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Every now and then a girl gets lucky. Tonight was my night.

During my delightful six-minute commute home, I vacillated. Dine in? Carry out? Cook? Reason won out knowing there were foods in the fridge that needed to be consumed, and fast. I’d purchased a couple of poblano peppers meaning to stuff them, but had been unable to find a recipe that was not a) cheese laden or b) gross. Necessity, the mother of invention, prompted what became a smokey, spicy-hot stuffed pepper that will become a standard in my home – especially for my vegetarian and heat-loving friends.

Stuffed Poblano Peppers
Serves 4 (photos are of a half preparation)

4 poblano peppers, charred, seeded
1 28 oz. can tomato puree
3/4 cup chopped onions
3 cloves garlic
2+ jalapeno peppers
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 packet Trader Joe’s microwave brown rice (2 cups)
1/2 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground Aleppo pepper (optional)
2 tbsp Mexican crema (available at Mexican food stores. this link will take you to a recipe to make it yourself.)
1/4 tsp lime zest
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
salt & freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Charring the peppers will allow you to remove the tough skin and will impart a wonderful smokey flavor to the dish. Char peppers over an open flame or under the broiler until the skins are black. Place in a paper bag for 5 minutes to steam. Remove skins, then cut in half to remove seeds, but try to keep the stem attached to one side for a pretty presentation.

Combine tomatoes, 1/2 cup  of the onions, 2 cloves garlic, 1 (or more to taste) jalapeno peppers and salt and pepper to taste in a blender.
Pulse until incorporated but still a bit chunky. Spread in a 9″ x 13″ oven-proof dish. Place open poblanos on top of the tomato sauce.

Combine black beans, cooked rice, 1/4 cup cheese, cumin, Aleppo, chopped cilantro, and minced jalapeno and salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon into poblanos. Top with the remaining cheese.

Cover pan with foil and bake about 15 minutes or until sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted.

Top with freshly chopped cilantro and a dollop of lime crema. Prepare to be like a great date (at least how I would imagine one)…smokey, spicy, hot, delicious.
Too hot? Add more crema to cool things down. Not hot enough? You know what to do.

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