Chiles Rellenos de Camarones y Queso (Cheese and Shrimp Stuffed Poblanos)

I actually chose this dish as my signature dish for a reality show audition that came to Denver – MasterChef, Season 2 co-hosted and co-produced by Gordon Ramsay. I still can’t believe I had the courage to audition.

Anyway, I was in line with hundreds of hopeful chefs. I had my handy dandy cooler on wheels that kept my ingredients warm. Once inside the building a group of us were escorted to a kitchen to assemble our signature dish in three minutes, yes, THREE minutes. Folks from the show walked around asking us questions and judges came around tasting our dishes (without saying a word). Then names were called out to proceed to the next round. Guess what? My name was called – I was so excited. I was very surprised at how comfortable and confident I felt in that kitchen.

The next round included meeting with three producers from the show, that’s when I froze. It was one of the most awkward feelings of my life. I stood in front of three judges (just like American Idol) and they asked me off-the-wall questions, like, “Tell us something we don’t know about you just by looking at you.” My voice trembled to answer all their offbeat questions. Then they asked me, “What would you prepare for us for dinner?” I confidently described my favorite Mexican meal – My mother’s green enchilada recipe with all the fixings. One of the producers, in her thick British accent interrupted me and asked, “Is that all you know how to cook, Mexican food?” I said, “Um, um, no, but I prefer to cook and eat Mexican food.” They replied in sync, “Thank you, NEXT!”

I was disappointed but still very proud of myself. I’ve always believed that things happen for a reason, and for some reason I was not meant to fly out to L.A. for that reality show. Maybe the reason is to stay home and write on this blog and continue to work on my dream of writing a cookbook. Either way, whatever it is, I know my day of sharing my recipes with the world will come.

If you LOVE chile rellenos like I do, then you’ll love this recipe. It’s actually a healthier version of a traditional chile relleno, which is wonderful, but it’s definitely not light in authentic Mexican flavor. If you want the good ol’ traditional egg battered deep fried recipe, please stay tuned – That one is coming soon!

Poblanos are readily available at your local grocery store year-round, which makes this dish a wonderful dinner choice for any time of year and is also the perfect Lent meal.

Chiles Rellenos de Camarones y Queso (Cheese and Shrimp Stuffed Poblanos)

Yield: 4 Servings


1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, and chopped
8 poblano peppers, roasted and peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 cup crema Mexicana or sour cream
3/4 cup fat-free milk, divided
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded quesadilla cheese
½ cup queso fresco, crumbled
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, and sprigs
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Pomegranate seeds (optional)


Roasting chiles and bell pepper

Fire up a comal on the stovetop. Rinse the poblano chiles and bell pepper thoroughly and pierce each with a knife. Place them on the comal and let them roast evenly. You will have to keep an eye on them, making sure to turn them over until all sides are roasted. When done, the skins should be evenly blistered and mostly black.

Place roasted chiles and pepper into a plastic bag and close the bag. Cover the plastic bag with a kitchen towel. The steam will help the blackened skin to separate. When cool, rub off the blackened skin, careful to keep the stem intact on the poblano chiles.

Using a small sharp knife, carefully slit chiles open along 1 side. Remove seeds, leaving stems attached. Set aside to fill later.

Chop the bell pepper and discard stem and seeds.

Preparing the filling

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Sprinkle shrimp with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add shrimp to pan; cook 3 minutes or until done. Remove from pan.

Add garlic to pan; sauté 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Sprinkle with flour and ground red pepper; cook 1 minute. Slowly add crema Mexicana, stirring with a whisk. Stir in 1/2 cup milk; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; let stand 2 minutes. Add quesadilla cheese and 1/4 teaspoon salt, stirring until smooth.

Place 1/3 cup cheese mixture in a large bowl; reserve remaining cheese mixture. Add bell pepper, shrimp, cilantro, and juice to 1/3 cup cheese mixture in bowl; toss to coat. Stir 1/4 cup fat-free milk into reserved cheese mixture.

Spoon 3 tablespoons of cheese sauce on 4 plates.

Stuff each poblano chile with 6 tablespoons shrimp mixture.

Place 2 stuffed poblanos on cheese mixture and garnish with crumbled queso fresco, cilantro, and pomegranate seeds (optional).

Photography by Jeanine Thurston

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  1. Wow, congrats on making it to the second level! I would have completely frozen up for the questions too. Too bad it didn’t work out, but I’m excited to see your cookbook and additions to the blog!

    These look amazing! I love chiles rellenos and I love that these aren’t battered and fried. My problem is that I hate roasting and peeling the poblanos. I’m too lazy!

    • GRACIAS PC!!! Roasting chiles can sound intimidating, but what I often do is buy a bushel of roasted chiles when in season and freeze it. Then all I have to do is defrost, peel, and use. We have an extra freezer in our garage full of Hatch and Pueblo chile as well as Poblanos.

  2. I’m super proud of you amiga..I would have not even had the courage to try out!! I love your chiles, poblanos are my fav chile and I look for any excuse to work with them…the filling sounds wonderful!! have a great week!

