Corn and Cheese Chile Rellenos With Roasted Tomato Sauce
Chile rellenos are often battered and deep-fried. We’ve come to prefer this version in which the chiles are roasted, peeled (the fussiest part), and stuffed with a rich mixture of cheese, corn, and sour cream on a bed of homemade tomato sauce. Of course, you can substitute your favorite canned enchilada or other Mexican-style sauce if you don’t want to bother making your own. Serve with refried beans and rice.
- 2 pounds ripe , juicy tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped sweet onion
- 1 jalapeno or serrano pepper, stemmed, seeded, and coarsely chopped
- 8 large green New Mexican, poblano, or Anaheim chiles
- 3 ears sweet corn, husked
- 1/2 teaspoon crumbled dry oregano, preferably Mexican
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon mild chile powder, or more to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 3 cups grated Monterey Jack or mozzarella
- 1/2 cup sour cream or Mexican crema
- 1 cup crumbled queso fresco, for serving (optional; see Note)
- Fresh cilantro leaves, for serving (optional)
Put the tomatoes, garlic, onion, and jalapeno in a shallow baking dish and place on the grill grate before lighting your Traeger. (That way, the vegetables will be exposed to more wood smoke.)
Start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Set the temperature to 450 degrees F (High) and preheat, lid closed, for 10 to 15 minutes
When the grill is hot, arrange the New Mexican chiles and the sweet corn on the grate and grill until the chiles are blistered and blackened in spots and the corn is lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes for the chiles and 10 to 15 minutes for the corn, turning with tongs as needed. Stir the tomato-onion mixture once or twice and remove it from the grill grate when the tomatoes begin to break down. Let all the vegetables cool.
Reduce the heat of the Traeger to 350 degrees F if you intend to bake the rellenos right away. (You can also make the sauce and assemble the rellenos the day before you bake them. Cover and refrigerate.)
Put the cooled tomato mixture in a blender and liquefy. Pour into a saucepan. Stir in the cumin, oregano, chile powder, cinnamon, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the sauce is slightly thickened, stirring occasionally.
Carefully peel the blistered outer skin off the New Mexican chiles: Leave the stem ends intact, and try not to tear the flesh. With a small paring knife, slit each chile lengthwise from the shoulder (just below the stem) to the tip. Pull out the seeds and set the chiles aside while you make the filling.
Slice the corn off the cobs and put in a large mixing bowl. Toss with 2 cups of the cheese, reserving 1 cup. Gently stir in the sour cream. Season with salt and pepper. Generously stuff the chiles with the corn-cheese mixture and arrange shoulder to shoulder, cut sides up, in a baking dish or on a rimmed baking sheet. (Line with foil for easy clean-up, if desired.) Sprinkle some of the reserved cheese on top of each relleno.
Bake the rellenos for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling and the cheese has melted. Reheat the tomato sauce if necessary. To serve, put a small pool of tomato sauce on each plate and arrange a relleno in the center of it. Sprinkle with queso fresco and garnish with fresh cilantro leaves, if desired. Serve immediately.
Note: Queso fresco—literally, “fresh cheese”—is white, mild, and often served crumbled on top of enchiladas or refried beans. If you can’t find it, substitute ricotta salata or feta. Or skip it.