I’ve never made stuffed peppers before this dish, and I have to say, I think I’ll be making them again. These stuffed poblanos with fresh corn and tomatoes are simple to make – but look pretty fabulous. The roasted poblano adds tons of flavor to this dish – the combination of risotto, corn, fresh tomatoes and queso fresco make it just rich enough to spice up a long day at work without being too terrible for you. There is likely nothing authentically ‘Mexican’ about this – but it’s more interesting than tacos when you have a hankering for Tex-Mex flavors.
The original inspiration for this recipe came from Deb Perelman of the Smitten Kitchen. She makes an awesome looking vegetarian Poblano pepper dish, stuffed with corn risotto and topped with delicious looking sour cream sauce. I changed my risotto slightly, added fresh tomatoes, mushrooms and ground meat to make the meal stick to the ribs a bit more.
I had a lot of things happening at the same time to make this all come together – the risotto takes the longest, so leave yourself at least a half an hour to get it perfectly fluffy. We had lots of leftover stuffing from this dinner feast – great the next day without a pepper to stuff it in, just as great over some wilted greens.
6-8 Poblano peppers
6 Cups vegetable stock
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Cups Arborio rice
1/2 Cup light beer
1/2 Pound ground bison (ground beef works too, I just prefer the flavor of bison)
1 ear of fresh corn kernels
2 fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 Cup fresh mushrooms, chopped
1 Tablespoon cumin
1 Teaspoon paprika
1 Teaspoon chili powder
1/4 Cup crumbled queso fresco
3 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped
Heat up your broiler and lay the poblanos directly on your oven rack until the skins are blistered, turning about every 8 minutes.
Remove from heat and place in a covered bowl until you’re ready for them again.
While the poblanos are blistering, bring your broth to a simmer over low heat (it’s good to make risotto with warm broth so the rice doesn’t get shocked by cold water).
In a heavy-bottom skillet, cook the onion and garlic until fragrant and softened, about 6 minutes.
Add the rice to the skillet, allow it to get slightly toasted – stirring frequently for about 2 minutes.
Pour in the beer, be sure to scrape any rice from the bottom of the pan. Allow beer to sit for about a minute, until it mostly disappears.
Now the slow cooking process of risotto can begin – add warmed broth to the rice mixture about 1/2 Cup at a time, stirring frequently throughout the cooking process. After about 30 minutes (and multiple stock additions) your risotto should be creamy and flavorful.
While you are managing your risotto, you can finish up the rest of your stuffing.
You can also remember to preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Cook the ground bison over medium heat, using just a touch of olive oil so it doesn’t stick to the pan.
Add the cumin, paprika, and salt and pepper to taste
Remove from heat and cover until we’re ready for it again.
In the same pan, with a teensy bit more oil added, cook the tomatoes, corn and mushrooms until they are slightly tender and fragrant.
In a large bowl, combine finished risotto, bison, and vegetable mixture. Add the cilantro and queso fresco, stir until combined.
Put a little slice in the Poblanos, enough so you can carefully remove the seeds. If you mess this up and accidentally cut the Poblanos in half, that’s ok too.
With Poblanos on a baking dish, fill them with stuffing, crumbling an extra bit of cheese on top.
Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown on top.