Kim Novak’s Chili Rellenos

Peel me a grape!


Well, actually, peel me 24 of them, as Kim’s recipe calls for 2 dozen peeled grapes.


On Friday I spent the day in my kitchen tending 4 batches of dough to make 20 loaves of bread to sell at my nephew’s brewery. I decided to make some of Kim’s Chili Rellenos for lunch. If you have ever tried to make 20 loaves of sourdough bread more or less in one day, you’ll know that I did not have time to peel the grapes…



Caroline Frick smuggled some amazing fresh peppers over from Texas last week, and Friday was my last chance to cook something with them. Kim’s recipe sounded good – if a bit weird.  I liked this dish, but I don’t think it’s very authentic. The grapes caused me some pause. Grapes in Chili Rellenos? But then I remembered, there are grapes in Ramon Navarro’s guacamole so why not grapes in Chili Rellenos? Here in the UK, 99% of us have never had access to good Mexican food. It’s one of the worst things about living here. That and not being able to get frozen orange juice… But Chilis Rellenos are the very first Mexican dish I remember eating. In upstate New York, when I worked on a summer camp, around 1987 I think. They blew my mind.


Well Kim’s didn’t exactly blow my mind, but they were tasty.

I had about twice as much filling as I needed for 6 peppers – maybe Kim was using BIG BELL PEPPERS?


Her recipe was in a British cookbook from 1981 so I’m guessing this might have been the case.  There is no way on God’s green earth anyone would have been able to get Mexican peppers here in 1981.  I have frozen the extra filling, not sure what happens to grapes when you freeze them but we shall see…  


I had two for Saturday lunch and two for my din dins last night – very good leftovers…


I see from scribbled notes on the cookbook and this record of the event on the blog, that I have made this before.  For his majesty Wayne Garvie.  It made me laugh to read the blog post as Mr Garvie always used to take the piss out of my cooking.  Mind you, this was back in 2006 when I really couldn’t cook, so he had a point.  Here’s the bit that made me laugh, Wayne said:

 “it’s a bit like student food”. Well yes, that is true. But victory was mine when later he discovered more in the kitchen, “you didn’t tell me there was some left,” he said getting his spoon out, “I’ll have that!”

If I ever have a cat, I might call it Pyewacket after Kim’s cat in Bell, Book and Candle…


Kim Novak’s Chili Rellenos

6 green peppers [as you can see from the pix I used a mixture of red and green]

Mix together:

1 grated carrot
1 small grated Irish potato
1/4 lb Mozzarella cheese [NB – you’ll need another 1/4 lb to sprinkle on top]
2 dozen peeled green grapes
12 sliced pimento olives
12 sliced black olives
the seeds of 1 small green hot pepper
2 teaspoons chili sauce
dash of tabasco
1 chopped Bermuda onion
1 slightly beaten egg
1.5 lb hamburger / minced beef, cooked

Cut the tops off the peppers, remove inside of peppers, and boil until tender Stuff with the mixture above. Put stuffed peppers in baking dish. Pour over peppers the following mixture:

1 can stewed tomatoes
dash of dried dill leaves
dash of mint leaves
a few rolled cheese crackers (for thickening) [I just whizzed up some crackers in my mini food processor, including some to sprinkle on top]

Top with:

More rolled cheese crackers, sprinkled over top 1/4 lb Mozzarella cheese. Bake for 30 minutes in the oven – Gas mark 4 / 350 degrees F / 160 degrees C.

Serves 6

8 Responses to Kim Novak’s Chili Rellenos

  1. Samantha Ellis 2 May, 2017 at 10:11 am #

    I’m so glad that you shared this recipe with us! I remember reading your post from the first time that you made this dish, and I was dying to know what was in it. I’m not so sure that I’m glad that I know the ingredients now that I’ve learned that peeled grapes are involved, but I won’t be deterred. I’m definitely trying this as soon as I can because I love Kim so much!

    • Jenny 4 May, 2017 at 6:50 am #

      Wowee Samantha – can’t believe you’ve been reading my blog that long! What an honour. Would love to hear how your Chili Rellenos turn out! I’m not sure peeling the grapes has much effect on the finished dish – life may well be too short…

  2. Greg 2 May, 2017 at 12:42 pm #

    Nice! One of my favorite dishes, and yours look mouth-wateringly delicious! One of my biggest disappointments when I moved to Greece, was not having access to these peppers. They certainly have a similar looking one, but the flesh is thinner and the flavor thinner as well. Just not the same.

    My recipe, acquired from travels in Mexico, is stuffed with cheese, olives, rice, a little tomato, seasonings, and RAISINS! So Ms. Novak’s use of grapes may not be so far off (although I think peeling them might be a bit of overkill…especially when you’re not roasting and peeling the chilies…). Using just the seeds of the Jalapeño pepper also seems bizarre. But your finished dish looks soooo tasty!

    Once again your loaves of bread look wonderful! Wish I lived closer!

    • Jenny 4 May, 2017 at 1:41 pm #

      They were yummy, and now I see them again, i want some more… Your recipe does sound very similar to Kim’s… Caroline brought me some Poblano Peppers too which I’m going to write about in another post. They were delicious.

  3. Leslie Schneider 2 May, 2017 at 2:42 pm #

    If the recipe looks funny to you it’s because Kim Novak was born in Chicago. They should stick to pizza there. Come to Denver. We’ll show you the way around a chile.

    Love your blog!

    • Jenny 4 May, 2017 at 6:51 am #

      Aw Leslie, thanks so much! Oooh, Denver! I love Denver, only been there once, and for a very short visit but thought it was beautiful. Vividly remember a night spent at a restaurant with a waterfall in it, complete with diver…

  4. Bob 6 Oct, 2017 at 12:39 pm #

    Well, I love stuffed bell peppers, and I love chili dishes, and I absolutely adore Kim Novak. So, it’s off to the grocery for me……
    I’ll let you know how mine turn out. Hope I don’t butcher the recipe.

  5. Jenny 10 Oct, 2017 at 2:05 pm #

    BOB! Cannot wait to hear how your Kim Novak’s peppers turn out… I thought they were great! Send me pix!

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