I was walking the the outdoor emporium yesterday to pick out Dennis’ birthday gift and pick up some supplies (pants, garden gloves, etc) for my internship this summer. We walked through the international district on the way back, which has some of the most amazing little shops selling everything from steamed pork dumplings and sticky almond cakes to herbal remedies and buddhist garden art. My favorite places to wander into, when I have the time, are usually the ones selling miscellaneous stuff like bamboo place mats, pots and dinnerware, and asian artifacts, because I always find cool and unusual things for truly unusual prices. I used to come down here every week for my internship at Community Alliance for Global Justice, who had a hole-in-the-wall office a couple years ago and has now upgraded to a bigger place.. so I know my way around. But anyway, back on track, I stopped in one of my favorite asian markets on the way home and bought a huge bag of fresh bok choy and tofu to make a stir fry, mangoes, some kind of greens (the ones in the picture), basil, and poblano peppers to make these chiles rellenos. And it all cost me less than six bucks! This reminds me of the great deals you get at your little Mexican market. Horayy for inexpensive, healthy produce!
Chiles rellenos are by far my favorite Mexican entree. They melt in your mouth and have so much flavor! I’ve had many different kinds, probably because I’m always ordering them if they are on the menu, and the ones I like best aren’t overloaded with cheese and have a rice-based filling. Since I had some cooked quinoa on hand, I swapped out the rice for quinoa (which I think is even better because it packs down well) and added refried beans, yellow onion, and an uncooked egg to the filling. I also tried two different cheeses; mexican blend and goat. Both were good. These turned out to be SO tasty!! I didn’t add meat to mine, but I’m guessing some ground meat would be great in these too.. or in the sauce. Allow about an hour to make these.
Chiles Rellenos with Quinoa
2-4 Poblano Peppers, depending on size
1 tbsp Olive oil
1/4 cup yellow onion, diced
2 cups Cooked quinoa
3/4 cup refried pinto or black beans, heated
Cheese, as much as you want (mexican cheddar blend, goat, mozzarella, or queso fresco are all good choices)
4 cups Rich tomato sauce, low-salt or homemade
Green olives (optional)
Cooked ground meat (optional)
1. Heat oven to 400 degrees
2. Rinse poblanos well and cut close to rim of stem to remove inside seeds and stem. Spoon and rinse out all seeds. Set aside.
3. Heat olive oil in frying pan and saute onions until translucent. Add to a bowl with the cooked quinoa, heated refried beans, and egg. Mix well. The result will look mushy and soggy- that’s good. Lightly stir in cheese. [Meat can also be added at this time or later as part of the sauce]
4. Stuff peppers with quinoa/cheese mixture to rim and place on baking sheet with tin foil and non-stick spray. Bake for about 40 min covered with tin foil or until soft and blackened (see pic).
5. Take peppers out of the oven to peel skins off (they can cause indigestion). Flip them onto their other side in pan. Pour tomato sauce on top with olives, meat, or any other extras. Top with extra cheese. Return to oven for 5 more minutes, uncovered.
6. Take them out of oven and let rest while preparing plates. Mangoes and yogurt/sour cream pair great with this, cutting the richness of the sauce. Spoon sauce onto plate and carefully place poblanos on top. Top with more sauce, step back and take a picture, and dig in— with others of course. : )
These are a great meal all by themselves. Beer or margaritas would go nicely, as would chips and guacamole. Buen provecho!