January 21, 2015

Chorizo-Stuffed Poblanos

It's definitely time for a Southwestern recipe given my recent trip to Arizona and the upcoming Superbowl in Phoenix. I wanted to cook something a little unique but still full of complex, spicy flavors. If you loved my bacon jalapeno poppers, you will want to make these as soon as you get the ingredients. They are a little bigger since I use poblanos instead of jalapenos, but you could easily switch to jalapenos instead, though it would make quite a few of them. The stuffing is meat and vegetables rather than cream cheese and bacon, which means these can be pretty filling and you can serve them as more of a meal if you so desire. They're also baked in a spicy tomato sauce and covered in cheese and baked until bubbly, so it's easier to cook them for the proper time without burning them.

I start the filling by browning some chorizo. There's two types: Mexican and Spanish. Spanish is dried and cured, so it will hold its shape when sliced and doesn't need to be cooked. I usually prefer Mexican since it crumbles when it cooks and releases lots of flavorful fat that I can cook other ingredients in. In this recipe, I remove the chorizo from the pan but leave the fat so that the meat doesn't burn.

I then add some diced onions, which soak up the flavor better than the other vegetables. After those are tender, I stir in some corn, black beans, and tomatoes. Right now, I'd recommend sticking to canned vegetables since they aren't really in season, but if you make these again in the summer, fresh corn and tomatoes would be delicious. I only cook them for a few minutes since it all bakes in the peppers for a long time, but I use a slotted spoon to remove the filling from the pan so that the sauce can cook in the drippings, which are packed with flavor from the chorizo and, of course, the veggies. Once it cools down, I stir in some of the cheese to help hold everything together and add that gooeyness factor that all good appetizers should have.

The sauce is incredibly easy to make, and you can use it on quesadillas, nachos, or anything else you can think of.  All you have to do is whisk some crushed tomatoes, canned green chiles, and a bunch of spices together in the drippings from the filling. You can adjust the amounts of the spices to your liking and how spicy you want the dish to be. The filling is fairly mild (depending on how hot the chorizo is), and poblanos aren't particularly spicy (for reference, ancho chiles are just dried poblanos).

To assemble the dish, just cut the tops off of the poblanos and remove the seeds; make sure you keep the top with its matching pepper. Pack in a few spoonfuls of filling so that it just reaches where you cut the top off, then use two toothpicks to anchor the top of the pepper back on. I soak my toothpicks in water for at least 30 minutes or so to prevent them from burning, but you do have to make sure to remove them or warn everyone about them so nobody accidentally eats one. Anyway, once all the peppers are stuffed and covered, arrange them snugly in a deep baking dish and pour the sauce on top. Bake it until the peppers are almost tender and the sauce is bubbly, then sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and bake until the peppers are fully cooked and the cheese is golden and gooey. You can probably guess that these get a little messy, but it's a great dish for Super Bowl festivities and regular meals.

10-12 Poblanos
1 lb Chorizo
1 Onion, Diced
1 15 oz Can Corn, Drained & Rinsed
1 15 oz Can Black Beans, Drained & Rinsed
2 Plum Tomatoes, Diced
1 28 oz Can Crushed Tomatoes
1 4 oz Can Diced Green Chiles
1 tsp Chili Powder
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Onion Powder
1/2 tsp Cayenne
1/2 tsp Cumin
2 Cups Shredded Monterrey Jack Cheese

Heat oven to 375F and grease a large, deep baking pan, at least 13x9". Soak 20-24 toothpicks in some water.

Cut the tops off the poblanos and remove the seeds. Set aside the peppers and their tops.

Heat some oil in a skillet and cook the chorizo until browned, crumbly, and cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon.

Cook the onions in the chorizo drippings until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the corn, black beans, and diced tomatoes and cook for 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into a bowl and set aside. Stir in 1 cup of cheese when cool.

In the same pan, whisk the crushed tomatoes, green chiles, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, cumin, and some salt and pepper together.

Stuff each pepper with some of the chorizo and vegetable filling. Anchor the tops on with two toothpicks and place in the prepared pan. Repeat with the remaining peppers and pour the tomato sauce on top. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until bubbly, top with the remaining cheese, and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is browned and the peppers are tender.

Makes 10-12
Recipe Adapted from Nutmeg Nanny

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