There’s something about stuffed peppers that makes me happy. I’m not sure what it is, whether it’s the comfort food aspect or the fact that digging into one is like breaking into a pretty little package. Whatever it is, I like ‘em. A lot.
I was really excited when I ran across this recipe from Fine Cooking magazine. The peppers are easy enough to throw together on a weeknight, but also fun, and different enough, to serve when friends are heading over for dinner. Sounds just about perfect, to me.
I started by prepping my peppers. I laid out five poblano peppers on a foil lined cookie sheet. I also cut a slit from the stem to the end on the top of each pepper.
The peppers went into the oven to roast for a bit under the broiler. Roasting the peppers really brings out their flavor, plus it makes them easier to stuff. I turned them every few minutes, until the skins started to blacken and bubble all over.
After about eight minutes, they were ready. I let them cool for a few minutes, and then carefully peeled away that blackened layer of skin. Then, I scooped out the seedy middles, and placed them back on the cookie sheet.
Next, it was time to make my filling. I roughly chopped up two tomatoes, a small onion, and some garlic, and placed it in my food processor. I also added some cumin, dried oregano, and a dash of cinnamon.
I pulsed the mixture in the processor until everything was nicely pureed. Then, I added the mixture to a skillet on the stove, where I’d heated up a bit of oil. I let the mixture cook, and bubble away, on the stove for about 10 minutes, until most of the moisture had cooked out of it and the mixture was thick enough for me to drag a spoon through.
I then removed the pan from the heat and stirred in the rest of my filling ingredients. Into the tomato mixture went some shredded chicken, some cooked brown rice (you can use white, if you’d rather), a cup of sharp white cheddar cheese, some chopped cilantro, and a bit of lime juice.
I, carefully, scooped the chicken mixture into my roasted peppers. I made sure to fill each one up past the edge of the pepper a bit, and because the ends were about to split, I secured them for baking with some toothpicks.
The peppers went back in under the broiler, at this point, for about four minutes. This was long enough to warm up the filling and start to toast it up on top. To finish them off, I sprinkled them with some more of that grated cheddar, and popped them back under the broiler until the cheese was melted and bubbly, about two minutes more.
Then, they were done!
These peppers are a deliciously different take on your usual stuffed pepper. The poblanos were surprisingly mild. In my head, I know they are a mild pepper, but I guess I just always expect them to be spicier because they hang out with the jalapenos at the grocery store. Don’t be scared off, thinking it will be too spicy. Honestly, it wasn’t spicy at all. Just incredibly flavor packed. The filling was hearty, cheesy, and delicious and they were a huge hit with the family, and our company that night.
POBLANOS STUFFED WITH CHEDDAR AND CHICKEN
Adapted from Fine Cooking
- 4 or 5 large poblano peppers
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 1 small white onion, chopped
- 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- generous pinch of cinnamon
- kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 cups shredded, cooked chicken
- 1½ cups cooked brown or white rice
- 2 cups grated sharp white cheddar
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 Tbsp. lime juice
- Position a rack in your oven about 4 inches from the broiler. Heat the broiler on high. Line a large rimmed cookie sheet with foil.
- With a sharp knife, slit the peppers from stem to tip and set them, slit side up, on the baking sheet.
- Broil the peppers, turning often, until the skin is blackened and bubbled all over, about 5 to 8 minutes. Let the peppers cool slightly before handling them, and then carefully peel the skins, and cut out the seed cores, but leave the stems on. (I ended up rinsing out some random seeds, and then drying my peppers well.) Place the seeded peppers back on the baking sheet.
- Puree the tomatoes, onion, garlic, oregano, cumin, cinnamon and ½ tsp. salt in a food processor.
- Heat the olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the tomato puree and cook, stirring often, until most of the liquid evaporates and the mixture is thick, 8-10 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the chicken, rice, 1 cup of the shredded cheese, cilantro, and lime juice.
- Season with salt to taste.
- Carefully portion the filling among the peppers, wrapping the sides of the peppers around the filling. Secure the ends with toothpicks, if necessary.
- Broil the peppers until the cheese is melted and the tops of the chicken mixture begins to brown, about 4 minutes.
- Top the peppers with the remaining 1 cup cheese, and broil until the cheese is completely melted, about 2 minutes.