Ever since I moved to New York City, I have a found a new appreciation of all foods Mexican. My first year in the city I worked at a small Mexican restaurant in the West Village (Mexicana Mama) where we served a killer Chili Relleno pepper over rice and beans. That same year I was living in Brooklyn and had a neighborhood hot spot (Chavellas) that served an even better Poblano Pepper Torta. My best friend from Syracuse, who I introduced to Chavellas last winter, recently came down so we had to make the pilgrimage over the BK for old times sake. On the hour and a half train ride back to Hoboken, I knew I had to figure out a way to fit some poblanos into my cooking repertoire.
- 2 poblano peppers
- 2 teaspoons olive oil, plus more for the peppers
- ¾ cup red quinoa
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- ½ cup cooked corn, thawed if frozen
- ½ cup chopped bell peppers
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons cotija (or similar Mexican) cheese
- Chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
- Plain, 0% fat Greek yogurt (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and place an oven rack in the second from the top position.
Rub poblanos with olive oil and place in a well seasoned cast iron skillet or oiled oven safe baking dish. Broil until the skin of the pepper is blistered and beginning to brown, 5-10 minutes per side. Remove the peppers from the oven and place them in a bowl. Cover the top tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes.
While the peppers are broiling, place quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold water for 2 minutes. In a medium sized pot, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the quinoa and toast, stirring, for 1 minute. Add 1½ cup water. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to medium low. Allow the quinoa to cook undisturbed until all of the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the quinoa to sit, covered, another 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions, bell peppers, corn, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until softened and just beginning to brown, 5-7 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine quinoa, onions, garlic, corn, bell peppers, and salt and pepper to taste.
Remove the peppers from the bowl and remove skins. They should peel off easily, but don't worry about getting every last bit off. Carefully cut each pepper in half and remove the seeds. Arrange peppers cut side up in the same dish you broiled them in. Fill them evenly with the quinoa mixture and sprinkle with the cotija cheese.
Bake the stuffed peppers in the oven until heated through, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and drizzle with yogurt if desired and serve. Served here with a slice of avocado and Trader Joe's salsa. Add a dab of Greek yogurt to take the edge off a little if it's too spicy.