Thursday, October 8, 2009

Project: Stuffed Poblanos

I've always loved stuffed peppers. My grandma's version used green bells stuffed with rice and rich tomato sauce. They were pretty tasty, but I prefer a spicier Latin-inspired poblano relleno to a standard stuffed bell pepper.

I've made chiles rellenos before, stuffing charred and peeled poblanos with cheese, then breading and frying them. They're always delicious, but after having an un-fried version at La Fonda in San Antonio, I wanted to try making them myself.

I found some gorgeous poblanos, which I charred, peeled and seeded.

Charring poblano and naked peppers

I used one to make a poblano cream sauce, and stuffed the remaining two with a mixture of quinoa, raisins, pine nuts and a veggie mixture of sweet potato, corn onion and purple cabbage.

Veggie filling with quinoa steaming away in the background

I put a little bit of the poblano cream into the bottom of a pan, and placed the stuffed poblanos in it, then covered them with more sauce and some nutty-sharp Cheddar cheese and baked them until everything was hot and melty.

Stuffed poblanos, before and after baking

We ate them with quinoa with raisins and pine nuts and black beans.

I am really happy with how well the poblanos turned out. The texture was fantastic, still a little firm, and I think I prefer this non-fried version to the battered one. It's much lighter, and the flavor of the poblano comes through a lot better. Plus, it's not fried, so you get to save a little on fat and calories.

I think that, with fall coming, I'm going to make these again and experiment with fillings. Maybe butternut squash and black beans?

The poblano cream sauce was delicious, and really easy, too. It's kind of based on a Rick Bayless recipe from Mexican Kitchen, but it's a lot lighter. I had a funny kitchen moment when making it, though. I used all low-fat milk and no cream, but when I blended the milk in the food processor, it aerated and puffed up like whipped cream! It deflated once I added it to the hot pan, but just over cup of milk filled the bowl of the food processor.

Poblano Cream
1 large poblano, charred, peeled and seeded
1 1/4 cup milk
1 Tablespoon flour
1 Tablespoon butter
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (you could use crema, but this is what I had)
salt and pepper

Blend the poblano and 1 cup of milk in a blender or food processor.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter and add flour. Cook over medium heat until it begins to take on a little color. Whisk in the milk mixture, along with the remaining milk. Bring to a simmer. Add Greek yogurt, salt and pepper. Heat through.

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