  3. Bravo for having the courage to audition! These look amazing and I bet they taste even better. I cannot wait to try them for my family. By the way I LOVE reading your blog…keep up the wonderful work you’re doing. All my best! Cheers, M

    • Thank you Mandy and thanks again for sharing your beautiful artwork with us on Facebook. It honestly brought tears to my eyes. There is nothing like art, music, and food to reignite the memories of our childhood.

  4. I commend you for auditioning. I can’t believe you could be asked to assemble a dish in 3 minutes! Is this really worthy of MasterChef? And then interrupting you to ask if Mexican food is all you know how to cook. This reminds me of when I entered a cooking contest years ago and was asked, “What is the green stuff?” The judge, who I later learned was a bookstore owner, not a chef, did not know cilantro when she saw it, nor had she ever heard of it. Sometimes these shows and contests are not worthy of our efforts.


  5. The problem is that most people do not know the vast array of foods, influences, etc. with Mexican cookery. For many all they know is tacos, enchiladas and quesadillas.

    I think you’d agree, we’re slowly exposing a wider audience to the nuances of a very fine cuisine. Although, I write about a wide variety of ethnic foods and culture, a lot of what I do is Mexican/comida Latina.

    • Andrea: It’s exciting to be able to be on a journey teaching others the diversity of Mexican food and I am especially happy to meet people like you on the way. See you soon at the Front Range Food Bloggers meeting. Looking forward to meeting Colorado foodies!!!

  6. Yum! I added this to my Favorites list. Can’t wait to make it! Congrats on trying out for the show! Gutsy!

  7. Pingback: Cheers, to all our Irish Friends… « Muy Bueno Cookbook

  8. Pingback: Chiles Rellenos de Camarones y Queso / Cheese and Shrimp Stuffed Poblanos

  9. Hi Yvette! I just stopped by to leave you a note saying how nice it was to meet you yesterday at the sausage tasting. I am so glad I did, because as delightful as I found you to be, just as welcoming and wonderful. I can’t wait to try this recipe and I appreciate that it is not deep fried. My only question is what is Crema Mexicana? P.S. They were fools not to include you on the show (-;

    • It was great to meet you Jill! Crema Mexicana is basically like sour cream, but a little thinner. Its readily available at all King Sooper’s or Safeway’s in Colorado. Ask your grocer for the Cacique brand. And thank you for stopping by and your kind words. I look forward to seeing you again soon.

  10. This blog is wonderful!! Looking for Lent recipes I found you!! I am Mexican but live in the States. I am sharing 3 of your recipes in my blog:
    Thank you!!!

  11. One of my favorite great chef is Rick Bayless … and he loves and prepares many Authentic Mexican food- So I don’t know what Master Chef was thinking. But I’m glad you are now fulfilling your dreams. I can’t wait to see your recipe book in stores 🙂
    I also wanted to truly thank you for sharing this Delicious Chile relleno recipe.>> This is one of many favorite dish. <3

    Thank you,
    Lizeth Martinez

  12. I just received your cookbook in the mail yesterday, so here’s to a dream come true!

    If your being on MasterChef would have meant that the cookbook I now hold lovingly in my hands never would have existed, then I’m glad it never happened.


    • Wow Megan that is soooo kind! Yup, I have a feeling I was not meant to be on that show or our cookbook would have been on hold. So happy to hear you love it! Thank you Megan for stopping by and for purchasing our cookbook. Keep us posted on your first Muy Bueno recipe adventure.

  13. Patricia Frymyer Reply

    Wish me luck tonight – I am making this for dinner with a side of Mexican Rice. Going to stop at the Mexican tienda in my area to get rolls or bread. Any advice on a good wine to serve? I have a red wine from Chile. Hopefully it pairs nicely with everything else!

  14. Beautiful pictures ! Awesome recipe ! From a fellow Texan- nice! Rick Bayless is an AMAZING Chef!

  15. Ok, I love dishes from all over the world, but I would prefer eating authentic mexican food anyday. I lived in Guanajuato for 6 months and really had my eyes opened to the wonderfull flavors of that country. Best of luck to you!

  16. Congrats on not just making it to level 2 but more importantly for going for it!!! And it’s their lost. I am a proud Latina and like you I am Mexican and I love Mexican food, culture and the whole enchilada. I love Muy Bueno. My go too for new dishes to try. My goal this lent is to also try new homemade dishes. My mom passed away 4 years ago. I wish I had taken the time learned all her cooking. Lucky I have a Tia who is my teacher now.

  17. Only Mexican and French cousine has been declaired a National heritage by the United Nations, no other country has siccede in getting this designation. This dish ,while not stricktly traditional is “ Muy Mexicano” I will try it.

  18. Is this meant to be served cold? By the time I’ve set most thing aside and turned off the heat on the sauce, everything was more or less room temperature. It was still a great flavor but I’m just wondering how it’s intended.

    • It is a time consuming dish Ben. I always zap my finished plate in the microwave just because I like my food piping hot, but have had it at room temp too. Its all a matter of preference. Glad you enjoyed it.

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