Pepper Heaven on Earth
I grew up with stuffed green bell peppers, since my parents grew them in a garden almost every year. My mom would use a ground beef and rice mixture and I got to be pretty proficient with that dish. I developed a recipe for those and it can be found by clicking this link to another edition of Weekday Rambler. The preparation of the Poblano pepper that requires roasting and removing the skin before cooking had remained a mystery to me, but was a technique I was eager to learn.
|roasting over flame|
|after roasting, let it set|
The next step is to peel away the skin. This is faster if you do it with a stream of water running to help "rinse" away the tiny pieces that may get stuck to the surface. Patti suggested the technique of using "all of your fingers to massage the skin from the pepper. I had a tendency to scrape and that wasn't working well.
The peppers can be roasted ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to fill and bake.
Patti's words of: "be patient, don't rush the process, be gentle with the peppers and don't burn your hand" came to me the entire time I was preparing the vegetables for the delicious shrimp stuffing I was planning to use. I found a recipe on the Epicurious website and I loosely followed it with a few changes to suit ingredients I had in my kitchen and to our tastes. Here's what I came up with for the stuffing.
2 T. melted butter
1/2 c. (or so) chopped Vidalia onion
1 T. minced garlic (from a jar if you don't have fresh)
1/4 c. (or so) chopped parsley (or cilantro)
1/2 c. chopped red bell pepper
1/2 c. goat cheese (natural, not flavored)
1/4 c. Monterrey Jack cheese cut in chunks
1/2 lb. boiled shrimp, peeled and coarsely chopped)
Salt and pepper to taste
Saute the onion, garlic, cilantro, red bell pepper in the butter until tender. Remove from heat and stir in goat cheese, shrimp and seasonings. Spoon the filling into the cavities of the prepared Poblano peppers. Place the peppers in a baking dish sprayed with a nonstick coating and bake uncovered for about 20 minutes or until the filling is hot. This makes four peppers and serves two generously.
Now the finishing touch is the Red Bell Pepper Sauce that I adapted from the Epicurious recipe found at the link given above. I altered the recipe by leaving out the step of roasting the red bell peppers and by using a scant handful of pickled jalapeño peppers instead of a fresh serrano pepper to add "heat" to the sauce. I also used my food processor instead of my blender. It occurred to me that I could have used an immersion blended to puree the sauce after the broth was added.
1 T. olive oil
2 T. (or so) chopped vidalia onion
1 tsp. minced garlic
2 red bell peppers, coarsely chopped
1/4 c. pickled jalapeño pepper slices
1 chicken bullion cube dissolved in boiling water
Saute vegetables in the olive oil until tender. Add the chicken bullion mixture and puree in a blender, food processor or with an immersion blender. Return to pan to keep warm until ready to serve
Jazzmen rice garnished with basil from our garden. I had some Monterrey Jack cheese on hand, so I melted a little with additional chicken broth for a topping before serving.
The entire process took about 3 hours, so don't attempt this on a day when you are in a hurry for a quick meal. I do recommend that you try it as it will broaden your culinary horizons and increase your appreciation for Mexican cooking. Thank you, Patti, for all of your help! I am more confident now and plan to try other fillings. Let's see.....ground beef, chorizo, rice and cheese....the possibilities are endless.