Reader: A chile relleno in an eggroll wrapper, really?

Categories: Cafe Society

Does this look like a chile relleno to you?
A traditional chile relleno is soft, but some people like a crispy variation. And then there's a version unique to Denver: the relleno in an eggroll wrapper. "I've had chiles rellenos stuffed with cream cheese in Arizona copper country, with ground meat in Oaxacan dives, with quinoa in hippie places," says Gustavo Arellano, author of Taco USA. "But in my travels across the U.S., the only place I've ever found them wrapped in wonton paper is in Denver. Next to the Mexican hamburger, Den-Mex at its finest!"

And the finest example of this style may well be the relleno at La Fiesta, which has been serving it for fifty years. This relleno rates as one of our 100 Favorite Dishes, but one reader isn't impressed.

See also: 100 Favorite Dishes: Chile Relleno at La Fiesta

Says Denver Dave:

I am fully prepared to take some heat for this, but there is nothing right about that picture. First of all, a chile relleno in an eggroll wrapper, really? And you think it's a good thing? Unbelievable. And, that "green chile" looks very sad and watery and lacking in the main ingredient.

Just one New Mexico boy's humble opinion, though.

Do you like your chiles relleno crispy -- eggroll crispy? Or soft, like the chiles relleno at El Chingon? Post your opinions -- humble or not -- below, and read Gretchen Kurtz's review of El Chingon here.

Location Info

La Fiesta

2340 Champa St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

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I have the feeling the other commenters aren't Denver area natives… :)  As a Coloradan ex-pat (now in Montana), these are the style of rellenos I grew up with and learned to love. Don't give me your flabby, greasy stuffed poblano, with that lame egg-batter.  I want a roasted hatch-type pepper stuffed with cheese (government commodity cheese if possible) wrapped in an egg-roll wrapper, deep fried and "smothered" in green chile!  This is what I always thought a relleno was. As I travelled a bit I was always sorely disappointed that the rellenos I loved were't available. 

Don't talk to me about  "authenticity", these egg-roll wrapper rellenos are authentic---authentic "Den-Mex" style rellenos and they're brilliant! The inventor (almost certainly Mexican -American) was a genius. You may not like them and that's allowed, but don't denigrate an awesome and purely Denver innovation.

I love you Den-Mex chile relleno!


My issue is with the concept of many Tex Mex Rellenos: they're made using  Green Chiles, not Poblanos. They're filled with Cheddar or Jack instead of Asadero. Might as well be Velveeta.

My favorite Tex-Mex Poblano Rellenos are available at D'Corazon. For true Mexican, Paxia is the destination.

The real crime? Frozen pre-made rellenos. You can tell because the egg roll wrapper is fused to the pepper and cheese, and is too perfectly rolled. Then there are the horrible pucks that are supposed to pass for egg batter rellenos: perfectly shaped like other frozen prep items and deep fried.

Joe Davis
Joe Davis

I had the wonton wrapped one somewhere else in Denver (can't remember where)... my opinion is that's so not OK.

ScubaSteve topcommenter

A true chile relleno is made by beating egg whites until they form peaks, then coating the filled chile pepper with flour, then rolling the pepper in the whipped egg whites, then frying it in a couple of inches of hot oil.  That's a real, true chile relleno.

joey murdah
joey murdah

I might be in the minority here, but the chile rellenos at the Rio used to be really good. I haven't been there in years, so I don't know if they are still the same, but no egg roll wrappers were used in making them.

davebarnes topcommenter

I am like Bob Beauprez. I go both ways.

I loved the chile relleno that I ate at El Chingon.

But, I find it much easier to use egg roll wrappers when making them at home.

Denver Dave
Denver Dave topcommenter

@ScubaSteve Well, my latin american housekeeper follows your recipe but she beats the egg yolks separately with a little flour and folds them into the beaten egg whites before dredging the chiles into the mix.  I like her recipe very much.  She also uses a rather "watery" tomato sauce to top them.  Feels like home to me.

Denver Dave
Denver Dave topcommenter

@davebarnes Yeah Dave - but, just because it's easier don't make it right - lol!

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