Search This Blog

Friday, June 25, 2010

Shrimp and Crab Chile Rellenos (not fried)- Healthy Gourmet on a Weeknight!

This past week, a friend brought by some fresh veggies, and challenged me to make something "different" with them. These weren't standard fare for my fridge- Japanese eggplant (will transform into baba ganoush for a Friday-after-work snack w/homemade flatbread from my freezer), farm-fresh baby spinach (I did a simple saute in a pan, nothing special, but for a guy who doesn't like cooked spinach, it was a home run!), avocados and poblano chiles. Immediately, I loved and got excited about the chiles- perhaps the easy way out.

Luckily, I stock my freezer and pantry shelves with ingredients that fit in to many recipes, but ensure variety. I have a several proteins in the freezer (so I don't get bored throughout the week), I usually have lots of grains and pastas (for quick sides when I'm more focused on the entree), and a mix of things to add my own flair to sauces (like chipotles in adobo, Dijon mustard). I grabbed those glossy forest-green chiles, and immediately wanted to do more than just chop them up and throw them into a sauce or omelet. So, I came up with doing stuffed peppers. Peering into the deep, cold freezer, a light seemed to focus on shrimp and crab begging to be noticed. A glaze came over my eyes (more like condensation) and suddenly I just had to step it up a notch- I would craft seafood-stuffed chiles, and it was ON.

Since I was grilling some chops that day, I threw those poblanos and eggplant on the grill as well, so they'd be ready whenever I summoned their kick to liven my plate. (I usually try to cook several things on the grill at once, so they are "at my fingertips" later on.) I had leftover couscous, and figured that would add something different to the chiles rellenos. I figured if I could increase the volume with couscous and chopped veggies, I could reduce the cheese a bit (not that I don't like cheese, but I didn't want just cheese!). And since I wasn't battering and frying these, the whole dish might even be a bit healthier, and more filling.

Guess what? The flavor was outstanding, and no greasy-glopped-on coating it usually has. Didn't miss it. The chile and seafood flavors were the stars, and the couscous became one with the gooey cheese, adding volume, but not changing the flavor. Amazingly- I myself was STUFFED from just one overstuffed chile and sides... STUFFED I TELL YOU!

So, this is a recipe for two, but could easily be built out for more people, and on the table in less than 1/2 an hour- that's gourmet on a weeknight! KILLER!

Chile Rellenos, For Two
Approximate time, 30 minutes.

2 Poblano chiles, roasted and skins scraped off, and seeds removed
3/4 C shrimp, thawed (if frozen), peeled and deveined
1/4 C cooked crab meat, if you have it (or, just add more shrimp
2/3 C Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded (you could even mix in some feta or cojita cheese as well, but don't expect them to melt as well the the Jack)

2 green onions, chopped
2 T chopped cilantro
1/2 C cooked couscous or rice (leftovers, perhaps?)
1/3 C chopped mushrooms, optional
1/3 C chopped zucchini, optional
1 T chopped jalapenos, optional

1 T olive oil
1-1/2 t salt
1-1/2 t black pepper
2 t cumin
1-1/2 t onion powder
2 t garlic powder

1 small can (10 ounces or so) of enchilada sauce (simply warm up on the stove)

To roast chiles: Next time you're grilling outdoors, place 2 chiles on the grill and cook, allowing the skin to blister and peel and turn brown, turning every few minutes to ensure the whole chile is cooked, maybe 10-15 minutes. Place in a plastic bag until you're done with dinner. This will help the pepper to steam, softening the interior, and allow the outer skin to be scraped off when you have time. Store them in the refrigerator until you're ready to stuff them.

  1. Preheat oven to 450 deg F.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium high heat, and add oil.
  3. Add shrimp, and cook for one minute on each side until just turning pink. Remove from heat immediately, so they don't over cook.
  4. Chop shrimp, and place in a bowl with the crab and cilantro.
  5. Place pan back over heat, and add mushrooms and green onions. If using zucchini or jalapenos, add them as well. Cook until mushrooms are soft, about 2 minutes (tops!).
  6. Toss into shrimp mix, and add cheese, seasonings, and any couscous or rice.
  7. Cut chiles from stem to tip, once, just enough to open them like a pocket. Remove the seeds, and rinse out. Stuff shrimp/crab mixture in to chiles.
  8. Place in a baking dish, and in oven for 12-15 minutes, or until cheese has melted.
  9. Remove, and serve with enchilada sauce, hot sauce, salad, and some homemade guacamole!


  1. This is a very tasty dish and something I would recommend wholeheartedly.

  2. It doesn't hurt to be the food taster, does it Cheryl?! Thanks for being my guinea pig...