Stuffed Peppers

by on 24/04/12 at 4:18 pm

Zarela Martinez is one of the classic Chihuahua chefs and is of course the founder of the well known New York eatery, “Zarela”. She is a champion of Norteno food and of Chihuahua culture. Her recipes regularly feature cream, nuts, veggies of all kinds- the staples of northern Mexico cuisine.

Her site is one of the best for Mexican recipes and on it is this delicious one for stuffed poblanos:

Poblanos Rellenos de Picadillo

This is my take-off on chiles en nogada, the stuffed poblano chiles topped with walnut sauce that are traditionally served at this time of the year (see recipe).

6 large poblano chiles
Vegetable oil for frying
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 medium-size onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup pimento-stuffed green olives, sliced
1/2 cup pitted prunes, coarsely diced
1/2 cup dried apricots, coarsely diced
1/2 cup dried peaches, coarsely diced
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground true (Ceylon) cinnamon or 1/2 teaspoon US cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
Salt to taste Salsa de Tomate Asado (see recipe below)
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F

Make a small (1 to 1 1/2 inches long) lengthwise slit in each chile. Pour the oil into a large, heavy skillet to a depth of about 1/2 inch and heat over high heat until very hot, but not quite smoking. Fry the chiles, two at a time, turning once or twice, until they puff up and take on an olive-beige color. Remove from the pan as they are done. Carefully peel the chiles under cold running water. Very gently pull out the seeds through the slit in each chile, being sure not to tear the flesh. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat until very hot and fragrant. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring for 3 minutes. Add the olives and dried fruit and cook, stirring, another 3 minutes. Add the spices and chicken and cook, stirring to combine, for 2 minutes or more. Season with salt.
Carefully fill the chiles with the mixture through the slit in each. Bake on a greased baking sheet or shallow pan for 7 minutes.
Spoon the tomato sauce onto individual plates or a large serving platter and arrange the chiles on top.
12 servings

Salsa de Tomate Asado
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
8 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 medium size-onion, unpeeled, halved crosswise
3 to 4 large ripe tomatoes (about 2&3/4 pounds total)
Cook down the cream in a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat until reduced by about a third. Set aside.
Heat a heavy cast-iron griddle or skillet over high heat until a drop of water sizzles on contact. Roast the unpeeled garlic cloves and onion, turning several times, until the garlic is dark on all sides and somewhat softened and the onion is partly blackened and fragrant. Set aside.
Roast the tomatoes in the same way, turning several times, until blistered on all sides. Let cool until just cool enough to handle. Peel the garlic cloves and place in blender. Peel the onion, rubbing away any charred bits and add to the garlic. Peel the tomatoes directly over the blender so as not to lose any juice and add to the garlic and onion. Puree on medium speed until smooth. Add the cream and process until blended. Season with salt.

Place sauce in a medium saucepan and bring back to a boil over high heat. As soon as it boils, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.


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