Chile Rellenos Stuffed with Chicken and Goat Cheese for a Cinco de Mayo Celebration

Chile Rellenos stuffed with chicken and goat cheese and served with cabbage salad

This week is Cinco de Mayo (May 5th), a Mexican holiday that is celebrated here in the Rocky Mountain states due to the influence Mexico has historically had on the region and our large population of Mexican immigrants.  While many people think that Cinco de Mayo is Mexican Independence Day the holiday doesn’t have anything to do with Mexican independence.  Cinco de Mayo is a regional holiday primarily celebrated in the Mexican state of Puebla commemorating the victory the Mexican Army had over the French Army during the 1862 Battle of Puebla.  Mexico’s Independence Day is on September 16 when the entire country of Mexico celebrates it’s Independence.  The best way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo is with a native dish from Puebla….Chile Rellenos stuffed with ground chicken and goat cheese.

I developed this recipe one afternoon after buying some ground chicken that I had planned to use for a pot of green chile, aka, chile verde. My goal was to alleviate my craving for the sweet taste of green chiles that afternoon.  After realizing I had many different variations of green chile stored in the freezer I decided to try something different, but what would could I make?

My friend, Susie, makes great Enchilada Suizas that she shared with me while I was recuperating from knee surgery.   I really liked the tomatillo sauce that was on top of the suizas but I didn’t have any tortillas on hand so I couldn’t make suizas.  Sitting in the pantry was a large can of whole chiles and the thought of chile rellenos came to mind.  Wanting to use the ground chicken and some left over goat cheese  that was sitting in the fridge this recipe was born.  I decided to develop a sauce similar to the suiza sauce and use it on the rellenos.

The recipe for the rellenos sounds complicated but don’t worry, it isn’t.  I guarantee you your work will be rewarded with a delicious dinner!

Recipe: Chile Rellenos Stuffed with Chicken and Goat Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground chicken (you can make your own by taking chicken meat and putting it in the food processor and pulsing until ground)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 8 ounces of plain soft goat cheese (I buy mine at Costco because it is less expensive than everywhere else)
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • 2 green onions or scallions chopped
  • ½ red pepper chopped
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I didn’t use salt and pepper)
  • 27 ounce can whole green chiles (I use Hatch brand because I like them the best and they are “local” from New Mexico)
  • 1½ cups of shredded mild cheese (about 6 ounces) I used Manchego but you can use Swiss, Queso Blanco, Muenster, or Chihuahua. I don’t recommend using cheddar because it will over power the delicate flavor of the goat cheese.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Put the oil in a skillet and turn on medium heat.
  3. Cook the garlic until just fragrant, not browned.
  4. Add the scallion, red pepper, and ground chicken.
  5. Cook until chicken just loses its pink color.
  6. Drain chicken (may not be anything to drain!) and let cool slightly.
  7. Put the goat cheese, yogurt and egg in the food processor, pulse until blended.
  8. Add in the oregano and basil and pulse to blend.
  9. Add the cooked ground chicken mixture and pulse to blend.
  10. Open the can of chiles and drain the liquid.  I use the liquid for making chile verde. Place the green chiles on a cutting board and slit the chile on the long side…do not cut all the way down to the bottom if possible. Remove any seeds.
  11. Using a 12x 9 or 13 x 10 pan (I use Pyrex glass pans for this)  spread a little of the tomatillo sauce on the bottom of the pan to lightly coat it.
  12. Take a zip lock bag and put ½ of the chicken mixture into the bottom of the bag and set the bag in a bowl or a glass.

    Make a piping bag out of a plastic bag

  13. Cut a small hole at in one of the corners of the plastic bag with the chicken mixture, you are making a piping bag to make it easier to put the mixture in the chiles. Take the bag and put the open corner into the chile and squeeze enough mixture to fill the chile.Do not over stuff, you should be able to “close” the chile by connecting the two sides.You may have some chiles that are split, you can stuff them and gently place them in the pan covering the filling with part of the split chile.

    Piping the filling into chiles

  14. Place the chile with the filling side up into the Pyrex pan. Continue with the rest of the chiles, placing the chiles in a single layer in the pan, adding more filling to the plastic bag as needed.
  15. When all of the filling is used and the chiles pour the remaining tomatillo sauce over the chiles and top with shredded cheese.
  16. Place in pan in the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes. If the top is not browned after 30 minutes turn the temperature up to 425 and bake an additional 5-7 minutes (or broil) until top is browned.
  17. Remove pan from oven and let sit 5 minutes before serving.
  18. After serving each  person can add salt and/or pepper.

    Hot out of the oven, this is 1/2 the recipe

Microformatting by hRecipe.

Recipe: Tomatillo Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 large can tomatillos (drained) or about 8-10 fresh tomatillos gently boiled until soft and drained
  • 1 tablespoon chopped jalapeno or Serrano chile (optional…if you don’t want heat leave this out)
  • 1 -2 cloves garlic, chopped (of course I use 2 cloves)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt (I used non-fat, Greek yogurt because it is richer than regular yogurt and easier to cook with. Non-Greek yogurt tends to break down and get very watery when cooking with it so that’s why I use Greek Yogurt for cooking it doesn’t break as easily)
  • 2 eggs

Instructions

  1. Place the tomatillos and garlic in a food processor or blender. Blend until roughly chopped.
  2. Add the cumin and oregano and blend.
  3. Then add the yogurt and blend.
  4. Finally blend in the eggs.

Microformatting by hRecipe.

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8 Responses to Chile Rellenos Stuffed with Chicken and Goat Cheese for a Cinco de Mayo Celebration

  1. Perfect for this occasion. Who am I kidding…perfect for any occasion. Like 10am meetings. :)

    So glad to see you again Jane…just LOVE our group!

    • Jane says:

      These definitely aren’t just for Cinco de Mayo! I can easily see these as a brunch item, a little tangy with the delicious taste of goat cheese. Hmm, my mouth is watering now! I may just have to bring a batch to our next meeting and see what you all think about them.

  2. This is a nice alternative to “fried” chile rellenos. Odd to say, but I’ve never tried canned whole green chiles. My family always went through the fall production of roasting, pealing and freezing our own. Do you recommend a particular brand that I should keep in the pantry?

    Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

    • Jane says:

      Hatch Brand of whole canned chiles is what I use. They come from Hatch New Mexico and are very good. I hear you about the process of freezing chiles in the fall. I usually get a bushel of chiles from a stand along side the road and have them roasted. The aroma is unforgetable. Then peel the chiles and freeze them. I usually run out of frozen chiles about March…and have to revert to canned ones.

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  4. Vicky says:

    I took the dish out of the oven and tasted it. Wow! It was wonderful.

    I forgot to tell you that I made half of my dish with the roasted Hatch chillis that I had in my freezer. The part I tasted was made with one of those – It was HOT and i didn’t use a serrano in my tomatillo sauce.

    Was your dish Hot?

    • Jane says:

      Thank you for the comment Vicky, glad you liked the dish. I hope Susie likes the half you are giving to her…the tomatillo sauce was inspired from the Enchilada Suizas she makes. You need to try that recipe too.
      One of the reasons I use the canned chiles is because I know they are not hot. Even though I buy mild Hatch chiles at the farmers stands I find they are variable on the heat level. I’ve had some mild chiles that are so hot!!! So when I make this dish I do prefer to use the canned version unless I am absolutely certain the chiles I bought at the stand are mild. Most of the time I use the ones I buy at the stand for my chile verde that way I can always add more ingredients if the dish is too spicy hot.

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