dish to just cover the bottom. Arrange half of the peppers in an even layer over the egg mixture. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chorizo over the peppers in an even layer. Sprinkle with half of the cheese. Arrange the remaining peppers evenly over the cheese. Pour the remaining egg mixture evenly over the peppers, then sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

  8. Bake on the upper third rack until puffed, the center is set, and the edges are golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving with salsa or hot sauce if desired.

Recipe Notes

Poblano substitute: 4 (10-ounce) cans fire-roasted whole green chiles can be substituted for the poblanos. Drain, and gently tear open any whole chiles so they sit flat. Pat dry with paper towels before assembling in the casserole (no need to broil first).

Make ahead: The peppers can be broiled and peeled and the chorizo cooked up to 1 day ahead; refrigerate in separate airtight containers. Alternatively, the casserole can be assembled without the top layer of cheese, covered, and refrigerated overnight. When ready to bake, let the casserole sit at room temperature while the oven heats. Uncover and sprinkle with the cheese right before baking, and add 5 minutes to the bake time.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days. The baked casserole can also be cooled, wrapped tightly in aluminum foil, and frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating, covered, in a 325ºF oven until warmed through.