Have you ever had one of those nights where everything seems to go wrong in the kitchen? This was one of those times. It started with a blender explosion – I’d made my chipotle sauce in the blender, removed the lid, then thought “I really wouldn’t want a blender explosion right now, I’d better press the Off button again just to make sure it’s really off” (don’t ask why I thought that made sense at the time). Of course, the 'off' button also doubles as sort of ‘on’ button (who designs blenders?), and my sauce went flying all over the kitchen. If you follow me on Facebook, you may recall a picture of this little disaster that I posted (yes, it was all the way back in April, but please don’t take that as a reflection of the quality of this dish, it was amazing, I just haven’t had the chance to share it yet!)
Then I realized that the handy little microwavable package of frozen corn I’d bought was in fact not regular corn, but was coated in a LOT of butter sauce. The butter sauce proceeded to explode out of the plastic bag in the microwave, so not only did I have to clean it out of there, I also had to try to rinse/wipe it off every piece of frozen corn because I didn’t want it to ruin my dish. Once that was out of the way, I proceeded to dump way too much oil in my pan for cooking the onion, then forgot about the onions so they almost burnt, then sliced all the way through one of my peppers when I was stuffing it so I had to cut it in half …. You get the picture.
After all that, I was praying that this dish wouldn’t also turn out to be a disaster, but it blew away all my expectations and turned out so good!
I’ve made stuffed green peppers before, but these were so much better. The poblanos are roasted before stuffing so they’re nice and soft. They also have a really nice flavor that’s very mild for a hot pepper, so they don’t give off much heat. And they make the perfect vessel for stuffing, especially with a delicious quinoa, vegetable, and goat cheese mixture!
The filling in these was so flavourful, and I loved that it had a bit of richness from the melted goat cheese. There wasn’t enough cheese to mask the flavours of the ingredients though, which I really liked. The chipotle sauce was really spicy, but when you spoon just a little over your pepper, it adds the perfect level of spice (or you can just leave it in the pan if you don’t like spice!)
All in all, this was a fantastic vegetarian meal that was both healthy and filling, and definitely worth my little series of kitchen disasters!
Quinoa-Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Chipotle Sauce
Adapted from Whole Living
4 large poblano peppers
2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/3 cup dry quinoa, rinsed
1/3 cup vegetable stock (optional)
1 tablespoon chopped chipotle chile in adobo sauce
1 garlic clove
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped, plus more for garnish
1 small yellow onion
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed (or fresh cooked corn from the cob)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 roma tomatoes, diced
4 ounces goat cheese
Preheat oven to 475°F. Rub poblano peppers with two teaspoons of vegetable oil and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Roast in the preheated oven until soft and slightly blackened in spots, about 15-20 minutes, flipping once. Let cool.
Meanwhile, bring 1/3 cup water and 1/3 cup vegetable stock to a boil in a medium saucepan (I like to use part vegetable stock for quinoa to infuse extra flavour, but it’s not necessary if you don’t have any open vegetable stock, you can use 2/3 cup water instead). Add quinoa, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low to simmer. Cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes, then remove lid and fluff with a fork.
While peppers and quinoa are cooking, prepare the chipotle sauce in a blender. Combine chipotle chile, garlic, 3/4 cup water, and a dash each of salt and pepper in the blender and blend until smooth. Add 1/2 cup cilantro and pulse a few times to combine. Set aside.
In a large saucepan or deep skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add corn, black beans, tomato, and cooked quinoa and stir until heated through, about 2 minutes. Add 2 ounces goat cheese and stir until it's melted and completely mixed in. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Make a small slit down the length of one side of each pepper, being careful not to cut through to the other side. Carefully remove seeds, leaving stem end intact. Spoon quinoa mixture into each pepper to fill them.
Pour chipotle sauce into a 9x13-inch baking dish. Transfer stuffed peppers to the dish, and dot with remaining 2 ounces goat cheese. Bake until cheese is golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes and serve warm, sprinkled with additional chopped cilantro if desired.