Chicken Chile Relleno Pies Recipe

There is now a San Francisco fan base for this pie. I tested and tweaked the recipe given to us by the folks at Oh my! Pocket Pies, in Houston, Texas, producing multiple batches that I shared with friends. The response was amazing: these pies got the loudest cheers of any pie in this book. I heard about how many pies were scarfed at one sitting, and of wives hiding the pies from their husbands.

My own marriage was tested when, in a new-baby fog, I put a tray of these pies in the oven, fell asleep on the couch and burned a batch. Whoops. This mistake is invoked every time I put a pie in the oven. So keep your eyes on these pies! I encourage you to make extra: not only are they delicious, but the finished pies freeze beautifully. For an even greater treat, dip them into sour cream or pico de gallo. They can also be fried.

Use a batch of our cornmeal crust dough for this recipe.

Chicken Chile Relleno Pies Recipe
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to 16 pies
  • 2 tablepoons canola oil
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels
  • salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ancho chile powder or New Mexico chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 or 3 poblano chiles
  • 3 ounces monterey jack cheese
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 batch cornmeal crust dough
  1. In a large frying pan, warm 1 tablespoon of the canola oil over medium heat. Add half of the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  2. Add chicken and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon or spatula and stirring occasionally, until opaque, about 10 minutes. Add the corn and cook until just tender, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the mixture into a large bowl and set aside.
  3. Return the frying pan to medium heat and add the remaining tablespoon of oil. When it is hot, add the remaining onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the butter and let it melt. Then add the flour and stir until it coats the onions evenly.
  4. Cook, stirring frequently, until the flour begins to turn golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chile powder, paprika, cumin, and oregano and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  5. Increase the heat to medium-high and gradually add the water, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens to the consistency of a gravy, about 5 minutes. Pour the onion mixture into the chicken mixture and let cool for 10 minutes.
  6. Mix in the chiles, cheese, and lime juice, then taste and adjust the seasoning. Let cool completely. (The mixture can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days before continuing.)
  7. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Lightly flour a clean work surface. Remove half of the dough from the refrigerator, unwrap it, place it on the floured work surface, and flour the top lightly.
  8. Roll out the dough into a rectangle that is roughly 9 by 12 inches. The dough should be about 1/8 inch thick.
  9. Using a plain or fluted pastry wheel, trim off the ragged edges. Then cut the dough into circles, squares, or rectangles, as small or as large as you like, saving the trimmings. Use 1-2 heaping tablespoons of filling for each pie, depending on how large they are, without overstuffing.
  10. Shape the pies, sealing the edges and crimpling decoratively, if you like. Slash or prick each pie to vent steam.
  11. Transfer the pies to the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 1 inch Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. Repeat the rolling, cutting, filling, and crimping with second half of the dough.
  12. Gather the dough scraps from both halves, form into a ball, and roll out to make a few more pastries. (Reroll the dough only once or it will bake up tough.)
  13. When the second baking sheet of pies is ready, place the first pan in the oven and the second in the refrigerator, and then place a baking rack over a sheet of parchment on your table or counter. (This saves the surface from sticky drips!) Bake the pastries until they are golden brown on top (the sides will brown first), about 20 minutes.
  14. Remove from the oven and immediately (and carefully) move the pastries onto the baking rack, then slip the second baking sheet into the oven. Let the pastries cool for at least 10 minutes before serving, but be sure to enjoy them warm.
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