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Chile Rellenos

Rodney Strong - Chile Rellenos

Recipe by Chef Jeff Mall, down home: downtown


Red Chile Sauce:
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
5 dried New Mexico chiles
5 dried California chiles
5 ancho chiles
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, sliced
2 teaspoons dried oregano, preferably Mexican
3 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Chile Rellenos:
4 fresh Anaheim chiles
1 tablespoon canola or corn oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 shallot, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
9 ounces mixed mushrooms, such as chanterelles, oysters, cremini, or buttons, sliced (3 cups)
1⁄4 cup dry sherry
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 ounces fresh goat cheese, such as Laura Chenel
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons olive oil
Crumbled cotija cheese for sprinkling


For the chile sauce: In a dry medium skillet over medium heat, toast the cumin seeds until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Grind in a spice grinder or clean coffee grinder. Stem the dried chiles and remove the seeds. Break the chiles into 1-inch pieces. Return the skillet to medium heat and toast the chiles, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes. Do not allow to burn. Transfer the chiles to a bowl, add hot water to cover, and let stand for 20 minutes.

In a heavy, medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until golden brown, 7 to 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, toasted cumin, and oregano. Drain the chiles and add to the onion mixture along with the chicken broth and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 20 minutes.

Working in batches if necessary, puree the sauce in a blender. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Return to the pan and set aside.

For the rellenos: Preheat the broiler. In a medium bowl, toss the Anaheim chiles with the oil to coat and place on a baking sheet. Broil 4 to 6 inches from the heat source until the skins begin to blister, 4 to 6 minutes; turn and broil on the second side until blistered, another 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from the broiler and let cool to the touch. Peel off the skins, slit the chiles down the sides with a paring knife, and carefully remove the seeds. Set aside.

In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallot and thyme and sauté until the shallot is translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they have released most of their juices, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the sherry and salt and cook until the mixture is almost dry. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Stir in the goat cheese. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

Mold one-fourth of the mushroom mixture into an oval and stuff it into a chile; repeat with the remaining filling and chiles. If the chiles tend to fall open, secure each with a toothpick. In a shallow bowl, combine the flour and cornstarch; stir with a whisk to blend. Dredge the chiles in the flour mixture to coat.

Reheat the chile sauce over low heat. Meanwhile, in a medium nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chiles and fry until browned and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Remove the toothpicks. Ladle the hot chile sauce onto each of 4 salad plates and top each with a fried stuffed chile. Garnish with the cotija cheese.

Makes 4 first-course servings or side dishes.

Photography by Alan Campbell Photography

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