I'd always thought poblanos were mild peppers. I'd never cooked them before, I'd just read recipes using them, plus I've had them in Mexican cuisine. I'd just never prepared them myself. Well, a couple of weeks ago, with the hubby gone on a business trip, I decided to stuff a bunch of peppers for quick, easy dinners while he was gone. While I normally stuff regular bell peppers, this time I opted for poblanos. I've been trying to grow poblanos all season, but my plant never fruited. It blossomed plenty, but no luck. Darn it all. My father-in-law's did though, so we received peppers from him throughout the season. It was just a lousy season for any kind of pepper at my homestead.
But back to the poblanos- I halved them all and preceded to remove all the innards. Once the innards were discarded I did a quick rinse of my hands in the sink. Notice I said quick rinse. The kind of quick rinse one would do after dismantling a bell pepper, not the complete scrub-down you do when handling a hot pepper such as a jalapeño.
In hindsight, that's where it all went wrong.
About 20 minutes later, my hands started to burn. So did one of my eyes (which I had itched) and the corner of my mouth (where I'd absentmindedly brushed off a stray pepper seed). It was a most unpleasant feeling. I scooted into the kitchen and began the hot pepper scrub-down. After I'd scoured my hands for a good 2-3 minutes, I rinsed them and dried them. 5 minutes later, I was back in the kitchen for another scrub. Then another. And another.
I never did get rid of the burning sensation that night. It was so incredibly miserable. My hands were so on fire that I was scared to take my contacts out before bed. I ended up putting on gloves to take my contacts out. In retrospect, I should put the gloves on to work with the peppers. Lesson learned. My hands still had a little of the burning sensation the next morning, but it went away after about 30 minutes.
Morale of the story?
Respect the poblano. Yeah, it might be mild and delish, but it's still a part of that pepper family. Wash your hands thoroughly after handling.
The preparation of these peppers may have been a little painful, but the eating of them was anything but. I was shocked at how much I liked this recipe. It was one of those recipes that always sounds yummy in the morning when I pick it out, but when it actually came time to make dinner, the appeal always seemed to be lost. But I already had the poblanos and I was determined to eat meatless while the hubby was away, so I forged ahead anyway.
Tender white rice is simmered with onions, mushrooms, and spinach, all in a super-tasty enchilada sauce. Stir in some cheese when the rice is done, and your filling is complete. It's also completely delicious and extremely hard to keep your taster fork out of 😉
You could use just about any cheese you want, but I chose queso. It was recommended by the recipe that I was adapting. And it was... creamy. So melty. So terrifically cheesy. I highly recommend using queso if you can find it.
After stuffing the peppers with the filling, sprinkle a little more cheese on top and pop them in the oven. Before you know it, the house smells amazing and they come out of the oven looking amazingly cheesy. I took the opportunity to sprinkle some fresh cilantro on top.
And, while not a must, guacamole is the perfect accompaniment. But to be honest, what isn't better with guac, am I right?
Whether eating a couple of these as the main meal, or serving these on the side of a protein, they pack a delicious punch.
Another favorite way of mine to eat them is surrounded by any leftover enchilada sauce. Oh my! 😍
That's it for this special, late-weekend afternoon post. I truly am starting to panic a bit friends, most of the recipes I have prepared and ready to publish are intended to be used with fresh summer fare. And we are rapidly running out of summer days to share those recipes.
Can I have another month of summer please? Pretty please? 😀
I hope everyone had a great weekend!
Recipe adapted from: Pinch of Yum
Ingredients (makes 10 pepper halves):
2 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp flour
3 cups water
1 cup Chicken broth
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/3 cup tomato paste
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp onion power
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp butter
1/2 red onion, chopped
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
8 ounces fresh spinach
1 cup uncooked white rice
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups queso cheese
5 poblano peppers, halved and membranes removed
topping: guacamole (optional)
1. Prepare the sauce- in a large skillet, heat canola oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add flour. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Begin adding water in slow additions, mixing completely after each addition. Slowly add the chicken broth, stirring continuously. Mixture will have a thinner consistency at this point, this is ok. Add tomato sauce, paste, chili powder, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, oregano, and sugar. Stir to completely mix. Bring mixture to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes, then remove from heat. Season to taste. Pour sauce into a large mixing bowl or Mason jar, set aside. Wipe out skillet.
2. Preheat oven to 400º. Coat a cookie sheet with cooking spray, set aside.
3. Melt butter in skillet. When melted, add onions and mushrooms. Saute for 4-5 minutes, or until mushrooms have browned a bit. Add spinach to the pan, and stir until just wilted. Add rice to the pan, and stir to coat. Add 2 cups enchilada sauce to pan. Add 1/4 cup water to the pan. Bring pan to a simmer. Cover, and simmer for 17-20 minutes, or until rice is tender. Stir in 1 cup of cheese. Taste rice mixture, season if needed.
4. Place poblano halves on cookie sheet. Fill each half with a couple of spoonfuls of rice mixture. Top with remaining cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until peppers are soft and cheese has melted. Serve immediately with guacamole, if using.
*These peppers make great leftovers. To reheat, preheat oven to 425º. Place pepper halves on a pizza stone in oven for 5-7 minutes or until heated throughout*
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