Tag Archives: poblano peppers

Going Green…Chili Style!

Just when I thought I had used up all my shredded pork, a gift came in the form of a gallon bag of shredded smoked pork from my uncle.  Not one to look a gift pig in the mouth, I divided it into a few containers and stuck it in the freezer to be doled out to my family at a later date.  Of course I had to cook some of it right away.  And it tastes amazing!  If you aren’t lucky enough to have people giving you pork, you can use leftovers from my basic pork roast recipe, or simply throw in a small pork roast or some chops.  Since this is a crock pot recipe they will cook up just fine over the course of the day.

When I went to school in Denver, I discovered the best Mexican food I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating.  The general thinking there is to smother just about everything in green chili.  And I am okay with that!  And if you don’t feel like eating it over the top of a burrito, a nice bowl of it works just fine.  As opposed to most other places I’ve lived, in that style of cooking the green sauce is more spicy; the red sauce is the mild stuff.  I didn’t have a recipe for green chili, so I just winged it and was very pleased with the results!  Since we were planning to eat this as a soup/stew, I made this version chunkier than I remember, and added some black beans.  Not that that will stop me from using the leftovers to smother something – like a breakfast burrito!  Serve with rice and warm tortillas.

That's what I'm talkin' about!

That’s what I’m talkin’ about!

Pork Green Chili

5-6 Anaheim Chiles
3-4 Poblano or Padilla Peppers
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or minced
3-4 cups shredded or chopped pork*
1 onion, diced
1 1/2 pounds tomatillos, husked and quartered
4 cups chicken broth
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
Salt to taste
2-3 tsp. ground cumin
Rice & tortillas for serving if desired

Looking yummy already!  Tomatillos and peppers.

Looking yummy already! Tomatillos and peppers.

Seed peppers.  You can do this to the small ones by cutting of the top, turning upside down and rolling between your hands or shaking out the seeds.  Or you can cut them in half and remove the seeds that way.

All ready to roast.

All ready to roast.

Lay out on a baking sheet and broil for 4-5 minutes per side until skin is blackened.

Leave them in there until the skin is nice and black.  It will peel right off once it is cool.

Leave them in there until the skin is nice and black. It will peel right off once it is cool.

Place in a paper or plastic bag to steam and cool.  When cool enough to handle, remove skins and coarsely chop peppers.

Add all ingredients to crock pot.  Turn on high for a 2-3 hours, then turn down to low and cook until dinner time.  Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

* If you don’t have a bunch of leftover shredded pork in your freezer, feel free to use a small pork roast, or pork chops.  Just put the meat on the bottom of the crock pot and pile everything else on top.  At the end of the day, take a couple of forks and pull the meat apart into shreds or chunks and remove any bones before serving.

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3 Pepper Sauté

When I was young I didn’t like any peppers at all.  Strange that now I can’t seem to get enough of them, especially this time of year.  My favorites are the sweet red, yellow and orange ones, but I’ll eat any of them that come my way.  The poblanos in this add a little kick and more complex flavor, but if you don’t want that, just use regular green peppers as a substitute.

This is a simple recipe that I usually make as a side dish for tacos, or chicken or well…whatever.  It also works great in a bowl by itself, as a burrito filling, or folded into an omelet for breakfast the next day.

3 Pepper Sauté


3 Pepper Sauté

1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup sliced red onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Poblano peppers, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1-2 tbsp. lime juice
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
Salt & pepper

Sauté onions, garlic and peppers in olive oil until the veggies are tender.  Add corn, beans, lime juice and seasonings and mix well.  Stir and cook a couple of minutes until it’s all heated through.  Serve hot or cold.




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The Chile Relleno Experiment

While I was living in Denver, Colorado, I learned to love Mexican food.  My favorite place to eat was Benny’s Cantina.  A tiny hole in the wall, you usually had to stand in line to get a table and it was worth every minute of the wait.  They tended to smother everything in wonderfully spicy green chili that was to die for (a bucket list recipe if ever there was one!).  Aside from that, they made the best chile rellenos I have ever tasted.  You had to go early if you wanted them because they almost always ran out.  To this day I have never found a restaurant that can make them as well – and believe me, I have tried.

Because of this phenomenal dish, and every other restaurant’s utter failure to measure up, I’ve been a little afraid to try to make these.  After all, if it was easy, everybody would do it well, right?

So…armed with a couple of recipes for inspiration and a few ideas of my own, I set out to tackle the chile relleno monster.  First let me say, there are probably some tricks to making these that I don’t know.  I did it, and they turned out well, but I’m not sure I accomplished this with my usual grace, and I managed to totally trash my kitchen in the process.  But, they were tasty, and I have a few ideas for next time!  Oh yes, there will be a next time! Until then, Benny’s still reigns supreme.

