I have accepted that summer is over. I already pulled out my heavy coats and wore an ear warmer yesterday while digging up potatoes on my friend’s farm. Even though it’s cold out, it’s still harvest time so I used all of our vegetables to make this dish
Usually, chile rellenos are stuffed with cheese and meat (delicious). These chiles are completely vegetarian and much lighter than any chile relleno you have met in your past.
It’s a little more time consuming than most things I make, but since it’s getting colder out now is the time to make more complex or longer cooking dishes. Braises, stews, casseroles, soups, etc.
You can literally throw any vegetable in this chile and if you want more protein, beans would be a welcome addition. This is simply a starting point and it’s only limited by the amount of vegetables you want to stuff into that pepper (and your imagination).
First step, I roasted the poblano peppers on the stove top. There are multiple ways to roast peppers. You can read more about the three different methods (stove top, oven or grill) on my other post Raw Corn Salad with Avocado and Roasted Peppers.
After the peppers steam and are cool enough to handle you can peel the skin off. You want to make a slit down the pepper lengthwise and then remove the seeds. I like to leave the stem on top of the pepper intact if possible. It’s just so cute looking!
Next you want to sauté your veggies. It’s very important to only partially cook the vegetables because you will be cooking them twice. Once in the pan, the second time in the oven. You want the veggies to still have a bite after they have been baked or else you end up eating mush.
The variety of veggies you choose to stuff in your pepper is totally up to you. Seriously! Anything you have on hand or see in the store or market can be stuffed into the chile.
The sauce is a simple blend of onions, tomatoes and roasted peppers. I add some flour in the beginning because it helps thicken the sauce when I add the stock. If you want your sauce to be thinner or if you are gluten-free then skip the flour altogether. Another note is I add chicken stock as the liquid for my sauce. If you are vegetarian you can use vegetable stock or simply use water. I flavor the sauce with cumin, Mexican oregano and ground chipotle pepper powder. The spices you add can range anywhere from coriander, chili powder, cayenne pepper, paprika, ancho chile powder, chile de arbol powder, crushed red pepper flakes, etc. You could even add some canned chipotle en adobo. I opted to go with a milder tasting sauce because the poblano peppers can be pretty spicy and I added a red jalapeño to the sautéed vegetables.
Once the poblanos are stuffed with the veggies and the sauce is finished it only takes about 20 minutes to finish the dish. It is a very light version of chile relleno and can serve as a meatless main dish or a hefty side dish.
I hope this dish will inspire you to use the last of the summer produce or mix it up with the new fall veggies that are in store.
- 4 large poblano peppers, roasted and peeled
- 2 tsp olive oil, divided
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced
- 2 large red bell pepper, one diced and the other roasted and sliced
- 1 small jalapeño, sliced
- 5 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 2 small zucchini, diced (about 1.5 cups)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 2 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp flour
- 3 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
- 1 tbsp ground cumin, divided
- 1 tsp Mexican oregano
- 2 tsp ground chipotle chile
- 2 oz queso fresco, crumbled
- 2 oz Monterey Jack, shredded
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- First roast the poblano peppers. Put them in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap and allow them to steam.
- Once they are cool enough to handle, peel the black skin from the pepper. Cut a slit down on the middle of the pepper lengthwuse on one side. Remove the seeds. Set aside the peppers.
- In a large sauté pan, heat 1 tsp of olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the scallions and sauté for 2 minutes. Then add the bell peppers and jalapeño and sauté for 5 minutes. Next add the mushrooms and sauté for another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. If the pan gets dry at any point add ¼ cup of water at a time and scrap the bottom of the pan and allow the water to evaporate
- Last add the zucchini and minced garlic. Sauté until zucchini is tender. Season with salt and pepper and 1 tsp of cumin. Add the chopped cilantro. Set the veggies aside to cool completely.
- In a separate small saucepot heat 1 tsp of olive oil over medium heat. First add the sliced onion and cook until very soft, about 10 minutes.
- Next add the roasted peppers and tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes soften.
- Add 1 tbsp of flour and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Slowly whisk in the chicken stock and making sure there are no clumps of flour.
- Bring the sauce to a simmer and let it cook for 10-15 minutes until the sauce is slightly thick and the vegetables are very soft.
- Add 2 tsp of cumin, Mexican oregano and ground chipotle chile.
- Cook for 1 minute.
- Transfer sauce into a blender or food processor and then process until smooth. (You could also use an immersion blender.)
- Combine sautéed vegetables and 1 oz of queso fresco and 1 oz of Monterey Jack cheese. Mix together.
- Stuff the 4 poblano peppers evenly with the vegetable mixture.
- Pour the sauce into a rectangular baking dish.
- Next lay the 4 stuffed poblano peppers gently in the sauce.
- Top with remaining queso fresco and Monterey Jack cheese.
- Put in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted and slightly brown.