At El Chubby’s Fresh Mexican Grill in Aurora, if we’re ever asked what’s a chile relleno, we savor the opportunity to enlighten you. A chile relleno starts with a fresh chile, an Anaheim, pasilla or poblano work well. It’s then stuffed with delicious cheese, battered and deep fried. This culinary marvel can be served plain or smothered in a rich chili sauce and more cheese.
Now that you know what’s a chile relleno, let’s delve a little deeper into its origins.
Mixed History = Delicious Variation
As with so much of Mexico’s culture and history, Mexico’s culinary tradition comes from mixture of indigenous customs and Spanish ones. The chile relleno, or stuffed chile, is no different. The chile relleno is a fusion of one of Mexico’s native chiles along with European ingredients. The resulting combination is delicious, varied, and incredibly popular. Aside from a standard cheese stuffing, options include eggs, pork, beans, fish, chicken, and more. They can even include nuts, raisins, tomates, and various vegetables!
If you want a chile relleno, but aren’t interested in cooking it yourself, come see us at El Chubby’s Fresh Mexican Grill in Aurora, just off the I-225 at E Mississippi Avenue.
Puebla Nuns & Mexican Independence
The poblano chile is often the chile used for chile rellenos. Additionally, the word poblano is used to refer to both people and things from the Mexican State of Puebla. In essence, the chile relleno has a strong association with the Puebla. There is even a particular kind of chile relleno, called the chile en nogada, that Puebla nuns are said to have invented. Some say that it is arguably one of Mexico’s most patriotic dishes.
The inspiration for their chile relleno creation was Agustin de Iturbide who is credited with planning the final defeat of the Spanish Army in 1821. As he was returning from Mexico City, having just signed the Treaty of Cordoba giving Mexico independence from Spain, he stopped in Puebla to celebrate his patron saint’s day (San Augustin). So, the Puebla nuns created a special dish marking the occasion.
The special dish was a relleno topped with a nogada sauce. Nogada sauce is a white walnut crème sauce. The nuns sprinkled green parsley and red pomegranate seeds over the sauce resulting in a very patriotic looking dish (Mexico’s flag is red, white, and green). It became a patriotic culinary tradition to serve this dish to celebrate Mexico’s independence.
The Chile en Nogada Controversy
While chile rellenos had been around in Mexico for hundreds of years, the chile en nogada connection to Iturbide’s visit to Puebla raises doubt. In fact, the first culinary reference for chiles en nogada appeared much later in 1858, and it wasn’t until the 1920s that the recipe became a fixture, appearing with regularity in cook books. While it doesn’t disprove the possibility of the chile en nogada’s origin, it does place it in a more questionable light – or maybe, the legend is true while the prominence of the dish took much longer to establish.
Now that you know what’s a chile relleno and all about its origins, you just might be craving one. We get it! So, come see us here at El Chubby’s Fresh Mexican Grill in Aurora to try one of our chile rellenos – even better, make it a combo plate! We’ll see you soon.