I love stuffed peppers, but the usual tomato based sauce used doesn’t like me. I craved them though, so I came up with a new, non-tomato stuffed pepper and the results were scrumptious, if I do say so myself. The best type of peppers to use for this recipe are Poblano chiles, but this recipe is not a poblano with mole recipe either, as is popular in the place of this pepper’s origination, Puebla, Mexico. I don’t really like mole that much.
I started out knowing what kind of sauce I wanted, and it’s cream based with chicken stock. I felt the best compliment to this would be the spicy, but not hot, Poblano pepper. The heat in these dark green, thin skinned chiles is minimal, but enough to make the flavor very interesting. In a pinch you could use sweet red bell peppers, but I think green bells would overpower the delicate flavor of the other ingredients.
Here’s how I make them. The recipe serves 2 stuffed halves each to four people, or 1 half each for eight as a side dish. The ingredients you’ll need are:
4 big fresh Poblano peppers (try to get straight ones – they’re easier to stuff)
1 lb very lean ground beef
1 1/2 cups cooked white rice
1 or 2 eggs (depending on size)
1/2 cup chopped roasted, skinned, and seeded green chile. Save 3 tbsp for the sauce! (canned chile will do, in a jar or frozen better, but freshly roasted is always best)
3/4 cup diced sweet yellow onion – again…save 3 tbsp for the sauce!
3 cloves garlic, 2 for the stuffing, 1 extra for the sauce
1 tsp fennel seed
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp crushed coriander
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup heavy cream
(or thick crema fresca if you can find it)
1 cup chicken stock
3 tbsp butter
2-3 tbsp flour
3 tbsp of the chopped green chiles
3 tbsp of the diced sweet yellow onion
1 clove garlic
salt and pepper to taste
To start, cut the poblano chile peppers in half length wise and remove seeds and membrane. I like to be sure to have a bit of stem on each half for appearance sake. (The chiles in the picture still have seeds and membrane). Blanch in boiling water for 2-3 minutes to soften a little and set aside to cool and drain.
Pan fry the lean ground beef until done. I like it just a little browned. Add onions, green chile, garlic and sauté until onions are clearing. Don’t burn! Add spices and stir well, cooking for a few more minutes to marry the flavors. These spices are important to the flavor – don’t substitute! Set mixture aside to cool while you make the sauce.
Sauté the onions and garlic in butter, (oil is ok, but butter is always better!) When onions are clearing add the chile stir and sprinkle with flour. Stir again and then slowly add in the chicken stock a little at a time and continue to stir. Add salt and pepper. Continue to stir as you reduce liquid by about half and then add the cream. Stir it all up and let cool.
When everything is cool enough NOT to cook the egg, combine the meat mixture, the rice, the egg, and about 1/4 cup of the sauce in a bowl and mix up well to distribute the egg throughout as a binder. The mix should not be soupy, but should hold together well. One egg may be enough – try one at a time and see.
Arrange chiles open side up in an oven proof baking pan, sprayed with a little oil so the peppers don’t stick, and spoon mixture into each chile. Push mix in with spoon and fill them up tight. Spoon remaining sauce onto the mix and if you like, sprinkle a bit of a mild white cheese, like queso fresco or some buttery asadero. Not really needed, but a nice addition for cheese lovers.
The next time I make these I’m making extras for breakfast…there’s nothing finer for my Albuquerque bed and breakfast guests than one of these babies with a fried egg on top! YUM!
I cook up really good eats in Albuquerque!
Sarah Dolk, Adobe Nido Bed & Breakfast
Expert on Destination Albuquerque and Central New Mexico!