The other day I got lucky and scored a bag of poblano peppers, those delicate peppers used in many Southwestern dishes that look similar to bell peppers but pack a bigger punch.
Delicate, with a bigger punch? The flesh of the smaller poblano is thinner than a bell pepper. Their heat is relatively mild when cooked, especially for tastebuds used to spicy Southwestern cuisine, and the green color isn't as washed out as a bell pepper, making poblano peppers a refined and sophisticated addition to your pepper wardrobe.
They're perfect for stuffing, bigger than jalapenos (that make excellent poppers) yet the thinner flesh means no precooking is required. (They're also especially delicious roasted until charred, which will be their fate next time I come across some.)
This recipe is a version of a Martha Stewart stuffed poblano recipe, with a vegan twist. I would have used my old standby, vegan cream cheese, but mine had turned to a solid frozen block in my fridge—guess I need to turn the settings down. I used silken tofu instead, which worked pretty well, and is shelf stable, so no need to refrigerate the box. The recipe also calls for cornmeal, but if you have masa harina cornmeal, use that for a more authentic Southwestern taste.
I was also pretty generous with the cilantro/coriander, which I understand turns some people into frothing zombies. If this is not your thing, you're welcome to omit.
Because a refined and sophisticated pepper like the poblano doesn't want you foaming at the mouth when you eat it.
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2 cups passata (or tomato puree)
2 canned chipotle chiles (if using dried, rehydrate first)
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup cilantro/coriander leaves
Combine all sauce ingredients in a food processor and blend. Set aside.
4 - 6 poblano peppers (I used 6 relatively small ones)
1 can black beans (approximately 2 cups), rinsed
1/2 cup cornmeal or polenta (see notes)
6 ounces silken tofu OR soy cream cheese
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
optional: chopped coriander/cilantro leaves
Cut the poblanos in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and membranes.
Combine the black beans, cornmeal, tofu/cream cheese, nutritional yeast, cumin, garlic powder, and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Stir in 2 tablespoons water to make a moist mixture.
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a baking dish, pour all but 1/2 cup of the tomato mixture. Stuff the poblanos with the black bean mixture. (If your peppers are small you’ll have to squeeze the ends open to adequately stuff the inside cavity.)
Lay each pepper in the dish on top of the tomato mixture, and spoon a small amount of the tomato mixture over each poblano.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover, and if desired, sprinkle grated cheese on top. Bake another 10 minutes uncovered, until cheese is melted.
Remove from oven and serve with coriander/cilantro leaves.
Notes on ingredients: Passata is sieved tomato puree, usually sold in jars. Poblano peppers look like small green bell peppers, but they’re hotter, though not as spicy as jalapenos. If you have masa harina cornmeal, use that instead for a more authentic Southwestern taste. Nutritional yeast is found in health food stores or at goodnessdirect.co.uk. Use whichever vegan cheese you prefer.