Cinco de Mayo is just a few days away and to celebrate, I have come up with a fantastic recipe that is perfect for the occasion: Poblano Peppers Stuffed with Chicken and Cheese.
This recipe is my take on Chiles Rellenos, a classic Mexican dish made with cheese-stuffed Poblano peppers that are breaded, deep fried and topped with a luxurious red salsa. While I absolutely love Chiles Rellenos (and order them from restaurants every time they are on the menu), they are quite a bit of work to make at home with all the breading and deep frying. This recipe lightens up the classic Chiles Rellenos recipe by avoiding the breading and deep frying, so it’s much healthier for you and is a great keto meal!
If you have never had Poblano peppers before, you are missing out! These large, dark green peppers are very common in Mexican dishes and are mildly spicy. They are much less spicy than a jalapeno, but are a bit spicier than a regular sweet bell pepper. They are also relatively large and have a hollow cavity that is perfect for stuffing. Poblanos can be eaten fresh, baked, grilled or dried. When they are dried, they become a dark red-brown colour and shrivel up and are widely known as ancho chiles. No matter how you eat then, Poblanos are delicious!
It is important to note that the skin of a Poblano pepper is really tough and doesn’t break down enough to eat it so many people peel the skin from the peppers. It’s a relatively easy process: simply bake or grill the peppers until the skin gets charred. Then place the peppers into a bowl while they are still warm and cover them with plastic wrap or a towel. The steam from the hot peppers gets trapped inside the bowl and loosens the skin away from the flesh of the pepper. Once it is cooled, the skin easily peels right off! And this works for any type of pepper as well. How’s that for a handy kitchen trick?
Roasted Poblano skins are ready to peel off!
Once the peppers are peeled, they are stuffed with shredded chicken and cheese and topped off with a luxurious red salsa (and more cheese). This salsa is one of the greatest creations that has come out of my kitchen lately and it goes great with absolutely anything! I did quite a lot of research on how to make this type of Mexican salsa and how to get the most flavour out of the ingredients to get a rich and flavourful salsa. The trick that has worked for me is by roasting the vegetables prior to blending them. Roasting gives the veggies allows some of the water to escape from the vegetables, allowing the flavour to really get concentrated. Plus getting some charred bits on the vegetables make it taste even better! Once they are roasted, they get blitzed in my blender until silky smooth. Once smooth, I add the salsa to a sauce pot and cook it again for about 20 minutes (kind of like cooking a tomato sauce for pasta) which really helps the flavours come together. You can definitely make this salsa a day or two before you plan on using it, in fact I recommend it, because the flavours really have time to combine together and develop.
All roasted and ready for the blender!
Once the peppers are coated in sauce, they are topped off with more cheese (yum) and baked until hot and bubbly. I like to garnish the dish with some cilantro leaves and to serve it with a nice side of rice and/or beans to soak up all that delicious red salsa.
Let me know in the comments below if you have ever had Chile Rellenos and if you are keen on trying this healthy twist on that traditional Mexican dish! Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone 🙂
For the full recipe, click here!