Here’s another recipe that comes from my mom. Most places will bread them or deep fry them, so I don’t really get to have these unless I visit home. I’ve loved them my entire life and, this weekend, I took my mom’s challenge and made them for the first time.
We’re a few thousand miles apart so this was a cool way to cook together. Some of the pictures below are hers and some are mine.
The preparation time for this dish varies greatly depending on how spicy you want your peppers. You have the option of soaking them in a mixture of white vinegar, salt, and water to lessen the spice. I did this to mine for about 4 hours before serving, but you can refrigerate them overnight if you want to remove any trace of heat. Even after 4 hours, my girlfriend (who’s quite sensitive to spicy foods) thought it was still too spicy.
Follow the instructions below and stop when you see [SPICE ALERT!] Read that section very carefully and decide if you want to let them soak or, if you’re like me and love it when your mouth’s on fire, carry on.
Time: 45 minutes or several hours
Serves: 2 people
- Oil and burn
- Cover and cool
- Spice alert!
- More cheese
- Poblano Peppers (4)
- Queso Fresco (half a wheel)
- Olive Oil (2 tablespoons)
- Mexican Cream “crema” (a few tablespoons)
- Avocado (1 small)
- Cilantro (garnish)
- Corn Tortillas (4)
- Shredded mozzarella cheese (1/2 cup)
- White Cap Mushrooms (1/2 cup)
- Red Onions (1/2 cup)
- White Vinegar (1 cup) Optional
- Salt (3 tablespoons) Optional
1. OIL AND BURN
Start by covering your peppers in olive oil – one tablespoon should be enough. Use your hands and make sure they’re completely coated. This is just so that they’ll keep from sticking to the pan. Once they’re completely covered, put them into a pan and set it to high. The goal here is to burn and blister the outside of the peppers so we can peel them later.
As long as you don’t burn holes in them, you’ll be golden. Keep turning them to make sure all the sides are cooked and don’t worry if you can’t get the not-so-flat parts to burn.
They should look something like this when you’re done. You can already see the skin peeling on the one to the right.
2. COVER AND COOL
Place them in a Tupperware container and cover them for 15 minutes to let them sweat. This will both finish cooking them and allow the skin to pull away from the peppers.
I used a metal mixing bowl with saran wrap, but according to my mom, you can just throw them in a plastic shopping bag and tie it shut! You know, just in case you don’t have any other options.
When they’re cool enough to handle, peel all the skin off. It’s a little tedious, but it should be pretty flaky and easy to take off. It’s also completely fine if you don’t get it all.
4. SPICE ALERT!
Now we find out how spicy these badboys are. Cut a slit from the stem to the tip and remove all the seeds. There are three things you can check to get a good idea of what you’re dealing with.
- Color of the seeds. Dark or yellow-ish is mild. White is hot.
- Smell. Do your eyes water? They’re spicy.
- Taste. Cut a bit off near the stem and taste it. The peppers are always spiciest near the stem.
If you’re fine with the spice level, then carry on. If not, you’ll want to soak them in a bowl with 1 parts vinegar to 2 parts water and roughly 3 tablespoons of salt. You need enough to make sure the peppers are submerged.
A good rule-of-thumb is 0 hours for hot, 1-4 hours for medium, and 4-8 hours for mild. Once you’re happy with the heat-level, rinse the vinegar off with cold water and continue with the recipe.
The next step is the stuffing. You can go super-purist and just stuff it with a wedge of Mexican cheese or you can try my mushroom and onions mix. To be honest, you could probably put a pair of socks in there and it would still taste great.
Chop your mushrooms and onions so that they’re roughly the same size and throw them into a medium-heat skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil. Stir them occasionally and wait until the mushrooms have browned. The onions won’t be completely cooked through, but that’s fine, crunchy is good here.
6. MORE CHEESE!
Remove from the heat and mix the mushrooms and onions in a bowl with your Mozzarella cheese right away. Try to get the cheese to melt completely. If it doesn’t, you can toss it in the microwave for a few seconds.
Fill your peppers with a slice of Mexican cheese and a heaping tablespoon of the stuffing. Then finish off with a topping of cream and a slice of avocado.
I’m used to these coming with a side of rice and tortillas, but you can substitute those for any sides you might prefer. I’m pretty happy with my first attempt but, even though I followed my mom’s instructions to the letter, they were still nowhere as good as hers. I have no idea why. Some kind of mom-magic.