School starts here tomorrow and the pumpkins are starting ripen in the garden. But it isn’t the pile of freshly sharpened pencils and boxes of crayons on the kitchen table or the fall crop of broccoli I just planted in the garden that tell me autumn is just around the corner. Here in New Mexico, the first sign that fall is approaching is the smell of roasting chiles in the air.
Over the weekend it happened once again, just like it does every year, but every time I feel pleasantly surprised. I stopped by the grocery store for carton of milk and before I’d even set foot in the parking lot I could smell that spicy, smoky chile aroma filling the warm August air. The chiles have been harvested and it’s time to start roasting. Yes, summer is ending.
I left the grocery store with my milk plus a cart full of green chiles and poblano peppers. Tis the season.
These Stuffed Poblano Peppers are crazy good. A healthy filling of red quinoa, rice, black beans and spinach. Fresh cilantro for a burst of flavor, drenched in enchilada sauce. Top it all with cheese and more cheese and eat it in a roasted, spicy poblano pepper. It’s so good. No really, So Good!
So school starts tomorrow and this year it includes my sweet baby girl too. Adelaide is going to kindergarten! Tomorrow I’m sure I’ll be blubbering like a big grown up baby about it, but today I’m distracting myself with delicious food. These stuffed poblano peppers are up to the job, and as long as I use the mild enchilada sauce, I can talk Adelaide into joining me. Kindergarten for my baby. I don’t even remember how we got here!
These cook up so easily and definitely qualify for an easy weeknight meal. That being said, they taste as good as any Mexican restaurant I’ve ever eaten at, which further qualifies them as really good for a nice weekend dinner with guests. Good, cheesy, spicy stuff.
And one quick, but important note: you should probably go ahead and use gloves when you prepare those peppers. I know this. Still, I didn’t have any gloves readily available and I thought no big deal. Sure, no big deal if you want to spend the next 10 + hours with fire hands, and fire eyes, and fire lips, and fire elbow, and fire knee and anywhere else you accidentally touch before you realize that you are spreading the devil’s own spicy fire torture oil all over your body. Keep that in mind. Okay then, that’s all.
- 5 poblano peppers
- olive oil
- ½ cup uncooked rice
- ½ cup uncooked red quinoa, rinsed
- 1½ cups red chile enchilada sauce
- ½ cup water (plus more as needed)
- 1 cup packed baby spinach, coarsely chopped
- 1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- ⅓ cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
- 1 to 2 cups shredded Mexican blend of cheeses
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a medium sauce pan, combine the rice, quinoa, water, and enchilada sauce. Over medium heat, bring to a simmer (don't boil) then immediately reduce heat to lowest setting and cook covered until rice and quinoa are tender and liquid is absorbed. Check often and stir occasionally to keep the enchilada sauce from floating to the top. Because the enchilada sauce is thicker than water, you may need to add a little bit more water as it cooks. Keep an eye on it. Rice and quinoa should be done in about 30 minutes.
- Prepare the peppers (use gloves) by cutting them in half lengthwise, scrape out the ribs and seeds. Place cut side down on a large baking sheet. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Place in oven and broil for 4 to 6 minutes, or until peppers begin to soften and blister. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Carefully turn the cut halves back over to be stuffed.
- When the rice mixture is ready, stir in the spinach, black beans, and cilantro. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Fill each pepper half with this mixture, then top with the cheese. Return stuffed peppers to oven and cook for about 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly and filling is hot. Serve with additional enchilada sauce, or your favorite salsa and toppings.