August 26, 2010
A Change of Pepper
I admit, I'm behind on my posts. There are several entries lingering in my queue, getting pushed further down the list because I get too excited about sharing something shinier and newer. I'm sure you'd never know the difference if I kept my mouth shut, but this one, if you live in the San Diego area, is a dead give away that it isn't a recent dinner. You'd be crazy to think I'd crank my oven on to 425F for an hour when the temperature outside is still pushing 80F at sunset. Absolutely insane. My apartment doesn't have an A/C or even a ceiling fan in the main room and the kitchen and living room face west, meaning that for a few hours each afternoon it's roughly the same temperature as a sauna. I don't need the oven to help that along, thankyouverymuch.
We made this the week before we left for San Francisco, when the evenings were still cool and the mere thought of turning on the oven didn't require me to hang out in the house in my bathing suit. It's from Everyday Food, which I always admire for having simple dinner ideas that are relatively fuss-free and on the healthier side. Oddly enough before seeing this recipe, it never occurred to me that I could stuff a poblano pepper. Bell peppers, sure. Stuff them with couscous, with rice, with vegetables, some ground meat even. But change the pepper? Whoa. Lets say we were just comparing the peppers alone, I'd probably pick the poblano over a bell any day. They have a nice subtle heat and a kind of smoky flavor when you cook them. I need to start think outside the box, get out of this bell pepper rut.
Anyhow, these stuffed peppers are tasty. The baking time here may be long, but the prep work is maybe 20 minutes, well worth the end result. Melty stringy cheese and cornmeal holds together the chunky filling of beans, corn and onions. The tomato sauce it bakes in thickens and adds a nice acidity to the creamy slightly sweet peppers. They make good leftovers, too!
Stuffed Poblano Peppers
Adapted from Everyday Food, April 2008
Mine look a little dry because I seemed to have missed the part about adding the water/broth to the stuffing mixture, so learn from me and don't forget yourself. Also, look for larger, straighter poblano peppers. It may take some sorting as a lot of them are kind of kinked, but they will be much easier to stuff without the funny shapes. These could be tasty served with some sour cream and hot sauce as well.
1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes in puree
1 minced jalapeno
2 small onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, 2 whole, 1 minced
coarse salt, ground pepper
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 small ear of corn, kernels cut off
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
3/4 cup water or broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 large poblano chiles, halved lengthwise [stems left intact] ribs and seeds removed
Preheat oven to 425F degrees.
In a blender, combine tomatoes in puree, jalapeno, half the onions, and 2 whole garlic cloves. Puree until smooth. Season with salt. Pour the sauce into a 9x13-inch baking dish and then set it aside.
In a medium bowl, combine beans, corn, cornmeal, 1/2 the cheese cheese, remaining onions, minced garlic, cumin and 3/4 cup water or broth. Season with salt and pepper.
Dividing evenly, stuff the poblano chile halves with the bean mixture and place in the baking dish on top of the sauce. Sprinkle the poblano chiles with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil.
Bake until the poblanos are tender, about 45 minutes. Remove foil and continue to cook until the sauce thickens slightly and cheese is golden brown, about 10 minutes more. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving.