So what do you do when you have too many (if that’s possible) poblano peppers and refried beans in your refrigerator? You make bean stuffed peppers! Sometimes when we go grocery shopping I think I forget that we only need food for two. Thankfully hubby and I are pretty good about not wasting food. I’m also lucky because my husband never complains about vegan, vegetarian or really any other type of meal I serve him…Well, as long at it’s not mostaccioli pasta. Lol!
If you are familiar with the traditional Mexican chiles rellenos (stuffed peppers) you know that it’s a relatively long prepping process that involves charring, peeling and seeding the poblanos. Then one must stuff with cheese, seal the pepper with toothpicks, dredge in flour and dip into an egg batter that takes a long time to beat into fluffy peeks, then dipped into hot oil for frying. It’s hard work, and let’s not even get started on the different stuffings or versions (like chiles en nogada) that can take even longer to prepare. Most days I would say that the wait and work are well worth it, but some days I prefer to take the short cut if possible. That’s exactly what I did with these stuffed poblanos.
The most laborious part of this recipe is charring and cleaning the poblano peppers. As long as you have refried beans ready made, then the only other element to prepare is the salsa — which is quite simple. This isn’t a 30 minute meal but it can be on your table in just under one hour if you prepare well. Okay, let’s get started.
- about 2 cups of mashed (refried) pinto beans
- 4 medium poblano pepper
- 2 dried ancho chilies
- 2 dried guajillo chiles
- 1 medium roma tomato
- half a very small piece of onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- boiling liquid, see step 3
- pinch of ground cloves
- large pinch of sea salt
- 2 leaves of fresh epazote torn into 4 pieces, optional
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or oil of choice
- Make sure you have the mashed (refried) pinto beans ready to go and kept warm. If you would like to make them from scratch please see my recipe. First we will start preparing the sauce: place the dried peppers, tomato, onion and garlic in a pot of water and allow to simmer until everything is soft. This will take about 10-15 minutes. While you’re waiting you can get started on charring the poblano peppers.
- Over an open flame char the 4 poblano peppers evenly on all sides. You could also do this under the broiler setting in your open, just make sure to leave enough space between the peppers and flip over once to evenly char. The third way to do the charing is on a comal or griddle or pan. While you are charring the peppers make sure to keep and eye on the pot or sauce ingredients, if they have soften turn heat off and set aside to cool. Continue with the charing the poblano peppers. Make sure that they are not only charred evenly, but also soft throughout. Once you have charred the poblanos place them on a plate and cover with plastic kitchen wrap to allow them to sweat and so that the skin will come off easily. Leave them for about 5-8 minutes. Once the peppers have cooled and you can handle them, use a butter knife or your fingers to scrape/peel away all the charred skin on the outside of the peppers. Then make a small incision along the length of each pepper and scoop out the seeds and vein in each poblano, discard them. Set aside.
- Now we can finish the sauce. Gently scoop out the tomato from the pot and remove the skin from it, then place it in the blender. Next, scoop out the garlic and onions and add them to the blender too. Now remove the peppers from the boiled liquid and place on a cutting board, pull away the stem and remove the seeds then add the boiled peppers to the blender. Next add the pinch of ground cloves, sea salt and epazote leaves, if using, to the blender. Blend for a minute or two to break up the ingredients then add ⅓ cup of the boiling liquid and continue to blend until you have a smooth sauce. Heat the olive oil and once hot pour in the salsa, careful as it might splash up. Cook for 5 minutes, taste and adjust salt if necessary.
- Ladle some sauce onto each plate. Now we will stuff and plate the peppers. Scoop warm mash/refried beans into each pepper cavity then place on top of sauce on each plate. If desired, drizzle more sauce over each pepper. Serve with corn tortillas and Mexican rice if desired.
- Both Ancho and Guajillo peppers are mild, but again on some occasions Guajillos can be surprisingly mildly spicy.
For a meal made of very simple and humble ingredients, this was incredibly good! I’ve said it time and time again: You don’t need fancy ingredients to create a gourmet meal. The sauce was a tiny bit spicy, the cloves and hints of epazote added another layer of complex flavours. Everything went well together! This is definitely a make again vegan meal that will go into our rotation.
I hope you too will make these chiles rellenos and like it as much as we did!