Students often ask me if it’s possible to bake a batter-coated relleno rather than deep-fry it. This is the only batter I’ve found that works. Should you choose that option: Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray and then lay the dipped rellenos on it. Spray the rellenos lightly and bake at 400° until nicely browned, about 12 minutes.
1 cup blue cornmeal
¾ cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1¼ cups buttermilk, approximately
6 large New Mexico green chiles, slit, roasted, and peeled
6 hot dogs, grilled or sautéed
½ pound sharp cheddar cheese, cold, cut in matchstick-size pieces
3 cups vegetable oil, for frying
1. Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
2. Whisk together buttermilk and eggs in a small bowl and then add to dry ingredients.
3. Mix to make a smooth batter, adding more milk if necessary. It should have the consistency of pancake batter. Allow to rest 10 minutes before using.
4. Cut a slit into each chile before roasting (see instructions, below). Slide a few pieces of cheese into each slit. Slide your cooked hot dog in next to the cheese, trying not to make the hole bigger.
5. Heat oil to 375° (350° at elevations higher than 4,000 feet) in a deep-frying pan or wok. Dip chiles into batter, spooning it over the slit to completely cover the chile, stopping at the stem. Hold chile by the stem and allow extra batter to drip off. Use the stem to carefully slide chile into the hot oil. Allow batter to brown and then turn chile over; the second side will brown faster than the first. Reserve leftover batter for another use.
6. Drain on paper towels and serve warm with your favorite hot dog topping or one of the options below. Rellenos can be held in a low oven (150°) for 30 minutes but are best served immediately, as the batter will lose its crunch.
How to Roast Chiles
1. Purchase chiles that are large, firm, straight, and meaty, with no sign of wilting. Wash chiles and cut a 1½-inch slit, lengthwise, into each; this is where you will slide in your hot dogs and cheese. (When handling chiles, either wear gloves or coat your hands with vegetable oil. Don’t touch your eyes or other sensitive areas.)
2. If roasting indoors, arrange chiles in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. Set oven to broil and place the pan 4–5 inches from the broiler element. The skin will blister and turn black. Turn the chiles so they blister on all sides evenly. (Stovetop chile roasters allow you to char directly over your gas burners.)
3. To roast outdoors, heat a grill to high, place chiles on the grill, and turn them occasionally. Chile skins should be evenly blistered and mostly black.
4. Place the roasted chiles in a large bowl and cover for 15 minutes to steam and loosen the skins. Carefully peel to remove most of the blackened skin. Drain on paper towels before stuffing.