Spicy Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Tomorrow, my family and I are off on our annual holiday. This year, we are heading to Denmark and Iceland and I'm really excited. No, I'm seriously excited. I've been anxiously awaiting this trip for several months and now that it's finally here, I couldn't be happier. As usual, I will have some pre-scheduled entries set to post while I'm away. Frankly, it's been sort of difficult arranging that because I've been so consumed with finalizing our itinerary and obsessively checking the weather and oh yeah, working at my full-time job. But, I've made it work and now I'm ready to go on vacation.

Whilst I'm in such a good mood, I thought I'd share one of my favorite posts of the year so far. The recipe is delicious but that's not what's made it a favorite; it's the peppers. Our poblano pepper plant was a trooper this year and though it was months before we could pick any, the harvest was plentiful. I wanted to do something kind of special with them so I revamped my stuffed poblano pepper recipe. I made it better by adding loads of spice - in terms of heat and flavor - and topped it with my beloved, habanero cheddar. This babe of a cheese has been making all of our Mexican favorites even better.
Ingredients [serves 6]:
6 to 8 poblano peppers
¼ cup rice
¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
¼ cup chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
1 lb. ground turkey (or any ground meat of your choice; crumbled tofu is a vegetarian option)
¼ onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, diced
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 egg
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ cup + ½ cup grated cheddar (I use habanero cheddar)
1 cup tomato sauce
2 tablespoons adobo sauce (from can of chipotle peppers)

Obviously, we're way out of the gardening season at this point (although, some of our pepper plants have been continuing to produce well into autumn, thanks to the unseasonably warm October we enjoyed) but I used freshly picked poblano. But, if you're at the grocery store trying to pick out peppers, reach for ones that are really firm. The harder the pepper, the fresher it is; does that sentence sound kind of dirty?
To start this recipe, make the rice first. To a tiny saucepan, add in the rice, cumin seeds, and chicken stock. Pop onto the hob over low heat and cook until the rice is tender. Actually, it's preferable that the rice be slightly undercooked, which is why I haven't instructed you to pop a lid on; lid off is better. Once the rice is done, set it aside to cool. It shouldn't take too long, since it's such a small amount.
Chop up the jalapeno, onion, garlic, and some cilantro. Add the ground chicken to a big bowl, add in your chopped vegetables, the egg, and seasoning (which consists of salt, pepper, and ground cumin). Add in the cooled rice and some cheese and then give the whole thing a stir.
Chop the poblanos in half, rip out the seeds, membranes, and stems, and then fill generously with the meat mixture. The number of pepper halves you'll fill up will depend on how generous or how stingy you are with the filling. Because this is the main entree, I like to really pile in the filling. Place the stuffed peppers into a baking dish.
Grab the tomato sauce and stir in the adobo. Spoon the sauce over the stuffed peppers. Bake at 375F for about 45 minutes or until the meat mixture is cooked through and the peppers are tender.
After they're cooked through, sprinkle a bit of cheese on top and bung back in the oven just long enough for the cheese to melt and then sprinkle with a little cilantro (for color) and serve, piping hot.
We enjoyed our meal with some spicy black beansyuca fritters, and some sweet corn salsa.
These peppers are spicy - again, in terms of heat and because there are literal spices, hello cumin!, in the filling - and I love the bits of onion and rice running through the meat. Honestly though, the best part was the deliciously tender pepper. It soaks up the flavors of the filling but still has a verdant bite that shines through; that's probably why poblanos are one of my favorite peppers. They have such a great flavor.
Here's the recipe page: