Roasted Chiles Rellenos with Avocado Sauce. (Marge Ely/The Washington Post)
Food and Dining Editor

For the longest time, my favorite dish in Mexican restaurants near and far was chile relleno: a poblano pepper stuffed with meat and cheese, battered, fried and slathered with sauce. It still ranks high on the list.

But to make it at home? Oh, what a pain. You’ve got to peel the broiled and blackened poblanos very carefully, so they don’t rip, and then cut an opening just big enough to get your fingers in (so you can pull the seeds out) yet small enough so that when you stuff the thing, it holds together for the frying. Toothpicks often come into play. And that’s before you’ve even coated the peppers in batter or heated up the oil.

At home, I make a more healthful version by roasting instead of frying, and of course it also happens to be much easier. You still have to peel carefully, but the pepper can be splayed open wide to fit in a lot of filling and doesn’t need to close for its oven time. These days, naturally, there’s no meat in my rellenos, just a combination of whatever seasonal roasted or sauteed vegetables I happen to have around, usually with some beans: black, pinto or garbanzo.

While the chilies are roasting, I make a quick, chipotle-spiked avocado-and-yogurt sauce. After I drizzle it on the finished peppers, I sprinkle them with pumpkin seeds for a little crunch.

I’d say it couldn’t be simpler, but I’d be lying. It would be easier if I skipped the step of blackening and peeling the poblanos first, a shortcut I’ve been meaning to try as I think about the similarities between this dish and Italian-style stuffed red or green peppers. If you decide to give that technique a whirl, let me know how it goes. I’m always up for more streamlining.


Roasted Chiles Rellenos With Avocado Sauce