As you know, I’m from Southern California.
And the best thing about growing up in Southern California isn’t the beaches, the weather, or even In-n-Out.
It’s Disneyland Grad Night.
That’s right, an entire night where the theme park is open just for the seniors in a few CAlifornia high schools. It’s all churros, Space Mountain, and shoppin on Main Street until the sun comes up. So, of course, you need to have a good foundation of food for the night ahead.
That night, my mom made me chile rellenos. I’m going to have to make those for the blog – deep fried smoky poblano peppers, stuffed with oozy mozzarella and cheddar cheeses encased in puffy batter. They are labor intensive, but so insanely delicious and great fuel for a night of running around.
But, for those times when you want a little less deep fried and a little more protein, you can go for these slightly easier versions, that you may like even better.
Stuffed Poblano Peppers
4 poblano peppers
1-1.5 cups cooked long grain rice or orzo
1 lb. ground meat
1 small can Mexican style diced tomatoes
Assorted taco seasonings (oregano, cayenne, coriander, cumin, etc)
1 clove diced garlic
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, plus more for topping
hot sauce, salsa, guacamole, sour cream for serving
1. Put the peppers on a pan and put them under the broiler for about 7 minutes per side, or until they are TOTALLY charred on the outside. We are talking black, burned, and they might pop in the oven. That’s okay. You need to get them completely charred. Dont forget to turn them so all sides get blackened.
2. When they are charred all over, put them on a plate in a single layer and cover tightly with cling wrap. Leave until the peppers are cool enough to handle. Now, the skins should just slip right off.
3. While the peppers cool, prepare the filling. Sautee the beef, garlic, and spices until the beef is cooked.
4. Add the tomatoes….
5. The rice, and the cheese. Taste for seasonings – the rice absorbs a lot of flavor, so you may need more salt or hot sauce than usual.
6. Now split the peppers lengthwise and stuff them with the stuffing. I mean overstuff them. Pregnant with twins stuff them. It’s okay if they tear a little and are overflowing – that’s what you want. And yes, I top mine with extra cheese.
7. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the cheese is totally melted.
These are the perfect weeknight meal. Healthy, inexpensive, and tasty. The peppers are smoky and mild. However, when cooked with the rice and cheese, they really assert their flavor. It’s a great way to use up leftover rice – and if you have any canned black beans or corn, throw those in there, too! Fresh scallions – even better! It’s a great way to use up leftover rice and other stuff that’s about to go bad, in a way that is so tasty that no one will guess that it’s a leftovers meal.
And I can’t help but think of Disneyland every time that I eat them.