Chicken and Quinoa Stuffed Poblanos with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Chicken & Quinoa Stuffed Poblanos with Roasted Red Pepper SaucePretty poblano peppers, stuffed and lined up all in a row. When I looked down at them  sitting in their vibrant red sauce, I knew I needed to grab a quick picture  before they went into the oven. I wasn’t planning to do a post about them, but after I shared this picture on Instagram/Facebook/Twitter, I had requests for the recipe.

So here we go, with just one picture that will have to do, taken on my iphone.

When we first moved here from California the only place you could find poblano peppers was in the latino market we had in town. Not exactly around the corner from me, but when I wanted to take care of my Mexican craving, I would make a point to drive out and get them. Thankfully a lot has changed since then, and all of our grocery stores carry a wide variety of chile peppers. I still can’t figure out why they don’t seem to know the code when I get up to the register though, or what the pepper is called…?  Even if I have to wait while the checker calls for help, I don’t mind (too much), because I am grateful they have them for me to roast when I get home.

I roast poblano peppers and stuff them with all sorts of things like shrimp & goat cheese, roasted vegetables & Monterey Jack, Corn & Feta…the list goes on. It usually comes down to what I have in the refrigerator at the time, and then it all comes together. They are a favorite in our house regardless of the filling, and they are popular with me too, because on busy days I can prepare them ahead and pop them into the oven just before dinner.

So here you go, Chicken & Quinoa Stuffed Poblanos with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce. I hope you like them!

Chicken & Quinoa Stuffed Poblanos with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Chicken and Quinoa Stuffed Poblanos with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce (4 servings)
 
Ingredients
  • 8 large poblano peppers
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • ½ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 pound chicken Italian sausage, removed from casing
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1½ cups cooked quinoa
  • ¼ cup chicken broth
  • Salt & pepper
  • Roasted Red Pepper Sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup minced shallots
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • 4 red bell peppers (may use jarred roasted red peppers)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • Salt & pepper
Instructions
  1. Line the top oven rack with aluminum foil. Place peppers on foil under broiler until blackened on all sides. Enclose in foil 10 minutes. Peel chilies. Using small sharp knife, carefully slit chilies open along 1 side. Remove seeds, leaving stems attached.
  2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add onion, red peppers and sausage. Use a stiff spatula to break the sausage into several pieces. Cook until chicken sausage is cooked through, about 7-8 minutes. Add garlic; cook and stir an additional minute. Add cooked quinoa and chicken broth, season with salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Remove from heat.
  3. Carefully spoon filling into peppers, pulling up sides of peppers to close slightly. Ladle enough Roasted Red Pepper Sauce (recipe follows) to cover the bottom of a 13x9" pan. Place stuffed peppers atop sauce. Cover with aluminum foil and bake 20-25 minutes, or until heated through.
  4. For sauce:
  5. Line the top oven rack with aluminum foil. Place peppers on foil under broiler until blackened on all sides. Enclose in foil 10 minutes. Peel, seed, and coarsely chop bell peppers.
  6. Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add shallots, garlic, and chili; sauté until shallots are tender, about 5 minutes. Cool slightly. Transfer mixture to blender; add bell peppers and chicken broth. Puree until smooth. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Rewarm over medium heat before serving.)

 

 

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Baja Style Tofu Tacos with Beet & Carrot Slaw: A Vegan Challenge

January marks the beginning of a brand new year, fresh with opportunity and sometimes some changes. Our 5 Star make over group is taking the opportunity to embrace a little bit of change, and have reorganized under a new name: Creative Cooking Crew. Our goal each month is to create original dishes inspired by a mutual theme. Laz of Lazaro Cooks and Joan of Foodalogue will graciously host our monthly roundups so that you can see what we have all come up with!

This months challenge: “Choose one of your favorite rich, heavy, fatty animal-protein based meals and give it a healthy VEGAN spin.”

With the snow and cold weather we have had (in-between 70 degree days), I have been missing the beach A LOT! One of my favorite things to eat when I’m in southern California or Mexico are Baja style fish tacos. An indulgent treat: battered and fried strips of succulent halibut nestled into warm corn tortillas with avocados, crema, and salsa fresca.

It’s the combination of textures and flavors in fish tacos  that really do it for me. Now the challenge: could I capture that same experience with tofu instead of fish and make it vegan?

Actually….yes! To recreate that batter fried finish  I dusted the tofu strips in almond meal before cooking in coconut oil which gave them a crispy bite. I added some habanero and lots of lime to the Beet & Carrot Slaw that topped the  tofu. The avocado mash provided a creamy balance to the whole thing, so I never missed the crema.

