Poblanos Stuffed with Cheese and Chicken
Ah, stuffed poblanos. This is a lovely basic recipe, that pairs just as easily with a light green salad as it does with a side of frijoles. One of the reasons I like serving stuffed peppers is that they can adapt well to ingredients you have on hand — or don’t have on hand.
Chicken can be replaced with pork or ground beef. Stuffed peppers also adapts easily for vegetarians by simply omitting the chicken/meat. If you have leftovers from a pot of chili, it can also be well put to use here.
4 large poblano chiles
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/2 medium white onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
Generous pinch ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups shredded cooked chicken (dark meat works very well)
1-1/2 cups cooked brown or white rice
**2 cups/7oz grated sharp or extra-sharp white cheddar or (mild white/yellow cheese like Mexican Queso Blanco, Oaxaca or Monterey Jack cheese)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tbsp lime juice
Position the oven rack roughly 4 inches from the top and heat the broiler on high. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
Slit chiles from stem to tip and place on baking sheet. Broil, turning every few minutes, until blackened all over; this is only 5 to 8 minutes.
Let the peppers cool slightly, peel off skins, and cut out the seed cores, leaving stems on. Gently turn the chiles inside out, flick out seeds, and turn right side out again. Return poblanos to sheet.
Purée tomatoes, onion and garlic with the remaining dried herbs, spices and 1/2 tsp salt in a food processor.
Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the purée and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid has evaporated a bit and the purée mix looks thicker and pulpy, about 10 minutes.
Remove pan from heat. Stir in the cooked chicken and cooked rice, and then 1 cup of the cheese, the fresh cilantro, and lime juice. Season to taste with salt. Divide the filling among the peppers, wrapping the sides of the peppers up and around the filling, as much as possible.
Broil the peppers until cheese melts and the top begins to brown, about 4 minutes.
**Top with the remaining 1 cup cheese and broil until the cheese is completely melted, about 2 minutes.
*I have used other ingredients to garnish this dish at different times. When made as described above, I have also used cilantro and green onion to top each individual dish at point of serving.
**If using less cheese or even omitting the entire final cup used to top the peppers in the oven at the end, you can instead top them with canned sterilized cream (like Carnation) and pomegranate seeds at point of serving; it looks and tastes wonderful.
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