Monday, July 27, 2009

Don't Judge a Casserole...

I admit Chile Relleno Casserole does not have "Spoon" written all over it. It's true that it doesn't require a long list of ingredients and can be prepared fairly quickly--two qualities I often look for in a recipe. But I'm generally not a casserole kind of girl (Italian casseroles like baked ziti, lasagna and baked macaroni not withstanding). Also, since "relleno" means "stuffed" or "filled," I couldn't figure out what was stuffed in this recipe. I envisioned the labor-intensive task of stuffing individual chilies with some sort of complicated mixture. Still, when I met cookbook author and publisher Tod Davies and she singled this recipe out as one that epitomized her approach to cooking, I knew I had to give it a try.

This is definitely a case of "you don't know until you try it," because Chile Relleno Casserole is actually quite good. It's essentially a layered vegetable-cheese-egg dish, a sort of twist on huevos rancheros. The bottom layer is shredded jack cheese. On top of that are diced roasted green peppers, then canned green chilies, then shredded cheddar. Over this you pour a mixture of beaten eggs and milk, seasoned with salt, and then top it with paprika. You bake it in a 350-degree oven for 40 minutes or so, and that's it.

I used smoky Spanish paprika (Fork came home about halfway through the cooking and said, "Smells like bacon"--ha!), which I think gave the dish a little depth. We topped our servings with chopped scallion and cilantro, and a squirt of lime juice. With some blue corn tortilla chips, this made a light, easy supper. Here's to trying new things...--S

Chile Relleno Casserole

Serves 4-6

1. Roast 2 large green peppers. Seed them. Dice into large pieces.
2. Get about 1 1/2 seven-ounce cans Ortega green chiles, whole or diced, about 11 ounces.
3. Grate 10 ounces Jack cheese (.63 lb.) and 10 ounces sharp Cheddar.
4. 1 1/3 c. of milk.
5. In a huge, flat casserole that's been greased, spread the Jack, the peppers, the chile, the Cheddar.
6. Beat 3 large eggs. Add the milk and 1/2 t salt. Pour over casserole mixture. Paprika top.
7. Bake at 350 for about 40-50 minutes.

Note: I halved the recipe, using one can of chilies, about 4 ounces of each of the cheeses, and one egg.

Recipe courtesy of
Jam Today.