‘Tis the season for loads of fresh peppers, spicy, mild and everywhere in between. Today we’ll look at the poblano, a pepper native to Puebla, Mexico.
Poblanos are a little fruity, range from mild to medium in spice level and — we humbly suggest — deserve a place of prominence in your kitchen. You can use them raw, roast them and puree them into sauce. You may even see them being made into chiles en nogada, a Mexican dish of charred poblanos stuffed with a rich, meaty filling and draped in a creamy, walnut-based sauce. It’s made throughout the year, but particularly in September to celebrate Mexican Independence Day (Sept. 16).
Another favorite: rajas, or strips of roasted, peeled poblanos. (Read more about roasting all sorts of peppers here!) Add some crema and queso fresco, add them to macaroni and cheese and slip them into quesadillas. Make a whole sheet pan’s worth and freeze them, too, so you’ll have plenty for the wintry months ahead.
Are we getting ahead of ourselves here? Maybe. We just really love poblanos, and we think you should, too.
The Commodore’s Poblano Cheese Sandwiches, above. Spicy, cheesy and oozy, thanks to the blend of sharp cheddar, cream cheese and mayonnaise. If you’re without a panini press, don’t fret — these are also great toasted in a skillet (plus, then you don’t have to clean up a panini press later).
El Rey Nachos. While we’re on the cheesy side of things, let’s talk about nachos. You can follow this recipe to the letter, down to making your own chips and pickling your own onions and peppers (which will be well worth it!), or you can skip all that and just make some sauce, because sauce makes the world go ’round, especially cheesy sauce made with poblano peppers, heavy cream and American cheese.
Poblano Rings. And while we’re in the realm of frying, you should also know about these poblano rings — onion rings, but with poblanos. They do require frying, but if you’re up for it, you’ll be happy you did so. (Just don’t skimp on the salt after they come out of the hot oil.) Serve with honey mustard dipping sauce.
Okra Pilaf With Turmeric and Curry Leaves. The star is the okra, sure, but the poblano plays an important supporting role by lending a little bit of spice to this fragrant rice dish.
Quinoa Salad With Zucchini, Poblano and Avocado. The pepper here stays raw and crunchy, meshing wonderfully with creamy avocado and crisp, raw zucchini. If you’ve got some roasted poblano on hand, though, feel free to swap it in.
Everybody’s Chili Verde. It’s almost chili season and we can barely contain ourselves due to so much excitement and our lack of ability to insert punctuation in such a ridiculous run-on sentence we’re sorry (but not). This green chili is a hit.
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