Let’s talk about stuffed peppers today. Poblano peppers to be specific. As I am sure that some of you know, poblano peppers are what you use when making chili relleno. My wife just happens to love a good chili relleno but doesn’t always care for the thick deep fried breading on them. Especially with summer and lake season coming up. She also doesn’t happen to be the biggest fan of chicken, so that can tend to limit my creativity in the kitchen at times. I however have made it my mission to find ways to come up with chicken recipes that she will enjoy and hopefully even ask me to make again.
Well…Guess what? This is one of those times that I did just that. She loved this latest recipe. It’s shredded chicken and cheese stuffed inside of a roasted poblano pepper, lightly dusted with flour and fried in olive oil. It’s also covered in crispy onion and jalapeno strings just to give it a little something extra. When you put that together on a plate with my homemade salsa, you can’t beat it. You can actually think of it as a lighter version of chili relleno if you like, but it really stands out on its own.
This one has a few steps to it so I will be sure and try to lay them out as simple as possible. Let’s go ahead and get started.
What you need before starting. Sharp knife and cutting board, aluminum foil, tongs, baking pan, non stick pan, wide spatula, large ziplock bag.
4 large poblano peppers
3 jalapeno peppers (cut into thin strips)
1 medium yellow onion (cut into thin strips)
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup of all purpose flour (split in two)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup crumbled queso blanco
kosher or sea salt
Salsa (You can buy a jar of your favorite or use my recipe here to make your own https://castironandfire.com/2017/02/17/south-texas-hot-sauce-salsa/
Roasting the poblano peppers:
There are a couple of ways that this can be done. What I usually do is cover a baking pan in aluminum foil and then lay the peppers out side by side. Turn the broiler in your oven on high and place the pan of peppers on the top rack. You will want to keep an eye on them while you are doing this or else they could burn beyond recognition and I don’t think we want that happen. When one side starts to bubble and turn nice and black use you tongs and turn the peppers over. You want to get them black on all sides.
Once they are black on all sides take the pan out and use the aluminum foil to cover them completely. You want to make a little bubble out of the foil so that the peppers can start to sweat inside. This helps the charred skin to come off easier.
Note: You can also do this on a grill. After you get them charred on all sides you can pull the corners of the foil up and twist sealed or place them in a bag to sweat a little. Sweating the peppers helps make it easier to get the charred skin off.
After 10 to fifteen minutes of sweating take the peppers and hold them under cold running water in the sink and gently peel the charred outer skin off. Be very careful with this step. They can be a bit delicate now. You want to get as much of the black skin off as possible while leaving the pepper in tact. You also want to get all of the seeds out of the pepper.
Cooking the chicken:
Start a pot of water boiling for the chicken breasts. Boil the chicken until it is cooked all the way through and then set aside to cool. Once it is cool enough to touch you will want to shred it all into small thin pieces.
Make the filling:
Mix the chicken, the crumbled queso blanco cheese and 3/4 of the shredded cheddar together in a bowl. Add a little salt and pepper to taste as you go.
Assembling the peppers:
Lay the peppers out on a baking sheet or large plate. Make a slit long ways down the middle of the pepper (making sure not to go through the other side). Fold the pepper open and spoon a couple of large spoonfuls of the filling onto one half and then fold the other half of the pepper over to cover it. You want to try and evenly split the filling among the 4 peppers. (Note: The peppers may split a little bit when handling them. Don’t worry, you didn’t ruin anything. This can happen and you will just need to be a little more careful while picking them up to cook).
Prep the onion and jalapenos:
Cut the onions and jalapenos into long thin slices (removing the seeds and white membrane from the jalapenos first). In a large ziplock bag add a quarter of the flour and then add the peppers and onions. Toss them to get them covered in a nice thin coating of the flour.
Cooking the crispy pepper and onion strings:
Add two tablespoons of olive oil to a non stick pan and heat to medium high heat. You can tell when the oil is ready by dropping a pinch of flour into the oil. If it starts to sizzle you are good to go. If it sinks to the bottom and doesn’t do anything then you need to let it heat up a couple more minutes. Add the peppers and onions to the oil and let sizzle for about three to four minutes on one side. Be sure to add a little salt and pepper to taste. Now stir them and cook on the other side for another 3 to 4 minutes. You want them to get crispy and golden brown. When they are done, place them on a paper towel lined plate to drain and set aside while you cook the stuffed peppers.
Cooking the stuffed peppers:
This is where I like to make an assembly line on the counter next to the stove. Get a large plate and pour the rest of the all purpose flour onto it. In a large pan heat about three tablespoons of olive oil to medium high heat. Using your wide spatula gently slide it under a pepper and pick it up and place it onto the flour. Gently turn it over to cover both sides and then pick it up with the spatula and gently place it into the hot oil. Do this for all four peppers.
Cook on one side for about 4 minutes and then turn over and do the same for the other side. Salt and pepper to taste on both sides.
When they are done place them on a paper towel lined plate to drain any excess oil.
Plate your food:
On a plate you will first want to place a pepper in the middle of the plate. Now add a little bit of the the shredded cheddar that we set aside on top. Then add a nice portion of the crispy onion and jalapeno strings to the top of that. Add a couple of spoonfuls of the salsa to the sides and you are ready to go.
I know that this seems like a lot of steps but it is really pretty easy to do once you get started and I am sure that you will be happy with how it turns out in the end. I hope you enjoy this one. Don’t forget to stop back next week for another great recipe.
Thanks for reading,