#QuarantineCooking – Vegetarian Stuffed Poblano Peppers

I was at the fruit market, and saw these beautiful Poblano peppers.  They were emerald green, large, and fresh as if they’d been picked that day.

Beautiful shiny Poblanos.

And cheap!

I bought six.

I didn’t know what to do with them, but I knew I wanted to do something that featured them, rather than just chopping them up and adding them to salsa or soup.

I decided to stuff them.  And since there’s a vegetarian quarantined with us, I thought I could turn these into a vegetarian feast.

I raided the pantry, mixed up a no-recipe filling, broiled the peppers, and stuffed, them.  Delicious!

For these, you’ll need:

6 – 8 large Poblano peppers.  Yes, you can use regular green peppers, but they won’t be as good.  Find some Poblanos!

1 cup uncooked white rice.  You can use brown, hippie, but it might change the cooking time.

1 big tomato, or 2 plum tomatoes, or 8 cocktail tomatoes, or 14 cherry tomatoes.  Use whatever size you have!  Chop ’em up.

1/4 of a big red, yellow, or white onion, diced.  Or 1/2 of a smaller one.

3 garlic cloves, minced, or the equivalent in garlic powder.

1 jalapeno or serrano pepper, diced

1 15 oz can black beans, drained.

1 cup vegetable broth.  Chicken broth is OK, but it won’t be vegetarian.

1 cup shredded cheese, plus more for garnish.  Use what you have.  I wouldn’t get out the good Parm, but cheddar, mexican blend, queso fresco, colby jack, etc.  Cheap shredded cheese that comes in a package.

1 Tablespoon cumin

1 Tablespoon ancho chile powder

 

Sprayed with vegetable oil, ready for the broiler

Preheat the oven.  You’ll be using the broiler first, so set the rack about 4″ from the heating element, and preheat on high.

Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.

Place the peppers on the sheet, and rub them with vegetable or olive oil.  Or, if you’re lazy (yay me!), just spray ’em with cooking spray.

Place the pan of prepared Poblano peppers (say THAT three times fast) under the broiler.  Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start making the rice.  In a small saucepan, 2 cups of water, a couple dashes of salt, and a Tablespoon of butter.  Place on medium heat until it boils.  Once it boils, dump in the white rice, and put on the lid.

The charred peppers.

Turn the heat down to a low simmer, and set a timer for 20 minutes.

Your oven timer should be going off now.  Using tongs, or your fingers if you enjoy the smell of burnt hair and 2nd degree burns, flip over the peppers.  Put back under the broiler, with the timer set for 4 minutes.

After 4 minutes, pull the peppers out.  They will be blistered all over, which is what you want.  Set them aside to cool.

Turn off the broiler, set the oven to 350 degrees, and let it preheat.

Watch the rice.  The last couple of minutes are when it burns, if the heat is too high.

Once the rice is done, dump it out into a big bowl.

In the same saucepan, dump in the can of black beans, tomato, jalapeño, garlic, onion, cumin, and ancho chile powder.  Add the vegetable broth.  Toss in a bay leaf if you’re feelin’ it.  Add some salt and pepper.  Stir everything up.  Bring to a boil, cover, and lower to a simmer.  Let the tomatoes cook down.

Time to get on the Poblanos.

You’ll want to cut off the stem ends, and clean out the seeds.  Since these are now roasted, they’re pretty easy to handle.  Just cut off the top 1/2 – 3/4″, slit up one side, and open the pepper up.  Scrape out the seeds and any ribs that remain.

Picky people will tell you to peel off the skins.  Since you blistered the peppers, you can do this.  You don’t need to, but you can.  If you have time to kill, get out some tweezers, and make sure you’ve removed EVERY SINGLE SHRED of skin from those peppers.  I’m sure there’s a participation trophy or something for having perfectly skinless peppers.

Or you can save that 14 minutes of your life by just leaving them the way they are.

Check the bean mixture.

Have the tomatoes cooked down, and does this smell like something you might like to eat?  Is it the consistency that of a thick stew? Then it’s probably done.  If it’s still too watery, turn up the heat, leave the lid off, and let some of that liquid cook off.

Finished filling

Note, if you taste this, it should be strongly flavored:  salt, ancho chile, cumin.  At this point, it should be a bit over-seasoned.  So if you taste it, and it’s a bit too much–it’s just right.

Because you’re going to dump it in the bowl with the bland white rice.  And that will balance out the flavor.

Do that now, and give everything a stir.

Now stir in the shredded cheese.

That’s it!  This is your filling.  It’s also some pretty decent homemade spanish rice, so if there’s any left over once the Poblanos are stuffed, it’s a great side dish.

Take the filling over to the peppers, which are still on the foil-covered cookie sheet.

Stuff each pepper with 2 or 3 Tablespoons of the filling, and fold the pepper over on top.  They don’t need to be completely closed.  Just drape one side over.

Once all the peppers have been stuffed, sprinkle some additional shredded cheese on top.

Place the stuffed peppers in the 350 degree oven, and set the timer for 10 minutes.

This is the color you’re looking for

Check on them at 7 minutes.  Is that additional cheese melted and nicely browned?  That’s when they’re done.

If you’ve gotten to 10 minutes, and the cheese hasn’t gotten that perfect shade of golden brown, turn the broiler back on.  Watch them closely, as they will go from golden brown to charcoal briquette in about 30 seconds.

The plated Poblano

Once you see that perfect shade, pull ’em out.  Set them to cool for a minute or two, as they filling will be about the temperature of the surface of the sun.  The cooling time will also help set the filling.

Carefully place a pepper or two on each plate.  I used some of the leftover filling as a side, and finished with some Green Chile Cornbread I had made earlier in the day.

I dressed the cornbread with some buckwheat honey.  Buckwheat honey is dark, thick, and sticky sweet.  It’s perfect with this dish, and complements the chiles well.

I hope you enjoy this dish!

 

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