This recipe for stuffed poblano peppers is an adaptation of a recipe my mom used to make for us when we were younger. Now my mom is not a big fan of carbs, so her version does not use rice like mine does (sorry mom, I hope I didn’t ruin your recipe!). The poblanos are first roasted and peeled, then stuffed with a mixture of black beans, rice, onions, tomatoes and peppers and topped off with a “cheese” sauce (can you really call Velveeta cheese?). This is actually one of my all time favorite comfort foods, and yes, that means it ranks above mac and cheese, mashed potatoes and lasagna. And while amazing fresh out of the oven, these stuffed poblano peppers are even better left over (the boyfriend can vouch for that).
What is a Poblano Pepper?
The poblano pepper is generally a mild pepper, originating in Mexico. However, be warned, occasionally a fiery hot one sneaks in for a special surprise! Due to the firm flesh of the peppers, they are commonly stuffed with a variety of different ingredients; the most traditional preparation being chilis en nogado, one of Mexico’s most symbolic dishes, but also commonly used in chili rellenos, a battered, stuffed pepper, which have become very popular in the US. When smoked and dried, the poblano becomes a chipotle pepper (which are also used in this recipe). The skin of the pepper can be quite thick and waxy, which is why we roast and peel it. Plus roasting provides a slight smoky flavor that complements the other ingredients in this dish.
Let’s start by getting our oven preheated to 375 degrees. This recipe has 3 stages; preparing the peppers, making the stuffing, and preparing the sauce.
Preparing the Peppers:
Remove the stems and seeds from the peppers. Take a knife and cut a hole around the stem. You should then be able to pull the stem right out, with seeds intact.
Roast the peppers over an open flame. I use my stove because I am too lazy to start the grill (plus its cold out there). However, I understand not everyone has a gas stove, so the grill or broiler also work well. Once the skin is charred, remove from the flame, place in a plastic zip lock bag and seal. Let cool in the bag for about 20 minutes. Once cooled, gently peel off the charred skin. The steam in the plastic bag helps the skin to separate from the peppers, making them easier to peel. The roasted peppers will have a sweet, smokey, earthy flavor. My mom roasts them in batches and keeps them in the freezer for future use. If I had more freezer space, I would do the same (damn you weekday meal prep!).
To prepare the stuffing, combine all remaining ingredients in a bowl, except the milk, Velveeta and peppers. Mix well and add additional salt to taste if desired. Use a spoon to stuff each pepper with the mixture.
You will likely have stuffing left over. Freeze to use in the future, or cook in the pan alongside the peppers. I prefer the latter. You can also buy an extra pepper or two and stuff them. For me, I just like the extra carbs (sorry mom).
Preparing the Sauce:
To prepare the “cheese” sauce, melt the Velveeta in the milk , either in the microwave or in a saucepan, being careful not to burn. As I always have fat free milk in the fridge, this is what I use, but any kind of milk will work fine.
Pour the sauce over the stuffed poblano peppers. Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until bubbling. I usually bake for about 40 minutes because I like the cheese to get nice and brown.
Serve these stuffed poblano peppers with corn or flour tortillas. Me? I like to use Canasta uncooked flour tortillas. It is a great way to get fresh tortillas without having to make them from scratch. Just throw them in a skillet and lightly brown each side, and you’ve got yourself a fresh tortilla! I love these things. (If you purchase through the following link, I earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. The commission enables me to cover the expense of keeping this website running).