Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Stuffed peppers always struck me as an extremely undesirable dinner food as a kid, but a few years ago I started making them and decided they’re pretty dang great. Stuffed peppers is a versatile dish — you can use bell peppers or poblanos, you can use pretty much any grain as long as you cook it right, you can make it vegetarian or add whatever meat appeals, add cheese or leave it dairy free. The list goes on.

This particular evening I made these with quinoa instead of rice to be a little healthier, but let’s be real, it’s super good with rice. If you want to make the below with rice instead of quinoa, every step of the recipe is exactly the same just sub the rice.

Ingredients: (serves 4-6, depending on size of poblanos)

  • 5-6 large poblano peppers
  • 2 ears of corn
  • 5 small fresh tomatoes
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 jalepeno
  • 3 large scallions
  • 1/4 cup cilantro plus extra for garnish
  • 1 cup uncooked white or red quinoa
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Optional: 1 avocado, sour cream, hot sauce

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Preparation:

Pre-heat the broiler in the oven and rub the poblanos with a tablespoon of olive oil. Stick the poblanos under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, or until the skin begins to blister and peel. Flip the poblanos over and do the same on the other side. You want them to look roughly like the below.

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Set poblanos aside to cool and make the quinoa according to the instructions on the packaging. Set the quinoa aside and let that cool as well.

Cook the chicken by submerging both chicken breasts in a pot of water and bringing the water to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes and then remove and let cool until you can shred the chicken with forks or your fingers.

While you’re cooking the chicken, dice the 1/2 white onion, garlic, jalapeno, tomatoes, cilantro and scallions. Cut the kernels off both earns of corn.

Heat a large skillet on the stove and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Sautee the white onion for 2-3 minutes (until translucent), and then add the garlic, 1/4 teaspoon chili powder and 1/4 teaspoon cumin, and cook for another minute. Add the jalapeno, corn and tomato, and sautee for 5 minutes to let the flavors meld.

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Now you’re ready to mix it all together! Combine the cooked quinoa, shredded chicken, fresh cilantro, fresh scallions, and sauteed corn mixture all together into one large bowl. Mix well, and then taste the stuffing to decide how much salt you want to add. The mix should taste however you want it to – there won’t be any other salt to add to the dish, so have at it! I added roughly 1/4 teaspoon of salt, but you can add more or less depending on your preferences.

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Now, I forgot to take pictures of this next task…..and I’m sorry, because it’s the only part of this recipe that’s slightly finicky. Cut the poblanos down the center middle from stem to tip when they’re lying flat. Careful not to cut all the way through to the other side, the goal is to end up with a little basket for all the stuffing!

Gently open up the poblano where you’ve cut it open, and remove as much of the pith and seeds as possible. The seeds are where the heat is, and you don’t want to make any of your friends or loved ones resent you for surprise take-your-face-off spiciness. I like to leave the stem in for visual fancy appeal, but you could remove the stem at this point if you prefer.

Once you have empty but still structurally intact poblanos, start filling them with stuffing! I like to fill them quite full, which makes one pepper a whole meal. A few of mine got a little rough around the edges, but they still taste great and look great.

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Pop the stuffed peppers back in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes – enough to warm everything through. If you added cheese at any point in the process (and if you did I applaud you!), make sure all that cheese is super melty and delicious.

Serve with some fresh avocado, fresh cilantro, and if you’re me, sour cream (I actually didn’t have sour cream so I made some stand-in crema with plain yogurt, lime juice, a few pinches of salt and chili powder). I don’t think this picture does it justice, but it’s pretty to look at.

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