Tag Archives: poblano pepper

Confessions of an Impulse Buyer – Stuffed Poblano Peppers

I’m an impulse buyer. Sometimes something calls to me like a Siren. I’m drawn to it, my reason somehow clouded by its alluring song. The temptress isn’t a designer bag or a beautiful pair of earrings; far from it. Quite often it is a jar of imported olives or an intriguing blend of ancient grains. Grocery stores and markets are my weakness, and I’m forever a sucker for the new and unusual.

Many a routine shopping trip meant to replenish our staples finds me coming home with some culinary treasure or another. My need to have whatever it is doesn’t care if there is little room to store it. So much so, that I’ve converted an entire closet in our minuscule apartment into a pantry. (Thank you Papa D for humoring me).

From time to time I pull myself out of my gastronomic reverie and take stock of my larder. I repentantly vow to use what is on hand before I buy anything else that could be considered non-essential. The time has come to take stock, take a vow, and start getting creative.Here is my counter of shame…yes all of these came out of my pantry. Sadly, this isn’t everything, I left the more plebian things out; actually I ran out of room. Some were actually purchased for a specific recipe, but many were acquired just to have. What’s Mama D to do?She made Stuffed Peppers for starters. Poblano peppers were stuffed with a quinoa rice blend that was good the first time around, but has been languishing in the dark ever since.  Since we were in a  “South of the Border” kind of vibe, I started with a Sofrito of sorts. In this case it was poblano, onion, garlic, and cilantro chopped finely and sautéed in a bit of olive oil. The liquid was predominantly Guajillo Chili Sauce (click here for the recipe). This gave the grain a hearty depth of flavor. I created lovely Poblano boats by cutting a large oval out of their sides. This also gave them great stability in the oven.The chopped up pepper scraps, some red bell pepper, onion, and Chipotle Chicken Sausage.Sauteed in a bit more olive oil, they gave the filling substantial substance. 

I added the rice to the above mixture and tossed everything together. I also added some Pepper Jack Cheese because I was feeling the need for an even bigger comfort food sensation ( nothing says comfort to me like adding some cheese). I over – filled the pepper boats because that’s how I roll. I even put some of the filling in the pan to act as a tasty platform for the peppers. They spent some time in the oven under a foil tent, when they were almost ready, I topped them with more cheese and let the broiler work its magic.

These were very tasty. The flavor was rich but surprisingly not too spicy. If you wanted to turn up the heat, you could add some chopped jalapenos or use a spicier chili sauce. By the way, if you don’t have the time or inclination to make scratch chili sauce, canned enchilada sauce would work as well. 

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Stuffed Poblano Peppers
Servings: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 Tblsp Sofrito
  • 2 Tblsp Olive Oil Divided
  • 1 Cup Chili Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 2 Tsp Cumin
  • 2/3 Cup Brown Rice Or other grain blend
  • 2 Large Poblano Peppers
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Red Bell Pepper
  • 3/4 Cup Chopped Onion
  • 1/2 Cup Chicken Broth More or less as needed
  • 2 Links Chipotle Chicken Sausage Quartered lengthwise and chopped
  • 3/4 Cup Shredded Pepper Jack Cheese divided
Instructions
  1. Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the Sofrito and cook for 3 - 4 minutes until it is fragrant.

  2. Add the rice or grain blend and stir to mix in the sofrito. Cook another 3-4 minutes, stirring often.

  3. Add the chili sauce, water, and cumin and stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer, cover and cook 15 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed. Set aside.

  4. Cut a large oval out of the side of each pepper. Carefully remove the seeds and membranes. Each pepper should look like a little boat when you are finished. Chop the pieces that were cut out and add them to the onions and red peppers. Set the pepper boats aside.

  5. In a large skillet, heat the remaining olive oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the onions, red peppers, and chopped poblano pieces. Cook, stirring occasionally until everything softens and browns slightly. Add the chopped sausage to the pan and cook for several minutes more

  6. Add the reserved grain mixture to the pan.  Add enough broth to loosen the mixture slightly. It should be moist but not soggy. Cook for a few minutes then remove from the heat. Stir in 1/2 cup of the grated cheese.

