Simple Stuffed Poblanos and Homemade Salsa Verde

I have never cared for Mexican food. After moving to Dallas, Texas, I discovered that I really do LOVE authentic Mexican food. It was the gloppy, heavy, carb-laden Tex-Mex I have never been crazy about. I owe this marvelous insight to two local restaurants which have introduced me to the flavorific joy of authentic Mexican cuisine. After ordering my favorite stuffed poblanos for the umpteenth time (Thank you, Mextopia!), I decided to try and replicate it at home. Yes, I know I can cook, but I was shocked at how easy and fantastically delicious this was to make! You are going to LOVE the simple, EASY poblano-awesomeness!

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Stuffed Poblanos Serves 4
Heat Level: Mild to Moderate (You can control the heat by choosing the amount of spices)

4 large fresh poblano peppers
2 cups leftover chicken, shredded OR
2 chicken breasts, poached and chopped into small pieces (Be sure to save the cooking broth)
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
1 to 2 jalapeno peppers, cleaned out and finely diced (Go easy on the amount if you are allergic to heat)
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 to 3 teaspoons ground cumin (Start with one teaspoon if you are afraid of the heat)
4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (Can substitute Jack, Mozzarella, or a bagged Mexican cheese blend)
1 18-ounce jar green sauce (tomatillo sauce) OR use recipe at end of page to make your own
1 small can fire-roasted green chilies (optional)

To serve:
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Corn tortillas, warmed
More salsa!

Turn on the oven to 400 degrees. Lay a piece of aluminum foil on the top rack. Wash the poblanos under running water being sure to scrub any dirt out of the area where the stem attaches to the pepper. Lay the whole poblanos on the aluminum foil in the oven and set the timer for 10 minutes. The idea is to cook the peppers so they are pliable but not falling apart. Take them out when they are done (about 10 to 15 minutes) and let them cool. After the peppers are cool enough to handle, grab the stem end and using a paring knife, slit each pepper down the length and twisting the stem (and perhaps with the assistance of the paring knife), pull out the stem and the seeds which attach directly below the stem. Not all the seeds will come out in one twist. Just shake the pepper and get out the majority of the seeds. Place the prepped peppers into a large baking dish which has had the bottom lightly greased with olive oil.

Turn the oven down to 350 degrees.

If you do not have any leftover chicken, poach two large chicken breasts in chicken broth. There is no need to season the chicken breasts. Simmer gently over a medium low flame for 15 minutes or until the juices run clear when cutting into the center of the meat. Shred the meat with a sharp knife on a cutting board.

While the chicken breasts are poaching, dice the onion, jalapenos and red bell pepper. Place a large heavy skillet (cast iron is perfect) over a medium-high flame and heat. When the skillet is hot, pour a tablespoon of olive oil into the skillet and swirl around. Add the chopped veggies and saute till soft and starting to gently brown. Add the chopped/shredded chicken, the cumin (1 to 3 teaspoons), and one cup of the tomatillo sauce and the canned green chilies if using. Heat gently until the flavors have started to meld, about 10 minutes, adding more tomatillo sauce if necessary. Turn off the flame and sprinkle with half of the shredded cheese, stirring to combine. Spoon the mixture into the open cavity of each poblano pepper. Top each pepper with additional tomatillo sauce and the remaining shredded cheese. Place into the oven to heat thoroughly and melt the cheese, approximately 15 minutes.

Serve the stuffed peppers with chopped cilantro, salsa and warmed corn tortillas. I usually serve the peppers with whole organic pinto beans that were combined with a can of Hatch tomatoes and Chilies. It sounds spicy but it’s actually quite mild. Why Hatch? They don’t use plastic-lined cans. If you like, throw a teaspoon of cumin into the pinto beans while they are cooking on the stove for a little extra kick.


Extremely Easy Tomatillo Sauce
(Otherwise known as Green Sauce or Salsa Verde)

3 pounds fresh tomatillos (husk tomatoes)
1 yellow onion, chopped into 1″ chunks
3 habanero or jalapeno peppers, seeds and veins removed
Juice of one lime
1/2 cup cilantro

Tomatillos are a small round green fruit related to tomatoes and sometimes referred to as “husk tomatoes” due to the papery husk that envelopes each fruit. Pick tomatillos that are firm and have no squishy spots. The brighter the green, the more citrusy the tomatillo flavor will be. Tomatillos are a good source of Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Niacin, Potassium and Manganese. (Read More http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/3020/2)

Turn the oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking dish or cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray with olive oil to prevent sticking.

Peel the papery husk off each tomatillo and wash under running water to remove the sticky residue found on the tomatillos. Quarter the tomatillos and put into the prepared baking dish. Add in the onion chunks and diced jalapeno peppers. Bake in the hot oven for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. You will know the tomatillos are done as they will have changed color and become softer. Expect to see some browning of the tomatillos and onions.

When the veggies are starting to get soft, throw ALL of them into a blender along with the cilantro and line juice and puree to desired consistency. That’s it! Serve warm or cold. Refrigerate any leftovers.

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