Tag poblano peppers

How to Roast Peppers

A couple of months ago, I posted a story about making stuffed poblano peppers and how, after roasting the peppers in the oven to loosen their skins and then baking them with the stuffing, they had come out too soft. Shortly thereafter, a dear former colleague passed me a tip: put the peppers straight onto the stove-top burner, rotating it until all of the skin is charred.

I tried her method when I was roasting poblanos for a corn salad, and she’s right! It’s much faster — and probably more energy efficient as well.

I haven’t made those stuffed poblanos again yet and I must do it soon. They were tasty and if I can prevent the peppers from getting too soft, they might earn an A!

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Fresh Corn Salad with Chipotle Sauce

Yesterday I set out to make stuffed poblano peppers in chipotle sauce — and ended up with a corn salad. What can I say … my peppers didn’t cooperate, a mad dash to the grocery produced no more poblanos, and so The Cook played inventor. But let me start from the beginning.

As you may recall, the poblanos are stuffed with quinoa, black beans, corn, and mushrooms. I’d made the dish once before and earned a B+. I was hoping my second effort would produce an A. To improve my chances, I planned to serve it with the popular creamed corn.

I roasted the poblano peppers, peeled them, and then cut a small slit in the side in order to scrape the seeds out. I don’t know if it was me or the poblanos, but my seed-removal efforts left the peppers with multiple rips and, I realized, in a truly un-stuffable state.

So I improvised. I cut the kernels off of the cob. I diced some red pepper, some shitake mushrooms, and one of the poblanos; minced some garlic and sliced a shallot. While those ingredients were sauteing, I followed the very easy recipe for the chipotle sauce: puree one clove of garlic, one chipotle pepper, salt and water in a food processor; add cilantro and pulse once. I served the corn salad with roasted salmon, drizzling both with chipotle sauce.

Maybe it was just relief that my poblano plans hadn’t ended in disaster, but I thought the corn salad was delicious. Next time (and by “next time” I mean tomorrow) I’ll add another shallot and perhaps some more mushrooms. And I might toss the corn salad in the chipotle sauce, treating it more like a dressing, But for a first-time, by-the-seat-of-my-pants effort, I was pleased.

Of course, what *you* want to know is what The Professor thought. Well, he liked it. He thought the corn salad could have been warmer. And that, while the salmon was cooked perfectly, it wasn’t the best piece of fish.

“The corn salad might pair better with a white fish,” he added. “We haven’t had halibut in a while.”

Given the quality of the salmon and the adjustments I want to make to the recipe, I didn’t ask for a grade. But look for one soon.

Stuffed Poblano Peppers in Chipotle Sauce

I was still thinking about Betsy’s Roasted Red Peppers, and whether they could be embellished in a way that would transform them from side dish to main event, when I came across a recipe for Stuffed Poblano Peppers in Chipotle Sauce.

“Stuffed with quinoa, black beans, mushrooms, and corn, these peppers make a satisfying vegetarian main course,” promised the writers of Power Foods, my new cookbook from the editors of Martha Stewart’s Whole Living magazine.

I had to try it.

The Professor arrived in the kitchen after the poblanos had been roasted and peeled. Peering suspiciously into the dish where they lay limply, waiting for their filling, he asked, “What are those for?”

“I’m stuffing them,” I told him. “You’re skeptical?”

“I’m always skeptical,” he replied. Which is true. No matter how easily bored he is by dishes I serve too frequently, he’s naturally suspicious of new recipes. But explaining such paradoxes isn’t my job, so I got back to cooking the stuffing.

I sauteed the mushrooms for a few minutes, added in the corn and black beans, and finally mixed in the quinoa and goat cheese. Then I carefully spooned the mixture into the peppers.

Making the chipotle sauce took about one minute: Toss the garlic, the chipotle, some salt and water into a food processor and blend. Add the cilantro and pulse until it is chopped. Pour into a 9 x 13 baking dish.

The recipe called for baking the stuffed peppers for 15-20 minutes, but I was worried about making the peppers too soft, so I took them out after 5 minutes.

The result: All of the flavors (in the stuffing, the chipotle sauce, and the mild zing of the poblano itself) worked well together, and each bite brought a slightly different combination of tastes. The black beans, corn, and mushrooms added texture to the stuffing and, along with the goat cheese, gave the peppers the heft they needed to be more than just a side dish.

“They are definitely more substantive than Betsy’s Peppers,” said The Professor. He praised the flavor and gave the dish high marks for “interestingness.” His one complaint was that the peppers were too soft.

The final grade: B+.

“It’s worth another shot,” he added, encouragingly. “If you cooked the peppers a bit less, it could be an A.”

Next time I’ll cut the initial roasting time to 10 minutes. In the meantime, you can see the full recipe here.