  7. Spray a casserole pan with cooking spray. spoon a little of the ric mixture into the pan. Fill the pepper boats generously with the rice mixture. Place the pepper in the casserole.

  8. Cover with foil and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the peppers. Set the oven to broil return the pan to the oven and broil for 3 -5 minutes until the cheese is melted and golden.

  9. Remove the peppers from the oven and serve.

So, there is one less bag of grain in the pantry and finding the bag of gajillo chilies was a surprise that lightened the load a little more. I can say with pride that my last two forays at the grocery store were essentially only essentials…except for the Fish Sauce (I was almost out) and the Anchovy Paste (it was on sale). Baby steps….

A Cozy Nest and a Pot of Something Wonderful (Chicken & Poblano Chili)

Winter is here. There is snow on the ground and ice on the streets. It’s the time of the year when those of us who live in the Midwest turn our thoughts to curling up on the couch with a good book and a loving partner. Weekends at home give us time to fall in love with our new surroundings. The small apartment that seemed almost claustrophobic is becoming a cozy nest  as we add a picture here and a shelf there. Slowly the treasures we kept are finding new places and as I look around from my place on that couch it looks like home.

Nothing makes a cozy nest smell better than a big pot of something wonderful simmering on the stove. If you’ve been following along with my adventures, you know that soups (click here for some of my favorites), stews, and chili come out of my kitchen regularly. On a recent cold and snowy weekend I made some chili that was the perfect accompaniment to quality time spent inside.

i-peppers-anchochiliI started with some dried chilies, Ancho and Guajillo to be exact.guajillo chili Anchos begin their life as Poblano chilies. These are quite mild and became the repeating theme in this dish. Guajillo start out as Mirasol peppers. These are smokey and sweet with just a touch of heat. This wrinkled and leathery duo were the base for my chili. Before they could become the deep red sauce that held the other ingredients together they had to toast and soak, then whirl in the blender to finally be strained through a sieve. The beautiful sauce only needed a touch of agave and a pinch of salt to become the perfect base.DIGITAL CAMERAPoblano peppers made several more appearances. Fresh peppers were roasted and left raw as well for a wider flavor profile. I also used Ancho Chili Powder along with the essential heavy dose of Cumin.

I used “chicken bits” for the main protein. This is what I call the trimmings from chicken thighs and breasts that I accumulate in the freezer and save for just his kind of occasion.DIGITAL CAMERAI used a bit of bacon as I do in most chili that I make. Chopped finely and cooked off in the pot, it got things rolling. I drained the grease, but left the brown bits. I added a little olive oil and added the chicken to brown slightly.DIGITAL CAMERAThere had to be plenty of yellow onion and garlic along with the poblanos and jalapenos. Ground cumin and ancho chili powder cooked along with the veggies to deepen their flavor. The browned chicken and reserved bacon went back into the pot. I added a little chicken stock and more than a little hoppy beer to kick things up just a little. I added a can of fire roasted tomatoes that I had partially drained as well.

Everything simmered for a good 45 minutes, then I added a can of pinto beans that were drained and rinsed. Another 15 – 20 minutes and it was ready to eat…but not really.DIGITAL CAMERA The flavor was good, but as with many soups it’s even better in a day or two. So it camped out in the refrigerator for two days. There’s a double bonus here. It tasted great and was as easy to get on the table as heating it up and spooning it into bowls. I topped it with a little smoked gouda cheese. DIGITAL CAMERAThe smokiness of the cheese complimented the smokey undertones of the chili. It takes a bit of time to make this. The recipe is long, but it is fairly easy. It’s the perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon and the resulting pot of wonderful is worth the effort.