The only thing I did miss? The margarita I usually have along with the tacos at the beach. Will have to make them again and fix that.

 

Baja Style Tofu Tacos with Beet/ Carrot Slaw & Avocado Mash
 
Ingredients
  • Beet & Carrot Slaw:
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 2 large beets, grated
  • 1 cup thinly sliced green cabbage
  • Juice from one large lime
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ habanero pepper, seeds removed, minced
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Tacos:
  • ½ cup almond meal
  • 12 ounces extra firm tofu, drained, patted dry
  • 1 tablespoon organic coconut oil
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • Avocado mash:
  • 2 avocados, peeled, pitted
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Squeeze of lime juice
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Garnish:
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • Chopped cilantro
Instructions
  1. Instructions
  2. For the Beet Slaw:
  3. Combine all ingredients together in a medium bowl.
  4. For Avocado Mash:
  5. Using two forks, mash avocados in a small bowl. Add garlic, lime juice, salt and pepper; stir into avocados.
  6. For tacos:
  7. Slice tofu into 3x1 inch strips. Place almond meal on a plate and roll to coat tofu strips on all sides.
  8. Heat coconut oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add tofu strips and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes, turning after a minute or so on each side.
  9. To Serve:
  10. Place two corn tortillas on each plate. Top with crispy tofu, Beet & Carrot Slaw, and Avocado Mash. Garnish with a sprinkle of cilantro and chia seeds
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Stuffed Mussels with Serrano Ham, Spinach, & Garlic Aioli

 

 

It usually takes me a week or so after Thanksgiving passes (an intermission), before I am ready to start hearing Christmas music on the radio, and get into the spirit of the season. I need the time to transition from pumpkins to holly.

I can’t just jump right in. What I can do though, is start thinking about what I want to cook during the holiday season. Menu planning is something that comes naturally for me, and it’s the getting together with family and friends over food and wine part of the season that really gets me excited about celebrating, so today I will share a recipe that I recently served as part of one of my cooking class menus. The ingredients have some Spanish influence, making them a nice addition to a tapas menu, but they also have that special holiday feel to them so sharing some of these with friends would be a very good idea.

The mussels are steamed in a wine broth,  then pulled from their shells, chopped and added to the rest of the filling ingredients: sauteed serrano ham, spinach, and béchamel sauce. Some prep work on the front end, yes. But you are able to assemble the stuffed mussels and refrigerate up to one day ahead before they are topped with garlic aioli and popped under the broiler until golden brown and bubbly.

Even the people in cooking class who thought they didn’t like mussels fell in love with these.

So as you think about inviting friends over to share a glass of wine during the weeks ahead,  I hope you will consider making these go along with your holiday cheer.

Stuffed Mussels with Serrano Ham, Spinach, & Garlic Aioli
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • Aioli:
  • 10 whole cloves garlic, peeled
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup mayonaise
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • Mussels:
  • ¾ cup dry white wine
  • 1 small yellow onion, minced
  • 6 sprigs flat leaf parsley
  • Pinch of dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 36 mussels (3 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons minced ham (serrano, prosciutto, or black forest)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup milk
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper
Instructions
  1. For Aioli: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place garlic cloves in a very small baking dish. Cover garlic with oil (add enough to completely cover garlic), cover dish with foil, and bake until garlic is soft, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove garlic cloves with a slotted spoon and transfer to a dish to cool. Place cooled garlic, mayonnaise, and vinegar in the base of a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Reserve.
  2. For mussels: Bring the white wine, half of the onion, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, and mussels to a boil in a large covered saucepan over high heat. Once mussels have been cooking 3 minutes, check to see if they have begun to open. Remove the mussels with a slotted spoon as they open and transfer to a platter. Cool the mussels. Reduce the cooking liquid down to 2 tablespoons. Strain and reserve the liquid. Remove the mussels from their shells and save ⅔ of their shells. Separate each of the reserved shells into 2 halves. Chop the mussels coarsely and place in a large bowl.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan. Cook the remaining onion until soft, 7 minutes. Add the spinach and ham to pan with onions, stirring until spinach has wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove mixture from pan and add to bowl with chopped mussels.
  4. Preheat the broiler. Heat the butter in a saucepan over medium low heat. Add the flour and cook; stirring 2 minutes. Add the milk and reserved cooking liquid and cook until smooth and very thick. Add to the mussels and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Stuff the shells with the mussel mixture. Spread the aioli on top of the mussels and place on a baking sheet. Broil until golden, 10-20 seconds. Serve immediately.
  6. servings

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