Easy Green Chile Stuffed Poblano Peppers: Low-carb, Gluten-free and Highly Adaptable

By Love2Chow - October 06, 2022

This easy stuffed poblano pepper is robustly satisfying, flavored with green enchilada sauce and shredded cheese. The recipe is straightforward and highly adaptable, based on what vegetables are fresh and in season. It is equally good enjoyed as a vegetarian meal or stuffed with your choice of ground meats. No tortillas needed for that great enchilada flavor, and it plates up beautifully for company.


A farmers market bounty is transformed into poblanos stuffed with pork, corn, chopped poblano,  tomatillo, shallots & garlic with a fresh tomatillo salsa instead of the top layer of cheese. 
Stuffed poblanos with turkey, tomato, chopped poblano, garlic and onion. Topped with a browned, bubbly layer of mozzarella and garnished with cilantro and dill blossoms

I discovered this wonderful recipe from Kalyn's Kitchen for Cheesy Stuffed Poblanos with Ground Turkey back in 2016, when I was doing the South Beach 2-week low-carb insulin-reset diet. It was so hearty and satisfying, that I find myself making variations of this recipe over the years using ingredients that I have on-hand. The dish does not require precise measurements, but regardless of variations, it always comes out beautiful and delicious. In fact, you don't even need to have poblanos or ground turkey to have an impressive, easy and satisfying meal.

The basics

To make a variation of this delicious dish, you just have to have a few ingredients on on hand, namely, some sort of stuffable pepper, mushrooms or meat for the filling, and enchilada sauce. 

Peppers

While the original recipe called for two large and one small poblano chile, I have made this with four poblanos or five poblanos, orange or yellow bell peppers, Hatch chiles or a combination of different chiles. 

Poblanos and Orange Bell Peppers stuffed with cremini mushrooms, hatch chile, shallots, the rest of the bell pepper and a mix of pizza cheese blend and sharp cheddar for  delicious vegetarian version.

When using poblanos, at least one chile is chopped up to add to the filling. When using bell pepper, I cut the pepper vertically to get two nice, cup shaped pieces from each pepper, and then chop up the remaining parts of the pepper to use in the filling.

A farmers market bounty with fresh poblanos, tomatillos, cilantro and scallion being washed.
One of the genius tidbits from Kalyn's recipe is the use of the microwave to help prep the chiles. There is no roasting, peeling, or blanching necessary. Just pop the chile shells onto a microwaveable plate, and microwave 2-4 minutes until the pepper relaxes so that you can get the stuffing in.

Four of the five peppers were cut in half longitudinally and microwaved briefly to open them up, with one poblano and one tomatillo chopped for the filling, and the rest of the tomatillos made into salsa.

Filling

I often supplement the pound of ground turkey with additional vegetables such as onions/shallots, shiitake mushrooms, tomatoes, or fresh corn cut off the ears. A good part of the flavor comes from a can of green enchilada sauce, but I enjoy the extra flavors, colors and textures offered by a few more veggies. Usually there is extra filling, so if you use more chiles than the two large ones called for, simply chop up about 1/4 to 1/5 of the chiles. When added to the filling, it will expand the stuffing without needing additional meat or sauce.

This dish is also great with ground beef or ground pork, depending on what you have available. Once I only had a chicken breast, which I chopped up using a cleaver for a delicious variation. 

Mise en place for a chicken, poblano and fresh shiitake mushroom filling.

Most recently, I made a completely vegetarian version of these stuffed poblanos, substituting an 8 ounce (w) package of fresh mushrooms for the turkey.  I also added a chopped hatch chile in addition to the chopped bell pepper as I did not have an extra poblano pepper. Due to the extra water put out by the mushrooms and extra chiles, I only used about half of the 10 oz can of green enchilada sauce. 

Mise en place for vegetarian stuffed poblanos.

Basically, you cook the meat (or mushrooms) until the small chunks are browning nicely (after the excess moisture is boiled off), then add the vegetables, garlic and seasonings. When everything is smelling good, add the enchilada sauce and continue cooking until the mixture is pretty thick. 

The sauce starts out too wet from the enchilada sauce.
Be sure to cook it down until the filling is dry enough to mound up.

Cheese

Once the filling is thickened without excess wateriness, turn off the heat and stir in up to a cup of shredded cheese.

This ground turkey-mozzarella version is the closest to Kalyn's recipe, but even here, I have added a tomato that needed to be used.

Stuff the peppers with generous mounded spoonfuls, and then top with a bit more cheese. Bake for 20-30 minutes until cheese is bubbly and browned. 

This chicken-mushroom filling is thick enough to be mounded into the pepper half.

While mozzarella melts and browns nicely in this dish, I often use a mixture of mozzarella and sharp cheddar, just because I adore cheddar. I have also forgotten to add cheese to the top at the end, and everything still tasted wonderful. 

Topped with an artisan jack-cheddar cheese mix...
...and baked until the cheese is bubbly and browned.


Love2Chow Vegetarian Green Chile Stuffed Poblanos

4 poblano chiles
8-10 oz package of cremini or white button mushrooms, cleaned and chopped into small cubes
1/2 medium onion, chopped
Oil
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp Mexican oregano
Salt, pepper, to taste
1 10-oz can green enchilada sauce (you may not need the whole can)
5-6 oz shredded cheese (mozzarella, cheddar, jack)
1-2 Tbs lime juice
2 stalks scallions, chopped
Cilantro, chopped (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 375°F. 

2. Cut three of the chiles from stem to tip to form two cup shaped halves. Carefully remove the seeds, leaving the stem attached and arrange on a plate. Chop the remaining poblano chile.

3. Heat a wok or frying pan over medium heat until a drop of water evaporates in about 1 sec. Add 1-2 Tbs oil. Cook mushrooms until the liquid stops foaming out and they start to brown.

4. Add onion, chopped chiles, oregano and cook until onions are translucent. Add at least 5 oz of green enchilada sauce and continue cooking until you have thick sauce.

5. Meanwhile, microwave plate of chile halves for 2-3 minutes, and check. Microwave another minute if needed to get peppers to relax so they are easier to stuff.

6. When the filling is thick enough that it can form soft mounds, remove from heat. Stir in lime juice, up to 4 oz of shredded cheese, and scallions. Taste and adjust salt, pepper, lime juice if necessary. 

7. Lightly grease a backing pan large enough to hold the chile halves. Spoon filling into each half and arrange in pan. Try to tuck the filling under any overhanging edges of the peppers. 

8. Bake at 375°F for 20-30 min until cheese is bubbly and as browned as you like it.  Remove from oven and top with cilantro if using. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving with salsa and chips.

Vegetarian stuffed poblano with cremini mushrooms, mozzarella and sharp cheddar, served with basil eggplant and stir-fried Japanese winged beans.

Love2Chow Tips:

πŸƒ The use of the microwave to soften the peppers saves time, effort and energy compared to blanching.

🐾 If you have extra filling, it is very tasty used as a topping for microwave nachos, as a dip, or simply eaten by the spoonful or with rice/tortillas.




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