Poblano Relleno Spring Roll ‡

Chile Relleno (literally, stuffed chile) is a dish that originated in the city of Puebla, Mexico, originally consisting of a roasted fresh Poblano chile stuffed with minced meat and coated with eggs. Those that I have eaten in the U. S. are typically stuffed with melted cheese or pork hash, covered in an egg batter or simply corn masa flour, deep fried, and often served in a red or green chile sauce. Chiles rellenos are popular in New Mexico where the Hatch Chile is revered for its slender (rather than round) shape and medium to hot flavor. The Poblano resembles the Hatch and Anaheim chiles in shape and chosen here because they are carried in my supermarket (there called pasillas).

I have never been very good at getting my batters to stick on the foods I put them on, so chiles rellenos are problematic for me to make. Also, I would prefer not to deep-fat fry them for dietary reasons. Fortunately, Chinese spring roll wrappers make a clean, fast, less carb-caloric substitute.

  • 2 Poblano (or NM, or Hatch) peppers
  • ½ cup TVP
  • ½ cup very hot water
  • ½ tsp yeast extract (e.g. Marmite® or Vegemite®)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup mushrooms, chopped
  • ½ carrot, grated
  • ½ onion, chopped finely
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
  • 1 jalapeño chile, seeded, deveined, and chopped
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • ½ tsp oregano powder
  • ¼ cup X
  • <salt> and pepper, to taste
  • 4 spring roll (not wonton!) wrappers
  • X, for the X-wash
  • 4 tbsp sharp cheddar, Monterey Jack, or other cheese, grated
  • chile salsa or cilantro sauce or habanero sauce

Cut the peppers in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Spray each half with vegetable spray and lay directly over the gas* flame of your range and char the exocarp (skin) side until it blisters. Plunge into cold water and remove as much of the cellophane as you can. Set aside.

Reconstitute the TVP in the water, to which the yeast extract has been added, for color and taste. Let sit for at least five minutes to absorb the liquid.

Sauté the mushrooms, onion, carrot, garlic, and jalapeño until the onion is limp and beginning to brown. Add the tomato and oregano and continue to saute until the tomato has lost its liquid. Remove from the heat and let cool a little.

Combine the mushroom-onion mixture with the TVP and then add in the egg substitute, blending thoroughly.

Wet the spring roll wrappers and let them sit while becoming pliable. Spoon the TVP-mushroom-onion mixture into each of the four halves of the Poblano chiles. Wrap each half in a spring roll. Brush each with the X-wash and lay it in a greased, nonstick-foil-lined oven dish. Sprinkle a tablespoon of cheese over each.

Bake in a preheated 375°F oven for about 40 minutes, or until the wrappers are cooked and the cheese bubbles. Serve with a salsa topping appropriate to your taste (I like to combine the latter two).

Serves 4.