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Chile Relleno Casserole

Chile Relleno Casserole: A Festive Fiesta of Flavors in Every Bite

Prepare to embark on a culinary journey to the heart of Mexico with the enticing and flavorful Chile Relleno Casserole. This dish is a celebration of the beloved Mexican classic, reimagined into a convenient and delectable casserole. Bursting with the warmth of traditional spices, the richness of melted cheese, and the smoky allure of poblano peppers, this casserole promises to bring the vibrant spirit of a fiesta to your dining table. Join us as we explore the art of crafting the perfect Chile Relleno Casserole—a dish that transforms ordinary ingredients into a symphony of South-of-the-border delights.

Ingredients:

To commence your culinary adventure with Chile Relleno Casserole, gather the following ingredients:

For the Casserole:

  • 6 large poblano peppers
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground beef or turkey
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend

For the Egg Mixture:

  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

For the Tomato Sauce:

  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and sugar to taste

For Garnish (Optional):

  • Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Sour cream
  • Sliced jalapeños

Instructions:

  1. Roast and Peel Poblanos: Begin by placing the poblano peppers under the broiler or over an open flame until the skin is charred. Transfer them to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let them steam for 10 minutes. Peel the charred skin, remove seeds, and set aside.
  2. Prepare the Filling: In a skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium heat. Sauté chopped onions and minced garlic until softened. Add ground beef or turkey, cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, salt, and black pepper. Cook until the meat is browned. Set aside.
  3. Stuff Poblanos: Now, stuff each poblano pepper with the prepared meat mixture, ensuring they are evenly filled. Place them in a greased baking dish.
  4. Make the Egg Mixture: In a bowl, whisk together eggs, whole milk, and all-purpose flour until well combined. Pour this mixture over the stuffed poblanos in the baking dish.
  5. Sprinkle with Cheese: Generously sprinkle shredded Mexican cheese over the egg-coated poblanos. The cheese will create a golden, bubbly crust during baking.
  6. Prepare the Tomato Sauce: In a saucepan, combine crushed tomatoes, ground cumin, dried oregano, salt, and a pinch of sugar. Simmer over medium heat until the sauce thickens slightly. Pour the sauce over the cheese-topped poblanos.
  7. Bake to Perfection: Bake the Chile Relleno Casserole in a preheated oven at 375°F (190°C) for 30-35 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly, and the egg mixture is set.
  8. Garnish and Serve: Once baked, let the casserole rest for a few minutes. Garnish with fresh cilantro, dollops of sour cream, and sliced jalapeños if desired. Slice and serve the casserole while it’s still warm.

Cook Notes:

  • Choosing Poblanos: Select firm and glossy poblanos for stuffing. If you prefer less heat, remove the seeds and membranes before stuffing.
  • Customizing Filling: Experiment with different fillings like black beans, corn, or diced bell peppers for a vegetarian twist.
  • Adjusting Spice Levels: Control the spiciness by adjusting the amount of chili powder and adding or omitting jalapeños in the garnish.

Variations:

Cheese Lover’s Delight: For an extra cheesy version, layer additional cheese between the meat-filled poblanos and the egg mixture. This creates a gooey, cheesy center.

Vegetarian Fiesta: Craft a vegetarian-friendly version by stuffing poblanos with a mix of sautéed vegetables, black beans, and rice. Substitute ground meat with plant-based alternatives.

Enchilada Inspired: Transform the casserole into an enchilada-inspired dish by rolling the meat and cheese filling in tortillas and arranging them in the baking dish. Pour the egg mixture and tomato sauce over the top.

Keto Version:

For a keto-friendly Chile Relleno Casserole, replace all-purpose flour with almond flour in the egg mixture. Use ground turkey or beef with higher fat content and opt for a keto-friendly crushed tomato option. Be mindful of the carb content in onions and adjust quantities accordingly.

Low-Carb Version:

Create a low-carb adaptation by using a low-carb flour alternative such as almond flour or coconut flour in the egg mixture. Reduce the amount of onions and tomatoes in the filling to lower the carb content. Choose a low-carb cheese blend for the topping.

Chile Relleno Casserole is not just a dish; it’s a celebration of the rich tapestry of Mexican flavors that dance on your palate. From the smokiness of roasted poblanos to the savory goodness of spiced meat, and the creaminess of melted cheese, each layer contributes to the fiesta of taste. Whether served as a comforting weeknight meal or as the star of a festive gathering, this casserole brings the essence of Mexican cuisine to your table. So, let the aroma of spices fill your kitchen, and savor the joy of a culinary journey with Chile Relleno Casserole—a dish that turns every meal into a flavorful fiesta.

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