Sometimes I walk around the grocery store searching for inspiration on what to create for dinner that night. Gary and I have been trying to each less refined carbs so I had picked up a package of quinoa…and 3 huge poblano peppers and left the store thinking I would make a pepper soup with carrots, onions and the poblanos. By the time I got home my adventurous side kicked in and instead we made this little creation. I had a pre-made bottle of cranberry salsa in our pantry also which helped with the sauce. If you can’t find that a simple peach or mango salsa (find one w/ at least medium heat as you want both the sweetness and the heat to be there to enhance the flavors in the pepper.) If you are looking for these to be super, super healthy, just omit the cheese.
Seasonal Stuffed Poblano Peppers
3 or 4 large poblano peppers
1/2 cup dry quinoa
2 cups chicken stock + 1/2 cup
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 zucchini, diced
1 yellow squash, diced
1 apple, any type, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 tablespoon graham masala
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Splash orange juice
2/3 cup salsa – cranberry, peach, mango or any with fruit and spice
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Bring 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock to a boil in a small sauce pan with a good pinch of salt. Place the peppers on a baking sheet inside the oven and roast, turning once, for 30 minutes. Rinse the quinoa well under cold water then cook in the boiling chicken stock (bring the stock back up to a boil then simmer for 20 or so minutes.)
Meanwhile heat the oil to medium in a large saute pan. Add the carrots and onion and saute until slightly softened. Add the squash, garlic and apple and continue to cook for 3 minutes then add all of the spices and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Stir to combine then add 1/2 cup chicken stock, vinegar and let simmer.
When the quinoa is cooked add it to the vegetable mixture, stirring to combine. Adjust any seasonings to your taste. When the peppers are roasted remove from the oven and place in a glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap to let the peppers steam and cool. Steam for 10 minutes then remove plastic wrap and place each pepper on a cutting board, cut the stems away and carefully peel the skins off. Remove the seeds inside and cut a slit down one side to make a pocket.
Place back on the baking sheet and fill each pepper with the quinoa mixture. Top with a bit of cheese on each pepper. While the peppers are steaming add the remaining chicken stock, orange juice and salsa to a sauce pan and bring to a boil and reduce by 1/3 then simmer. Place the peppers in the oven for 5 minutes to melt the cheese. Serve by ladling a few spoonfuls of sauce on the bottom of a plate then place the pepper on top. Delicious!