Many of the Mexican restaurants around here serve stuffed poblanos in the form of Chiles Rellenos, poblanos stuffed with refried beans, ground beef, and cheese. Or at least that’s how they make them around here. I used to love to order them when I would visit Amigo (back when Amigo was pretty much the only Mexican restaurant in this area)…I loved getting the pepper flavor without the hot pepper heat. The last time I got one, though, I could only take a few bites…that sucker was hot. Poblanos are touch and go kinds of peppers….usually they’re mild, but every once in a while you get burned.
I currently have two favorite cookbooks: The Complete America’s Test Kitchen Television Show Cookbook (<–affiliate link) and The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook (<–affiliate link). In Smitten Kitchen, Deb makes a dish of roasted stuffed poblanos with a risotto filling, cooked with beer rather than the usual wine. I made it once and it was quite tasty. Then, last month, The Vanilla Bean Blog ran a post about corn and poblano orzo. Later that week, I was at Enzo’s and saw some beautiful local poblanos. And local corn. Hmmm. I remembered that I had some orzo in the pantry….then it struck me-rather than cooking the poblanos in the orzo, I would cook the orzo in the poblanos. Corn and orzo stuffed poblanos…yes.
The first time out was indeed a success….I made a stovetop mac & cheese type concoction with corn, jalapeños, cheddar cheese, and orzo and stuffed them in the poblanos and baked them up. Then the rain came and it looked like 8:30 p.m. at barely 6:15. I pulled out the softboxes but since I was rushing to set up the lighting so we could eat, I didn’t do a very good job and the photos came out looking like crap. No amount of editing could fix it, so I had to sit on the idea for just a bit, until I could make it again….which I did this past week.
Luckily, the weather cooperated a little bit more this time around. I was able to do a little bit of tweaking with the recipe, roasting the peppers and removing the charred skins to make the peppers a little softer than the last time, when I left the skins and cut the peppers in half. It was delicious…except for this: these poblanos were HOT. I had to chase mine with a glass of milk, and even Philip, whose heat tolerance is much higher than mine, was wiping his brow by the time we were done. So the moral of the story? Test your poblanos-stick your finger in and taste it. If you can’t take the heat, make sure you get all the ribs and seeds out, and you might even want to work out a system for separating hot peppers from the milder ones so the heat-seekers in your house can eat the 5-alarm peppers.
Whatever the case, you should definitely try these dressed-up stuffed poblanos!
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Yield: 4 servings
This recipe is adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook and The Vanilla Bean Blog.
30 minPrep Time:
25 minCook Time:
55 minTotal Time:
- 6oz orzo (cooked according to package directions)
- 8 poblanos
- 1/2 Small onion (diced)
- 1 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/2 jalapeño (seeds and ribs removed, diced)
- 1 1/2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- 4oz cheddar cheese (grated)
- 1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- 2oz queso fresco or feta cheese (crumbled)
- 1/4-1/2 cup cilantro (chopped)
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- juice of one lime
- salt to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook orzo according to package directions. Roast poblanos by setting over a gas flame or putting them under a broiler, turning frequently until skin is charred on all sides. Place in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap for about 15 minutes, then carefully remove the charred skin. Cut the peppers in half or cut a slit in the side (which is what I did) and carefully remove the seeds and the ribs.
- Make the orzo & cheese mixture: Heat the butter in a medium pan over medium heat until melted. Sauté the onion and jalapeño until tender, then whisk in the flour and cook for about a minute. Gradually whisk in the milk and cook until thick, then add the cheese a handful at a time and cook until melted. Stir in the orzo and corn. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Stuff the peppers: carefully divide the orzo and cheese mixture among the peppers, placing them in a baking dish after stuffing. Sprinkle the tops with crumbled cheese. Bake the peppers in the 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes, until lightly browned on top.
- While the peppers are baking, make the sauce and prepare the garnishes: Whisk the juice of the lime into the sour cream, then add salt until you balance the tartness of the lime. Cut limes into wedges for squeezing and chop the cilantro.
- When the peppers have finished baking, serve them topped with the sour cream-lime sauce and chopped cilantro, with lime wedges on the side.