Sunday, July 30, 2017

Getting Stuffed

Hi everyone,

This entry is really three recipes in one. My original plan was simple. Stuff peppers with rice, beans, and chorizo, and top them with cheese. I had planned to use red bell peppers because they stand up nicely, but Nexx made a very good case for poblanos. Honestly, I didn't take much convincing. I adore poblanos. Let's start with the stuffing:
  • 2 Tablespoons of olive oil, divided,
  • 3/4 Cup short-grain rice
  • 1 1/2 Cups water
  • 7 - 8 ounces Chorizo. I used Spanish Chorizo and it happened to come in a 7-ounce stick, I'd love the extra ounce. Spanish is harder in texture and nowhere near as crumbly as Mexican. Either one will do.
  • 1 14-ounce can black beans
  • 5-6 green onions, chopped 
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 4 of the largest poblanos you can get your mitts on
  • (note for next time: 1 Tablespoon dried cilantro)
  • 6 ounces Manchego cheese.
  • 3 chicken breast
  • Ground Cumin
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 3 serrano or jalapeno peppers
  • 2 8-inch flour tortillas
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
Cook rice on the stovetop or in your rice cooker (when we lived with Austin the minimalist, I used his rice cooker all the damn time. I still miss it). While it's cooking, rinse and drain your black beans. From there, skin and then chop your chorizo into pieces about 1/2 inch x 1/2 inch. I'm 5'3", this works about to be around the size of my thumbnail.

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Rinse and drain your black beans. Cook chorizo on low heat for about ten minutes, just enough to get the fat to start melting and make your kitchen smell delicious. If applicable, chase your significant other out of the kitchen. If he's cooperative about it, give them some chorizo.

Drain the chorizo on paper towels, chop your green onions. By this time, your rice is probably ready. Remove the rice to a large bowl and let it cool for about fifteen minutes. 

While the rice is cooling, wash your poblanos. After you wash them, figure out in what position they will be stable in the baking dish. You don't want them falling over in the oven. Cut off a third of the pepper (leave the stem intact) and use a small knife to de-seed and get rid of as much of the rib as you can. Take your time and be patient with yourself. You'll end up with something like this:

Add your chorizo, beans, green onions, and lime juice to the rice and stir well. Now you're ready for the tricky part. Using a small spoon, add the rice mixture to the peppers. The small spoon is key here--you can use it to force the filling into hard-to reach areas and this will help you not to have to force open the pepper any more than necessary. 

Put a Tablespoon of olive oil in a 9x13 baking dish, and spread it around so it covers the whole thing. Cover and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil, top your peppers with about half the cheese, and bake another ten minutes, uncovered until the cheese is bubbly.

I had originally planned these as a main dish, but then I thought some more protein might be in order. Plus, I like to serve meals with a lot of different textures, so I added cumin chicken quesadillas.

Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a pan on medium high heat. Salt your chicken lightly and shake cumin over the breasts until you can see about 1/4 of the meat. Add the chicken tt the pan and turn the meat over every 5 minutes until your meat thermometer reads your desired temperature. 

In between checking, cut up your peppers and your onion. You'll put these in the quesadillas.

My meat thermometer says poultry should be at 165 F. I take it out of the pan at 150-155. Juicier and still thoroughly cooked. Let chicken rest for about five minutes. Chop it into small pieces (about 1/4 inch by 1/4 inch) or shred, either works fine. (I like shredded, Nexx does not. It's a continuous bone of contention)

Melt half the butter in a skillet on medium heat while you prep your first quesadilla. Microwave the tortilla for 15 seconds to soften it. Add half the remaining cheese, peppers to taste, fold in half and zap in pan for three minutes a side. Serve.

I should have bought more peppers as we had a ton of filling left over. Actually, we had a ton of quesadilla ingredients over too. To save space in the fridge (when you live in NYC, you're always about saving space), we put the chicken, peppers, and onion into the rice mixture and stuck it in the fridge. The following day, we put it in bowls, topped the mixture with cheddar cheese and microwaved for about 90 seconds.

If you try any of the above, or come up with variations, let me know!

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