Easy Chiles Rellenos Casserole
Although Martha Foose’s lovely A Southerly Course has been sitting on the corner of my desk for a while now, I’m just now getting around to cooking from it. It’s full of amazingly beautiful recipes that conjure up traditional Southern eating but with a modern style.
Life’s been busy so cooking of any sort, especially trying new dishes, has been low on my list lately. Simple and easy dishes have been the only chance of avoiding takeout. Bored with my usual simple-and-easy dishes, I finally picked up the cookbooks for new inspiration and found plenty. I began with this one because I had the ingredients on hand, along with a batch of refried beans that made the perfect side dish.
I don’t suppose most would associate Tex-Mex with the South, although I clearly remember eating my share of enchiladas and tamales as a small girl in the deep South. As an adult, I still love Tex-Mex, especially a good Chile Relleno, but I’ve never gotten around to making them myself. I guess because I’ve had too many that weren’t good I assumed they’re more difficult than they look? This simple casserole makes it easy to get the same great texture and flavor.
I made two changes to the original recipe. I jazzed up the sauce a little bit but feel free to use plain tomato sauce as called for in the original recipe. Also, I had a bag of poblanos in the fridge so I used those instead of canned chiles. I’m sure canned would work just fine and they’d be even easier.
-Poblano Peppers, 5 or 6
-Egg Whites, 4
-Milk, 1 cup
-Flour, 1/3 cup
-Cheddar, 6 ounces
-Pepper Jack, 6 ounces
-Tomato Sauce, 1 medium can (I only had a big 26 oz can so I used about half)
-Cocoa Powder, 1 tablespoon
Preheat the broiler to 450. Use nonstick cooking spray to generously coat a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish. Now rinse and half the peppers, removing the stems and seeds. Place them skin side up on a baking sheet and stick them under the broiler for about 10 minutes or until they just begin to soften and brown.
Whisk the egg whites, milk and flour together in a small bowl. I got a little yolk in this one but it really didn’t matter.
Pour the mixture into the greased dish.
Combine the tomato sauce with the cocoa powder and teaspoon or so of the other spices. Stir it together and heat it just until it’s blended and heated through. Grate the cheese and set aside about half a cup of each for the final topping.
By now the peppers should be done. Remove them from the oven, turn the oven to bake and reduce the heat to 350. Arrange a single layer of peppers in the casserole dish, making sure to coat them well with the egg mixture.
Sprinkle with about of the remaining cheeses.
Repeat with a second layer. I used a spoon to scoop up the egg mixture from the edges of the pan and spooned it over this second layer of peppers. Add a second layer of cheeses.
Pour the sauce over the top.
Finish it off with the reserved cheese. Bake at 350 for about an hour, until it’s bubbly and the egg mixture is set.
I let it stand for about ten minutes before cutting into it.
Dish it up with a spatula and and serve hot. Enjoy!