I’m talking ’bout poblano chilies, peoples. 🙂
As handy, dandy Wikipedia tells us:
The poblano is a mild chili pepper originating in the state of Puebla, Mexico. Dried, it is called a chile ancho (“wide chile”). The ripened red poblano is significantly hotter and more flavorful than the less ripe, green poblano. While poblanos tend to have a mild flavor, occasionally and unpredictably, they can have significant heat. Different peppers from the same plant have been reported to vary substantially in heat intensity. A closely related variety is the mulato, which is darker in color, sweeter in flavor and softer in texture.
While we love the Cheese-Stuffed Chilies Rellenos I’ve made at home, I don’t always have the desire to spend the time needed to prepare them. Inspired by a recipe in one of my Diabetic Cooking magazines, I also sometimes like to make Poblanos Stuffed with Black Beans and Rice for a meatless, spicy take on stuffed bell peppers.
A Note About the Peppers: I used good-sized poblano peppers, which are a relatively mild pepper, and each pepper made a serving. If you prefer, you can also use Anaheim peppers, but when using longer, more slender peppers, you’ll likely need to allow two or three peppers (depending upon their size) per serving.
IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTICE: Whenever you’re working with hot peppers, even a milder pepper, such as a poblano or Anaheim pepper, it is VERY IMPORTANT that you wear gloves while handling the peppers, as the capsaicin oils in the peppers could irritate your skin to the point of blistering it. I always wear disposable gloves so I can just toss them out when done. It is also VERY IMPORTANT not to touch your face, most especially your eyes, while handling peppers. Once you’re done handling the peppers, carefully remove the gloves (I always peel them off so that they’re coming off “inside out” to help avoid the risk of accidentally coming into contact with those concentrated pepper oils) and discard them, and then carefully disinfect the area where you were working with the peppers.
The “heat” in a poblano (or any spicy pepper) is mostly in the seeds and ribs of the pepper. By removing the seeds and ribs, you remove the lion’s share of the capsaicin, making the peppers safe to handle with bare hands once they’ve been filled, although you should, of course, still keep your hands away from your face, most especially your eyes, after coming in to contact with any kind of pepper.
This healthy, yummy dish will have you feeling so festive, you’ll want to put on some mariachi music 🙂 (Go on, take not quite two and half minutes from your day and watch and listen — you know you want to!)
Poblanos Stuffed with Black Beans and Rice (Serves 4)
- 4 large Poblano chiles (see notes about chiles above)
- 4 to 5 ounces shredded cheese (whatever you like — cheddar, Monterrey Jack, Jalapeño Jack)
- 1 can (15 – 16 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
- Cooked rice (I like to use a 5 oz package of Mahatma Saffron Yellow Rice, but you can use the equivalent yield of any other rice)
- 2/3 to 1 cup of your favorite salsa, enchilada sauce, or seasoned tomato sauce (such as El Pato)
1. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together black beans, cooked rice, 3 to 4 ounces of the shredded cheese, and 1/2 to 2/3 cup salsa, enchilada sauce, or seasoned tomato sauce.
2. Prepare the peppers (see important safety message above and remember to wear gloves!): To soften them a bit, I roasted them for a few minutes on each side on my gas burner. If you don’t have a gas ring or a grill at your disposal, you can place them under your broiler and broil them for a few minutes on each side.
3. Once the peppers are cool enough to touch, you’ll want to carefully cut a slit in each pepper. Gently remove the ribs and seeds.
4. Stuff each pepper with the bean and rice mixture.
5. Lightly oil or spray with cooking spray a pan of appropriate size. I used an 11″X7″ pan, which was the perfect size for my four filled peppers. Place peppers in the pan; I alternated my peppers (stem and end) so they would all fit and yet have sufficient room.
6. If desired, pour remaining salsa, enchilada sauce, or seasoned tomato sauce over peppers. Sprinkle each pepper with remaining cheese. Cover pan with foil.
7. Bake at 350F or 375F until heated through and cheese is melted (anywhere from 15 to 35 minutes). Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
8. Refrigerate leftovers. Or, to freeze: double-wrap each pepper carefully in cling wrap, then place in a sealed freezer bag.