The big cheese of chile rellenos

Many versions exist; this one is extraordinarily simple

Chile Rellenos Casserole

How you make chile rellenos can start arguments.

Here and in Mexico, I've come across chilies stuffed with cheese, meat, fish, shellfish, vegetables, and many less familiar ingredients. Sometimes the chilies are dipped in batter and fried, sometimes they are grilled, sometimes they are baked with a topping, sometimes they are layered with a filling. And the chili itself isn't always the same. Sometimes it's hot; most times it's not.

In fact, most anything goes ― which troubles culinary traditionalists who favor specific combinations or a certain structure. To cooks like me, such flexibility is extremely appealing.

And I rejoice in how comforting, cozy, and cordial this simple version of chile rellenos is for a weeknight supper. When you cut through the tender-crisp topping into the mild chilies, they ooze with melted jalapeño cheese. With a crisp salad, more warm tortillas, and a gutsy Zinfandel, you forget about any arguments.

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