Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Polenta-Stuffed Poblano Pepper Recipe

This is so good that I had to share. We were trying to figure out what region this would be considered as coming from, but I think it's really just a fusion of different flavors and it definitely works.

Also, stay tuned tomorrow for info on the Laina's Laundry give-a-way!

Poblano Peppers Stuffed with Polenta, Sage, Greens and Feta:
3 cups vegetable broth (I actually used turkey stock)
1 cup water
3/4 cup dry polenta (corn grits)
6 large fresh (not dried) poblano or pasilla chilies
2 Tbs olive oil
1 cup diced red onion (or about 1/2 a good-sized onion)
1 med red bell pepper, diced
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 cups packed spinach leaves, chopped small
2 tsp dried sage (or 2 Tbs minced fresh sage)
1/4 tsp paprika, plus more for sprinkling (I used more like 1/2 tsp)
1/4 tsp chipotle powder, plus more for sprinkling (I use smoked paprika since I didn't have chipotle powder. The smokiness lends a similar flavor without the heat of chipotle powder. Again, I used more like 1/2 tsp)
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup feta cheese, divided

Bring broth and water to boil in 4-qt heavy pot; whisk in polenta. Cook over med heat for 2 mins, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to low and cook uncovered for about 20-30 mins, stirring frequently, until soft and creamy. I think the timing depends on the coarseness of your particular polenta, so just keep checking and stirring until it seems the liquid is absorbed and you have a thick, creamy porridge.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to broil. Place chiles on baking sheet and broil, turning every few minutes until lightly charred. Remove from oven and place in paper bag 5-10 mins until cooled enough to handle. Peel skins, cut slit down length and remove seeds. I ended up having to run them under water to get all the seeds out.

Heat oil in large skillet. Saute onion, bell pepper, and garlic until softened. Stir in spinach, cook about a minute more. Stir in sage, paprika and chipotle powder (or smoked paprika). Salt and pepper to taste.

Put oven back on broil. Stir spinach mixture into polenta and add 1/2 cup feta. Place chilies back on baking sheet with slit side up, and divide polenta mixture among chilies. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup feta. Broil 3-5 mins until browned. Remove from oven, sprinkle with additional paprika and chipotle powder, if desired. Serve immediately.

This is pretty labor intensive but so worth it. Also, if I would have thought about it early enough, you can easily prepare the peppers and the filling ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to use. Warm the polenta mixture up before stuffing, then stuff the chilies and broil for 5 mins and you're ready to eat.

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