By Freya Bellin
Stuffed peppers are among the most fun foods to serve because of the surprise factor. It’s like opening a little culinary gift. And in this recipe, the stuffing is so good that you may want to make extra to eat on its own or to serve on the side. Spicy scallions, sweet raisins, crunchy almonds, and just-melted cheese? It doesn’t get much better. If your peppers are big enough and you’re careful to avoid overflow, you can probably stuff a little bit more of the cheese mixture into them than is called for below. Anything hanging out too close to the open flame will burn, though, so make sure that the peppers stay closed up.
This recipe does require a delicate touch when rotating the poblanos. The smaller you can keep the stuffing opening, the less likely you are to lose stuffing when you flip them. An even char on all sides really helps the bitter skin peel away nicely.
Poblanos are on the mild side as far as peppers go, but they do still have a kick, so be cautious, especially when handling the seeds. Recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook.
Charred Stuffed Poblanos
Makes: 4 servings
Time: 30 minutes
Most often poblanos are roasted and peeled before further cooking—a nice technique that is a real pain. But as long as you remove the seeds and cook the peppers thoroughly, as you will here, you get skin that’s easy enough to remove at the table. (Some people like its charred flavor; others find it a little bitter.) The stuffing is crunchy, sweet, and creamy, a nice counterpoint to the slightly spicy poblanos.
8 poblano chiles
1⁄2 cup chopped pumpkin seeds, almonds, or walnuts
1⁄2 cup chopped scallions
1⁄2 cup raisins
1⁄2 cup crumbled queso fresco
1⁄2 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
Salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for cooking
Lime wedges, for serving
1. Prepare a grill or turn on the broiler; the heat should be medium-high and the rack about 4 inches from the fire. Cut a slit down the length of each poblano, large enough to be able to stuff the peppers without tearing them apart. Remove as many of the seeds as you can, leaving the stems intact.
2. Put the chopped pumpkin seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat. Toast, stirring or tossing frequently, until they are lightly browned and fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the scallions, raisins, queso fresco, cilantro, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Add the 2 tablespoons oil and stir again.
3. Carefully stuff the nut mixture into the poblanos; there should be a little more than 1⁄4 cup filling for each one. Brush each poblano with a little more oil and grill or broil, turning as needed to cook them evenly, until they are soft and charred on all sides, 5 to 10 minutes total. Serve hot or at room temperature with the lime wedges.