Thursday, September 3, 2015

Vegetable Feature: Poblano Peppers

by Beth Brown-Lucas
Poblano Peppers
Poblano peppers are classified as a hot pepper with a medium level of heat. While you won’t need gloves or eye protection to cut up this pepper, the oils will be on your hands so be sure to wash your hands after handling. You can identify the poblanos in your box as the dark green, large peppers with blocky shoulders that taper to a point.

The skins/walls of these peppers are sturdy, making them perfect for stuffing as they’ll hold up in the oven quite nicely. They are typically roasted and peeled when cooking with them, or dried. When dried, they are called ancho chilis. Poblanos are also commonly used in chile rellenos, a dish that originated in Puebla, Mexico. It consists of a stuffed, roasted fresh poblano pepper that is usually battered with an egg coating and fried until crispy.

Roasting poblanos will bring out their fruitier flavors. To roast the peppers, place them on a tray under the broiler, directly on the grill or directly on an open flame. Roast over the flame, turning as needed to make sure all sides of the pepper get lightly charred or blistered. Remove from the flame and place in a brown paper bag or a covered bowl and let them steam as they cool. Once they are cool enough to handle, scrape off the skin. You can use roasted poblano peppers in a wide range of dishes. Stuff them with cheese and make your own chile rellenos or try using roasted chopped poblano peppers as a topping for tacos and burritos.

Poblano peppers can preserved either raw or after roasting. To preserve them in their raw form, remove the stem and seeds, then slice or chop and freeze. Both forms of preservered poblanos can be a great addition to salsas and winter soups & stews. Check out this week’s featured recipe for an easy way to enjoy poblanos now, or save the peppers and recipe for later!

Caramelized Poblano Chile & Onion Dip

Original recipe featured in Martha Stewart Living magazine, August 2012.
Yield: 2 Cups
¼ cup vegetable oil
Poblano Chile & Onion Dip is great served with
Mini-Sweet Peppers or chips!
3 cups diced onion
3 poblano chiles, seeds and ribs removed, diced
1 Tbsp fresh coriander seeds, toasted and coarsely ground
Coarse salt
¼ cup fresh lime juice (from 2 to 3 limes)
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup sour cream
Cayenne pepper, for sprinkling

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium to medium-low heat.  Add onion, chiles, coriander, and 1 tsp salt.  Saute, stirring occasionally, until onion and chiles are tender and caramelized, 25 to 30 minutes.  Let cool completely.
  2. Stir together lime juice, cream cheese, and sour cream in a large bowl, using a rubber spatula, until smooth.  Stir in onion mixture.  Season with salt if necessary.  Refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.  Sprinkle with cayenne.  Serve with cut-up vegetables or chips.

HVF Serving Suggestions:
Some of our crew taste testing the poblano dip-they loved it!
  • Dice the poblanos now and freeze the raw peppers.  Pull them out in the winter and make this dip to serve at a New Year’s Eve or Super Bowl Party!
  • Stuff the dip into mini-sweet peppers and pack them in your lunch.
  • Mix the dip with fresh corn kernels and black beans. Stuff it inside a sweet pepper and bake until warmed through.
  • Use this dip to create a tasty Quesadilla.  Heat a large frying pan over medium heat and add enough oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan.  Spread the caramelized poblano chile & onion dip on a tortilla.  For a vegetarian option, layer pieces of sautéed zucchini and/or eggplant on top of the dip and fold the tortilla in half.  For an omnivore alternative, add slices of cooked bacon to the quesadilla.  Cook in the warm saute pan until the bottom is golden, then flip it over and toast the other side.

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