“Stuff it” is my slightly naughty thought every time I see a poblano pepper. They are perfect vessels into which you can spoon meat, vegetables, rice, or a combination. Stuffed poblano peppers are a fabulous one-dish weeknight supper. Easy enough to put into a regular dinner rotation, they’re great as leftovers and freeze well.
In hot weather, you don’t even have to bake the stuffed poblanos if you simply roast the peppers firstusing the same method as for red bell peppers, cook the filling on the stove and then put them together. Of course, if you are a firm believer in melted cheese, there is always the toaster oven option for a few minutes of baking at the end.
These are not the “plain Jane” stuffed green peppers of my mother’s generation. Instead, they are amped up with minced jalapeno pepper (or even serrano if you’re brave) and flavored with cumin and chili powder. I use chopped meat in mine, as well as rice and black beans, but you can eliminate the meat if you prefer a vegetarian version. Plus the poblano is more flavorful than a green bell pepper, with a palate-pleasing hint of spiciness.
There’s no need to go to Chipotle when you’ve got these babies coming out of the kitchen. With a salad or some fruit, a single, well-stuffed poblano can be a complete meal. In a silly mood last week, I even rolled one in a warmed burrito shell.
After adding a few extras between the stuffed poblano and the burrito, I made a thoroughly enjoyable mess as I failed to add the best part of the Chipotle burrito experience – the foil wrapping that keeps the whole thing from coming undone in your hand! But it was good – very good. And I just scooped up the part that fell out of the burrito shell, saying silently “no harm, no foul.”
Easy Stuffed Poblano Peppers
Servings – 2
- 4 ounces (¼ pound) ground beef
- 1 tablespoon olive or other vegetable oil
- ⅓ cup chopped onion
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- ¼ cup minced parsley or cilantro
- 2 teaspoons minced jalapeno
- ½ cup black beans
- ½ cup cooked rice
- ¼ cup chopped tomato (quartered cherry or grape tomatoes work well)
- 1 cup shredded or grated sharp cheddar cheese (or other cheese such as Monterey Jack)
- Roast the poblanos on the stove if you have gas (otherwise in the toaster or regular oven at 450 degrees for about 30 minutes turning a few times) until they blister and the skin turns mostly charred and black. Then put them in a paper bag for about 10 minutes, until they get soft and have almost completely collapsed. Rinse off most of the blackened skin under cool running water or in a bowl of water, then with a sharp knife cut off the top and pull or rinse out the seeds. Towel dry the peppers. If they split down the side, that’s fine. You can stuff them open and hold the two sides together with a toothpick.
- It’s most efficient to set up all the ingredients near the pan before starting to cook the stuffing. Remember mise on place?
- Brown the chopped meat, drain off any extra water and fat, and set the meat aside. You may want to wipe out the pan, but it’s not necessary to clean it yet as you can use it for the rest of the stuffing.
- Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, heat it and sauté the chopped onions for about 3-5 minutes, until they are lightly browned. Add the parsley or cilantro, the minced jalapeno pepper, and the spices. Cook the mixture for another 2-3 minutes until the spices begin to smell fragrant. Add in the chopped tomatoes, the rice and beans, and the cooked ground beef, plus ½ cup of the shredded cheese. Stir the mixture until it is well combined.
- Using a tablespoon, stuff the peppers. Serve with the extra cheese and hot sauce, or add some cheese to the opening where the stuffing peeks out of the peppers, place the peppers on an oiled pan (I use oiled foil to make clean up easy) and bake in a pre-heated toaster or regular oven at 375 degrees F for 5-10 minutes until the cheese melts.
Enjoy on a pepper on its own (using a knife and fork to cut) or serve with warmed corn or flour tortillas to wrap around the pepper, burrito-style.