Melted, cheesy goodness along with a little smoky spice from the roasted peppers make this recipe for Chili Relleno Casserole the ultimate comfort food.
The need to kick it up!
Mid March and it’s still winter in much of Alaska. (As in a bunch of snow on the ground and more coming down.) Since we’ve been working on purchasing a house and preparing for a move, other than smoking or grilling meat almost every Sunday, outdoor cooking has been hibernating.
I finally couldn’t take it anymore, so we cleared all snow off the deck and broke out the “winter” Dutch oven pit. Time to crank up the heat! And by heat, I mean some Chili Relleno Casserole.
Chili Relleno Casserole
This may be my all-time favorite casserole! First, because it is so easy to make and in a Dutch oven outdoors, you’re a camping hero. Indoors, it’s just a dang good family dish. Second, it tastes so much like an actual chili relleno, which is one of my Mexican food obsessions.
Another versatile aspect of this recipe is that you can use different chili peppers. Select either fresh and fire roast them (directions here), or buy whole chilies in a can.
As far as the type of fresh chili pepper to use, we like Anaheim and Poblanos. They are similar on the Scoville scale at about 2000-2500 units near the top of the “green section” with just a little heat…perfect for chili relleno casserole. Another option is the Hatch chili pepper, but I have never been able to get my hands on any up here.
Anaheim chili peppers are a lighter green color and sweeter. Poblanos are dark green, shorter generally and much wider. We used Anaheim this time because Fred Meyer had a bunch in stock. (That’s how we roll in Alaska, use what you can get your hands on!)
One note, before prepping this recipe if you are using fresh chili peppers, fire roast and take the skins off. Then slit the chili up the side and remove the seeds and fibrous tissues. Some of the canned chilies also may have a few seeds so you can clean them up a bit if needed.
Chili Relleno Casserole: Dutch Oven Outdoors or Bake Indoors
- 12-15 whole green chilis Anaheim, Poblano, Hatch roasted, peeled and deseeded or 3-4 small cans or 1-2 large cans whole green chilis
- Monterey Jack cheese cut into strips approximately as wide as the the chili and about 1/4 inch thick to place insider chili pepper.
- 2 cups shredded cheese your choice cheddar, colby jack or our favorite Mexican blend from Costco.
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 c. flour
- 3/4 c. Milk
- Tabasco sauce: 3-5 drops or to taste
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- Desired toppings: suggestions are crema or sour cream salsa, cilantro, avocado, queso fresco
- Light ~25 coals for Dutch oven
- Beat eggs, then mix in flour, milk, Tabasco, pepper and salt.
- Prep chili peppers (split down side, remove seeds and fibrous veins, rinse lightly, pat dry)
- Place 1 strip of Monterey Jack cheese inside each pepper, then layer on bottom of buttered 12 inch Dutch oven, or 9 x 13 inch baking pan. (Give them a little space to allow egg mixture to work it's way through.)
- Take one cup of shredded cheese and sprinkle over bottom layer.
- Repeat process for second layer using remaining chilis and shredded cheese.
- Pour egg mixture over the top. (Note, it will not cover the top, but will swell during cooking to incorporate it.)
- Bake for 45-50 minutes: 17 coals on top and 8 on bottom or 350 degree oven uncovered.
- Dish will be golden brown on top and bubbling underneath when removed from oven. Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes.
- Serve is up garnished with your favorite toppings such as Mexican crema, sour cream, salsa, cilantro, avocado, and queso fresco and enjoy!
- If you are adding >15 chilies or the peppers are extremely large, you may want to add an 1-2 more eggs, another 1/4 c. milk, and 3 tbsp. flour plus seasoning per preference.
- For indoor use, preheat oven to 350 and use greased 9-13" pan.