Chile Rellenos and Spanish Rice

Chile Rellenos

8 poblano chiles
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 ball of Queso fresco or mozzarella cheese, cut into strips
1 cup flour (plus more for dredging)
1/2 cup masa flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cumin
12 oz. beer
1 beaten egg

Salsa (click here for my recipe or use your favorite)

Preheat the broiler.  Place all the peppers on a cookie sheet and put under the broiler.  Broil until black on both sides.  Put in a paper or plastic bag to steam and cool.  When they are cool, peel off the skin.  Make a slit and carefully remove the seeds.  Try not to mangle the pepper too much in the process.  Saute the mushrooms a bit in a little olive oil.  Stuff each pepper with some cheese and a few mushrooms.  Thread skewer or long toothpick through opening to “sew” shut.

Making Chile Rellenos

In a bowl, mix flour, masa, baking powder, cumin, salt and beer.  Whisk until smooth.  Now here’s where (for me) it got a little messy.  This could have something to do with my kitchen configuration or just me being messy.  In a skillet or pot heat canola oil for frying.  I used a frying pan so I just used about an inch of oil, and flipped the peppers to do the other side.  If you use a deeper pan, you won’t have to flip.  Dip stuffed pepper into beaten egg and dredge in flour (this is supposed to seal up any little tears in the pepper – yeah right).  Then carefully dip into beer batter.  If your pepper is falling apart, you might have to kind of coat it with your fingers instead of dipping.  Ease it into the hot oil.  Just do a few peppers at a time.  Fry until golden brown on both sides (flipping if necessary to cook both sides).  Drain on paper towels.

This is what mine looked like when they were done. If you deep fry rather than pan-fry, they probably won’t be as flat, but even flattened it was delicious!

Top with salsa or green chile and serve hot.  I served mine with my quickie version of spanish rice and chips.

Spanish Rice

1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups rice
1 can crushed tomatoes (large or small can depending on how tomatoey you like it)
2-3 cups of chicken broth
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. pepper

Saute onion and garlic in a little olive oil.  Add rice and continue to cook and stir for a minute or two.  Put tomatoes in a large measuring cup and add chicken broth until you have 4 cups total.  Add to pan with rice and onions.  Add seasonings.  Bring to a boil.  Turn down, cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.  Fluff with fork before serving.

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Poblano Mac & Cheese

When the kids have birthdays I usually let them choose the menu.  For Claire’s birthday, she asked for Mac & Cheese.  But not from any blue box.  You all know the blue box I’m talking about.  It’s the guilty pleasure box.  It’s one of those things we shouldn’t like, because it’s kind of gross, but for some inexplicable reason, we get the occasional craving for it.

This is easily THE BEST macaroni and cheese I’ve ever had.  It’s gooey.  It’s cheesy.  The roasted peppers are wonderful and the hint of southwestern spices add just enough flavor to keep it from being boring, without overwhelming the basic cheesy factor that should be the star in mac & cheese.  If you don’t like peppers, you could leave them out, but I personally think you’re crazy if you do because they really add a lot of character and flavor.

Poblano Peppers

What is a Poblano pepper, you might ask?  They look sort of like green bell peppers, but they are darker in color and a bit longer in shape.  They are usually the peppers used for Chile Rellenos.  Wonderful for stuffing, roasting, or just chopping and eating.  They also make great fajitas.  Poblanos are not terribly spicy, though you do occasionally get one with a little kick.  Normally they are quite mild, but very flavorful, more so than the similar looking Anaheim pepper.  When Poblanos are red and dried, they are called Anchos.

This recipe doubles easily and can be made ahead up to the point where you pop it in the oven.  We served it with Harvest Salad and crusty bread.

Poblano Mac & Cheese

Poblano Mac & Cheese
(adapted from the Homesick Texan Cookbook)

2 Poblano chiles
8 oz. macaroni, or other small noodle (I used rotini)
4 cloves garlic
2 tbsp. flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp. mustard powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. lime zest
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Salt & pepper to taste
3 cups grated cheddar jack cheese (or all cheddar)

Roast chiles under broiler until they turn black on both sides.  Put in a bag and let cool.  Remove skin and seeds and chop.  Cook pasta.  Preheat the oven to 375˚.  Grease baking dish or spray with cooking spray.  Pour drained pasta into the dish.  In a sauce pan on medium low heat melt butter.  Add garlic and cook about 30 seconds.  Whisk in flour and cook 1 minute.  Whisk in milk and stir until slightly thickened.  Remove from heat and stir in mustard, cayenne, cumin, lime zest, cilantro and chiles.  Add salt & pepper.  Stir in 2 cups of cheese until melted and smooth.  Add a little more milk if it seems too thick.  Pour over pasta and toss to combine.  Top with remaining cup of cheese and sprinkle with some cilantro if desired.  Bake uncovered for 20 minutes.

Oh the cheesiness. Come to mama!



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