Have a recipe for a chile relleno egg and cheese casserole, compadres.
Saturday. I was riding the bus near Colfax and Federal when I saw a bunch of people hanging out in a parking lot around a large metal cage rotating horizontally on a spigot. “Oh, my god,” I thought…
But before I could finish, a gentleman sitting behind me quite loudly, yelled, “Hatch chiles? Oh fuck yeah!” He pulled the cord, and skittered off the bus towards the promised land. Leaving me just nodding, smiling in understanding. That gentleman is a hero. He did what we all felt.
I made my own way to the chile party after getting my rental car. This was my moment to grab a bag delicious, roasted green New Mexico chiles, and more importantly, to smell them.
Look, you can roast chiles with a broiler and some tin foil in your oven, and charring hatch chiles gives off this indescribable buttery, umami smell that any home should experience, but standing in line with a Mexican Coke and bunch of other people in a parking lot paying cash only to a man under a pop up tent is part of the performative social culture of the region. Who can say no to authenticity? Plus, it reminds me of home- this is a Southwestern tradition, one that our sisters and brothers in the Hatch Valley blessedly make possible for us all.
And, now, dear readers, I share with you this recipe which is a very close approximation of one I’ve often used to make for weekend breakfasts, so it’s tested for sure. You can make this any time of year: Poblano and even Anaheim peppers work very well too. May your face enjoy it.
Chile Relleno Breakfast Casserole
Recipe adapted from John Lewis and Ray England, Juan Luis, Charleston, SC
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes, plus 30 minutes cooling time
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, plus 30 minutes cooling time
1¾ pounds (12 medium) poblano chiles
1½ cups half-and-half
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 garlic clove
Nonstick cooking spray
2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
Boiling water, for baking
1. Preheat the broiler to high and line a sheet pan with foil. Line the chiles next to each other on the pan and broil, turning as needed, until the chiles are well charred, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let steam for 15 minutes, then peel and deseed the poblanos using the back of a knife.
2. Lower the oven temperature to 300°. In a blender, combine the half-and-half, flour, salt, eggs and garlic. Blend on medium until smooth.
3. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and line with a quarter of the roast poblanos, followed by a quarter of the grated cheese. Continue this layering process until all the chiles and cheese have been used. Pour the egg mixture in to cover the chiles and cheese.
4. Place the baking dish in a roasting pan and fill the roasting pan with enough boiling water to come up halfway along the sides of the baking dish. Bake until the eggs begin to set, 30 minutes, then raise the temperature to 400° and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the eggs are fully cooked and the top is golden brown.
5. Let rest at room temperature for 15 minutes, then slice and serve.