This recipe for Baked Chile Relleno substitutes an oven-baked cornmeal and panko crust for the usual deep fried exterior. Gluten-Free and FODMAP friendly, it’s a delicious addition to your table!
Cinco de Mayo is Friday!
The internet is flooded with mouth-watering margarita recipes (like this one and this one, for instance), and you can’t turn the corner without a new spin on a taco or enchilada recipe. I’m far from complaining though. As I mentioned last week, I love all things Tex-Mex, and one of my absolute favorite dishes is Chile Relleno. What’s not to like about a perfectly roasted poblano pepper stuffed with gooey cheese and deep-fried golden in a crispy crust? I can’t let myself have it often – so much cheese! – but occasionally it’s the perfect addition to a sweet and salty happy hour margarita.
While I admit one of the best parts of a Chile Relleno is the crispy exterior, I loved the idea of trying to find a way to forego all that oil and make a baked version of the dish. The Spanish name translates to “stuffed chile” after all, so it seems a deep-fry isn’t essential. Taking a cue from baked chicken finger recipes, I pulled together a cornmeal and panko based breading to replace the fried crust. The results are deliciously gooey on the inside with a nice crunch on the outside – without the extra oil.
Chile Relleno for Various Diets
A key addition to a traditional Chile Relleno is a delicious Salsa Ranchera Sauce, like the one I posted in preparation for this recipe. Like that Salsa Ranchera Sauce, I made this Baked Chile Relleno completely Gluten-Free and (mostly) low in FODMAPs.
I say mostly because of the Quick Mango Starfruit Salsa. Mango is rated high in FODMAPs, but it’s my favorite fruit salsa to pair with Mexican-style cuisine. If you want to keep this recipe truly low in FODMAPs, omit the topping from your final dish. Or, if you have company of mixed dietary restrictions, serve it on the side.
It was also important to me to make this recipe without gluten, as so many people on the Low FODMAP Diet have to avoid it. So, rather than use regular flour, this Baked Chile Relleno is dredged in a combination of gluten-free cornmeal, cornstarch, panko, and egg yolks.
You can even easily make this dish vegetarian by omitted the ground pork from the stuffing. It will still be fantastic, trust me.
Preparing Mango and Starfruit
Before this recipe, I’d never used starfruit before. I couldn’t believe how simple it was to work with. I expected it to have a more tropical flavor, but it really tastes like fresh apple, and has a similar texture. The difference, of course, is in the presentation. Look as those pretty star shapes!
Once you have all the elements in order, serve up the Baked Chile Relleno in pairs, drizzled with Salsa Ranchera Sauce, Quick Mango Starfruit Salsa, and a sprinkling of cheese (I used Queso Fresco in these photos).
Baked Chile Relleno with Quick Mango Starfruit Salsa
Pair this dish with a spicy Low FODMAP Salsa Ranchera Sauce!
Baked Chile Relleno
- 8 poblano peppers
- 1/3 lb ground pork
- 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup Asiago cheese, shredded
- 5 egg yolks (reserve the whites for another use)
- 1 1/2 tsp salt, divided
- 1/2 cup fine ground cornmeal, divided
- 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1 cup Salsa Ranchera Sauce (See recipe linked above)
Quick Mango & Starfruit Salsa
- 2 yellow mangoes, diced
- 1 starfruit, diced
- 1 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
- Juice of 1/2 lime
Additional Toppings (Optional)
- Queso Fresco or Cojita cheese
- Sliced avocada
- Fresh cilantro
Baked Chile Relleno
Preheat broiler on high with the rack 4 to 6 inches below the heat element. Arrange the whole poblano peppers on a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast the peppers until blackened on one side, about 5 minutes. Flip, and roast an additional 3 minutes. Transfer the peppers to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let them steam for about 10 minutes.
While the poblano peppers are steaming, cook the ground pork. Crumbled the meat into a small sauce pan over medium heat and add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon red pepper to season. Cook 6 minutes until just browned. Remove from heat and set aside.
Uncover the poblano peppers. Remove and discard the stems and skins. Cut lengthwise along one side, and open each pepper up so that it lies flat. Rinse each under cool water to remove any leftover skin and pat dry with a paper towel.
Lay the papers flat out on a cutting board or other clean work surface, skin side down. Combine the Monterey Jack cheese, asiago cheese, and ground pork together in a bowl. Depending on the size of your poblano peppers, put 1 to 2 tablespoons of cheese and pork mixture into each opened pepper. Roll the pepper closed carefully, and place them cut-side down onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Secure closed with toothpicks is needed. Freeze for at least 1 hour, and up to overnight.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with foil and set a heat-proof grate or cooling rack inside (see here for detailed instructions). Spray with non-stick cooking spray.
Set up three bowls to be used to dredge the stuffed peppers: In the first, mix ½ cup cornmeal with 1 tablespoon cornstarch. In the second, combine the egg yolks and beat them together until smooth. In the third, mix together the remaining 1/2 cup cornmeal, 1/4 cup panko, and 1 teaspoon salt. Remove the frozen peppers from the freezer. They should be relatively solid. Dredge each of the peppers in the cornmeal, egg yolks, and panko mixture in succession, shaking off excess with each step. Lay each pepper onto the prepared baking sheet.
Bake the peppers for 15-20 minutes, until the outside is lightly brown and crispy, and the cheese is melty – the peppers might leak a little, but just scoop up the cheese back into the pepper if that happens! Enjoy the Baked Chile Relleno immediately, topped with a dose of Salsa Ranchera Sauce, fresh Mango Starfruit Salsa, and any other toppings you prefer.
Quick Mango & Starfruit Salsa
While the peppers bake, combine the diced fruit, chopped cilantro, lime juice and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Serve immediately.
Baked, Not Fried: Unlike a traditional Chile Relleno, the panko crust will not completely envelope these peppers. Instead, it will add a nice crunch and avoid the necessity of deep frying something in your kitchen.
Gluten-Free & FODMAP Friendly: The Baked Chile Relleno recipe is both gluten-free and appropriate for the Low FODMAP Diet. Mangoes, however, are high in FODMAPs. I’ve found mangoes and citrus fruits are not a problem for me, but if you wish to keep this meal completely FODMAP friendly, omit the Mango Starfruit Salsa from the final recipe, or serve it on the side.
Vegetarian Option: Feel free to omit the ground pork from the recipe to make this dish vegetarian.