Chicken and Poblano Chili
Print Recipe
This takes time, but it is worth the effort. Use different chilies to adjust the heat. It would be great with pork and black beans or what ever ingredients you love.
Servings
4
Servings
4
Chicken and Poblano Chili
Print Recipe
This takes time, but it is worth the effort. Use different chilies to adjust the heat. It would be great with pork and black beans or what ever ingredients you love.
Servings
4
Servings
4
Ingredients
Sauce
Chili
Servings:
Instructions
To Make The Sauce
  1. Use kitchen shears to cut open the peppers. Remove the stem and the seeds. Place the peppers in a large roasting pan. Place in a 300 degree oven and roast for a few minutes. This is to warm the peppers slightly and begin to release their oils.
  2. Heat the water to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chilies. To keep the chilies submerged in the water, place another pot into the chili pot and weight it down. Allow the chilies to soak for at least 20 minutes.
  3. Check to see if the chilies are soft. If they aren't let them soak a few more minutes. Once they are soft, remove them to a strainer and allow to cool.
  4. Working in batches, blend or process the chilies with fresh water. (1 cup chilies to 2 cups water) the mixture should be fairly smooth, but there will be bits of skin.
  5. When all of the chilies have been processed, pour the mixture through a fine sieve. Use a spoon to press as much of the liquid chili through the sieve. Discard the pulp in the sieve.
  6. Add a pinch of salt and a bit of agave syrup to taste. This makes a good 4 cups of sauce. Use in the chili recipe. Freeze the extra.
Chili
  1. Heat a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add the chopped bacon and cook until the bacon is browned. Remove the bacon and drain on a paper towel. Pour off the drippings, leaving any browned bits. Add the olive oil to the pot.
  2. Add the chicken bits to the pan and cook until lightly browned. Cook in batches if necessary. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and set aside. Leave the drippings in the pan. Work on roasting the poblano peppers while the chicken cooks.
  3. Use a broiler to roast 2 of the Poblano peppers. Place the peppers on the broiler rack and position the rack about 3 inches from the heat source. Broil turning frequently until the peppers are blistered and blackened all over. This may take up to 10 minutes depending on your broiler
  4. Place the roasted peppers in a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to sit for 5 - 8 minutes. The skin should come off easily. Remove the stems and seeds and chop and set aside
  5. Chop the remaining poblano pepper and add it along with the onions, garlic, and jalapeno to the soup pot. Cook for about 5 minutes until the peppers and onion are softened and the garlic is fragrant.
  6. Add the cumin and chili powder to the pan and cook for 3 minutes more. Return the chicken and bacon to the pot and stir to combine. Add the beer to the pot stirring to loosen any brown bits. Cook for a minute or so.
  7. Add the chili sauce, drained tomatoes, roasted poblanos, and the chicken stock. Bring just to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes.
  8. Add the pinto beans and continue to cook 15 minutes more. This can be served immediately, but it is better after a day or two in the refrigerator.
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I added a salad of grape tomatoes, cilantro, and avocado that was lightly dressed with a lime vinaigrette. Warm corn tortillas rounded out the meal.DIGITAL CAMERA

Winter is sure to hang around for at least another month or two. Take the time to make your own pot of wonderful.

Springing Ahead with Quinoa

According to the calendar, Spring will be here in two weeks. According to what I see out my window… it may be here in name only. There is nearly two feet of snow in my yard, I have to put on a jacket to get the mail, and don’t even get me started on the pot holes and giant snow banks.

fat squirrelFor those of us in the Midwest this has been the Winter of Our Hibernation. As with many hibernating animals I have put on an extra layer of fat to sustain me through these frigid times. What was comfort from the cold is now displeasure in the mirror.

Comfort food gives us comfort, and I’ve taken more than my share of it lately. Now the time has come to look at  lighter and healthier food. First on the menu board is Quinoa  

This “super food” has been the darling of the food world for some time. It is rich in fiber and vitamins, and has essential amino acids that make it a complete protein. It cooks in the same manner and time as rice, but is a lot more interesting both in taste and appearance. The little spirals which are actually the germ make an interesting presentation especially in the red and black varieties.IMG_1416-1024x768colored quinoa

