We’ve been roasting up a lot of little batches of green chile since around the first of August and with every batch, I’ve been making a quick and easy snack with some of the roasted chiles. Our favorites have been green chile and eggs in some form or fashion. A couple of years ago, I shared one of the easiest things to do with green chile and eggs and that was to just scramble some eggs and top them with chopped green chile. I also shared my tortilla egg sandwich, the go to breakfast or lunch when I just don’t want to figure out what to make. This year I’m sharing a Chile Relleno Egg Sandwich which is a combination of those two dishes, sort of.
Chile Relleno is Spanish for “stuffed chile”. The chile, which can be any type of chile, chili or chilie pepper, is normally roasted and peeled then stuffed with anything from cheese to sausage to fruit and nuts. The traditional chile rellenos served in restaurants here in New Mexico is a meaty New Mexico green chile, stuffed with cheese, usually cheddar or Monterey Jack, then dipped in an egg and flour or cornmeal batter and fried. Once plated, the rellenos are smothered with green or red chile sauce or Christmas (both green and red) – whatever the customer wants. I always choose green for rellenos.
When I make rellenos at home, I eliminate the batter and just go for stuffing the chile with cheese or chicken or chorizo, then heating on a griddle or in the microwave. In this chile relleno egg sandwich (a quesadilla), the chile is stuffed with cheese. then cooked with a scrambled egg between two corn tortillas in a hot skillet until the egg has set. The final touch is a little salsa (the condiment, not the dance, although you’ll probably want to dance after the first bite. 🙂 ). Hope you enjoy!
Chile Relleno Egg Quesadilla Recipe
Prep and Cook Time: less than 20 minutes
Use a skillet with the same diameter as the corn tortilla. I use a cast iron skillet.
2 corn tortillas
1 large, meaty green chile, roasted, peeled and stems removed
Semi-hard cheese, cut into 2 lengths, ¼” per side, each length being the length of half the chile
A thin slice of butter
1 tsp. cream or half and half
A pinch of dried oregano
¼ tsp. green chile powder (optional)
Dash of salt and pepper
Your favorite salsa
- Place the skillet over a medium-low heat. Using a small piece of butter, run it around the edge of the skillet to prevent the egg from sticking. Don’t let the butter melt into the bottom of the skillet if you can help it.
- Cut the green chile in half crosswise and stuff each half with one length of cheese.
- In a small bowl, scramble the egg with the cream, oregano, chile powder, salt and pepper.
- Place one of the corn tortillas in the hot skillet for about 1 minute.
- Pour the egg mixture on top of the tortilla and let cook for 2 minutes or until the egg has started to set at the bottom.
- Place the 2 halves of stuffed chile on top of the egg, leaving space between each piece for the egg mixture to rise around it.
- When the egg is cooked more than halfway through, but uncooked on the top, place the other tortilla on top. Press a little with the spatula to allow the tortilla to grip to the uncooked egg. Flip the sandwich and increase the heat to medium. Cook for another minute or 2 until the second corn tortilla is crispy brown and the egg is set.
- Remove from skillet and serve with salsa.
NOTE: The times mention here are variable and change with how high the heat is, the temperature of the ingredients, and how hot the skillet is when you start. Be sure to read the Kitchen Notes about Flipping the Sandwich.
The Skillet – The skillet is a pretty important item for this sandwich to come out right. Because the egg is scrambled, when you pour it on top of the first tortilla, it naturally spreads to fill the pan; therefore, you want the pan to be sized so that the egg doesn’t run beyond or under the edges of the tortilla and that it stays within the perimeter of the tortilla as much as possible. I found this cute little cast iron skillet (see pictures) at an estate sale a while back and it is perfect for this dish.
The Butter – The reason you butter the sides of the skillet is to keep the egg from sticking, making the sandwich easier to flip. You don’t want butter on the bottom of the skillet otherwise your tortilla gets too buttery and you don’t get this beautiful crispy browning of the tortilla.
The Chile Relleno – One large chile cut in half is all I need; however, you should be able to fit 1 ½ chiles in the skillet if you want more. Just be sure to leave enough space between the relleno pieces so that the egg mixture can rise between them and wrap around the top. Don’t wait too long to place the rellenos in the egg mixture. You want the egg to be uncooked enough so that as it cooks it encases the rellenos.
The Cheese – My favorite cheese for this dish is Manchego or an aged cheddar. Too soft of a cheese can melt into the egg mixture preventing it from setting properly. The firmer and older cheeses stay contained so you get a nice bite of chile and cheese with your eggs.
The Egg Mixture – You can season the egg any way you want to. I like to keep it simple with a touch of oregano and chile powder, but add whatever flavors you like with egg and green chile.
Flipping the Sandwich – This is the tricky part. If you flip too soon you end up throwing egg all over the stovetop. I know this from experience. If you flip too late, then by the time the second tortilla is crispy brown, the egg is overcooked, dry and hard. So rather than use “times”, I use my eyes. The majority of the cooking is done on medium low heat before your flip it. When the egg just starts to set between the chile pieces, it’s time to place the second tortilla and flip.
The Finishing Touch – There are many creative finishing touches here. I really like the tartness of Green Chile and Tomatillo Salsa, but a green chile sauce or even a red chile sauce make a great finish. Just top each bite with some salsa, or dip the quesadilla in a sauce and enjoy.