I can remember my dad being so happy when he would pull up to the table and mom would place a big plate of bright red peppers, standing on end and stuffed with "something". I also remember thinking with dismay, "I'm not eating that... yuck!" I could never figure out why dad was so happy, but he always cleaned his plate with gusto and ended the meal with a satisfied smile on his face.
However! As I have matured (read: aged!) I have come to appreciate peppers of all kinds. Spicy green jalapeños and serranos, bright red and orange sweet globes, and my most recent favorite, the poblano. I love these deep green, somewhat heart shaped beauties roasted to bring out their flavor. Mild, they usually don't add much spice, just an extra layer complexity and a rich chili flavor to whatever dish you are choosing to use them in.
Our local farmers market has had mounds of these shiny peppers for the past few weeks and I ended up with a bagful that needed to be used. Thumbing through Fine Cookings Weeknight Dinner edition the Roasted Stuffed Poblanos caught my eye. Was I brave enough to eat a whole pepper, not cut up into pieces and mixed with other ingredients? Actually eat the pepper as a vessel for the the stuffing? Yes!! And I'm so glad that I did. My husband didn't quite have the same happy look as my dad when he pulled up to the table, but he did push away with the satisfied smile and a comment that this recipe is "a keeper".
Roasted on the grill before being stuffed with chicken, corn, tomatoes, onions and rice, and topped with a creamy layer of sharp cheddar cheese, poblanos do indeed make a wonderful vessel! The versatility of this dish makes a quick weeknight preparation easy as you can stuff the pepper with whatever you may have on hand in advance and simply warm in the oven when ready. I happened to have some leftover corn and rice in the fridge which turned out to be perfect additions to the sautéed chicken and tomatoes.
As I pushed my plate empty away after eating the entire contents I sat back with a satisfied sigh and a smile. I guess I'm growing up... my mom will be so proud!!
Before heading to our Stuffed Poblano recipe I wanted to announce RavieNomNoms as the winner to our first ever giveaway! Chosen at random by a mathematical formula derived by Liv (she and her brother both picked a number at random, added them together and then divided by 2), RavieNomNoms is the winner of a $45 gift card to the CSN Stores with merchandise ranging from end tables to cookware to pet Halloween costumes!. Liv had asked for a comment on "What food helps you to Liv Life in a yummier way" and RavieNomNom's food is garlic! Thank you to CSN for sponsoring this giveaway and allowing us to award the card. I'm sure it will be put to good use!! And hearty thank you also to everyone who entered and supported Liv's first ever guest post. She read each and every one of the responses and smiled at your comments. Congratulations RavieNomNoms!
Roasted and Stuffed Poblano Peppers
adapted from Fine Cooking, Weeknight Dinner edition, pg. 81
4 poblano chilis
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
½ medium sweet onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp cumin
salt to taste
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
1 cup rice (brown or white)
¾ cup corn
½ cup refried beans
1-2 Tbs fresh lime juice
shredded cheddar, jalapeño jack or other melting cheese
Preheat grill or broiler. Slit the chilis on one side (careful not to pierce the other side!) from stem to tip and rub with olive oil. Place directly on the grill grates or alternatively on a foil lined baking sheet under the broiler, turning every few minutes until blackened all over - 5 to 8 minutes. Let cool and peel off the skins and cut out the seed cores, leaving the stems on. Return the poblanos to the baking sheet.
In a food processor chop the tomatoes with the garlic, oregano, cumin and salt to taste. Add the chopped ingredients to a large skillet heated over medium heat. Add the onions and corn or any other veggies you have on hand and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated and the mixture has thickened. Stir in the refried beans and lime juice and cook until heated through.
Spoon portions of the sautéed mixture into the roasted peppers, wrapping the sides around the filling - leaving the top of the filling exposed. Broil the peppers until tops begin to brown then remove from oven and top with shredded cheese. Return peppers to the oven and broil for a few minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve with sour cream, a sprinkle of scallions and cilantro.