It makes a great side dish embellished or not, It can be eaten as a hot cereal for breakfast with dried fruit and a sprinkling of nuts. I haven’t found a vegetable that it doesn’t like, making  wonderful salads that put the  pasta variety to shame. I think Quinoa with a plethora of veggies and a light dressing is a great lunch or light supper.DIGITAL CAMERAThis is an Italian inspired salad. The quinoa is joined by sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, mushrooms and olives, Dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, it is an antipasto tray that eats like a mealDIGITAL CAMERA

 

Italian Quinoa Salad
Print Recipe
This protein rich, meatless salad can be a one dish meal for four or a side dish for 6.
Servings
4
Servings
4
Italian Quinoa Salad
Print Recipe
This protein rich, meatless salad can be a one dish meal for four or a side dish for 6.
Servings
4
Servings
4
Ingredients
Salad
Dressing
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Heat the 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet. Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes. Add the Cubanelle and mushrooms. cook another 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 2 minutes more. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  2. Put the cooked quinoa in a large mixing bowl. Add the roasted peppers, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes and olives and toss to combine.
  3. Add the cooled onion mixture to the bowl and toss once again.
  4. In a small jar with a lid add all of the dressing ingredients (except salt and pepper). Close tightly and shake until the ingredients are emulsified.
  5. Pour the dressing over the quinoa and vegetables and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for several hours. Remove from refrigerator 15 minutes before serving. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
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Southwestern flavors also have an affinity with quinoa. This is possibly my favorite Quinoa salad. Roasted poblano peppers and corn, black beans, red bell peppers, onions and tomatoes are combined with cilantro, avocado and a garlic lime dressing. 

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The Southwestern flavors coupled with the nutty chewiness of the quinoa make a one dish meal the is good and good for you. The veggies are chopped in small dice that compliment the quinoa and make for easy eating.

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The dressing starts with canola oil that gently heats with minced garlic and cumin seeds. Lime zest, ancho chili powder, smoked paprika, and a touch of Agave Nectar combine with lime juice and ground cumin to create a flavor burst that brings the whole thing together.DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Southwestern Quinoa Salad
Print Recipe
The nutrition of quinoa and the flavors of the southwest come together in a healthy and flavorful meatless main dish salad. It's also great as a side dish.
Servings
4
Servings
4
Southwestern Quinoa Salad
Print Recipe
The nutrition of quinoa and the flavors of the southwest come together in a healthy and flavorful meatless main dish salad. It's also great as a side dish.
Servings
4
Servings
4
Ingredients
Dressing
Servings:
Instructions
  1. To roast Poblanos: Place poblanos under the broiler for 10 minutes or so, turning as the skin blisters. It should be blistered on all sides. Remove the peppers to a shallow bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to sit for 5-8 minutes. At this point the skin should come off easily. Remove the stem and seeds and chop.
  2. Put the quinoa, bell peppers, poblano, onion, corn and black beans in a large mixing bowl. Toss to combine.
  3. Add the avocado and cilantro to the bowl and toss gently to combine.
  4. Pour the canola oil into a small fry pan. Add the garlic and the cumin seeds and heat over low heat until the garlic stats to sizzle. Remove from heat (do not let the garlic brown) and set aside to cool before adding to the dressing jar.
  5. Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a jar with a lid. Cover tightly and shake until ingredients emulsify.
  6. Pour the dressing over the ingredients in the bowl and toss gently to combine.
  7. Cover the salad and chill for several hours. Remove from refrigerator 15 minutes before serving. This serves 4 as a main dish and 6 or more as a side dish.
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NOTE: To make 3 cups of cooked quinoa; Rinse 1 cup of quinoa under cold water for 2 minutes and allow to drain. Combine with 2 cups of water in a saucepan. Add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil. reduce heat and cover. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Quinoa should be al dente. Drain off any water that might be left in the pan.DIGITAL CAMERA

Make either of these salads at least a few hours ahead so that the flavors have chance to get acquainted. They can mellow in the refrigerator, but let them sit out for about 15 minutes before serving. The color and texture are interesting and the flavor is incredible.

I’m taking the first steps to lighter and healthier food. Just like Winter is the season for comfort, Spring is the season for light and bright in the air and in the kitchen.

Love, Mama D