Who doesn't love a chile relleno?! Unfortunately most are meat heavy, deep fried, and not so great for a hot day. My version? Rich in flavor, color and texture, but leaves you feeling energized and ready to tackle the summer days. The subtle smokey heat of a properly roasted poblano paired with the sweet, salty, and savory quinoa stuffing and rich smokey tomato will leave you licking the plate and nibbling on the stem. Inspired by my childhood in Colorado and my favorite chef at the CIA, this relleno is truly different and a labor of love. Make it yours.
It just so happens to be vegan...gluten free...and as always it is organic.
Poblano Chile – 4 each
Quinoa Salad Stuffing
Quinoa – 1 cup
Minced Onion – ½ ea
Minced Garlic – 4 cloves
Vegetable Stock – 2 cups
Sweet Potato (1/4’’ dice) – 1 each
Honey – 1 tbsp
Shitake Mushroom (1/4’’ dice) – ¾ cup
Dried Cranberries – ¼ cup
Chopped Almonds – ¼ cup
Ancho Chili Powder – 2 tsp
Cumin – 2 tsp
Olive Oil – 4 tbsp
Lemon – ½, juiced
Salt and Pepper to taste
Roma Tomatoes – 1 can
Minced Onion – 2 tbsp
Minced Garlic – 2 cloves ea
Chipotle Pepper (can) – 1 tbsp
Olive Oil – 1 tbsp
Sliced Shitake Mushroom – 2 each
Sweet Potato – ¼ cup reserved from quiona
Arugula – 1 small handful
Olive Oil – drizzle
Lemon Juice – drizzle
1. Char and peel the poblanos - to begin we must char the poblanos so we can remove the skin and make it a bit more tender. Place the peppers over an open flame and let it sit. Turn the peppers once the skin is charred and you cannot see any more green. Do this until the whole pepper is charred and throw it into a paper bag to steam.
You don’t have to peel them right away…but when you are ready, simply remove the char from the pepper with your fingers and a paper towel. Make a small slit in the side of the pepper and remove the seeds. Now they are ready to stuff. Don’t wash them…that rinses away all the beautiful flavor.
2. Smokey tomatoes – This one is quite simple…in a sauce pan, sweat the onion and garlic. In a bowl crush the tomatoes with your hands and add it all to the pot with the chipotle pepper then cook on low until ready to serve.
3. Cook the quinoa - Begin by vigorously washing the quinoa three times. This prevents the quinoa from being bitter. Now we can mince the onion and garlic. In a sauce pot over medium heat begin to sweat the ingredients in 2 tbsp of olive oil.
Once the onion and garlic turns translucent and sweet, turn up the heat and add the quinoa. Stir it all around so it is evenly mixed and evenly coated with the oil. This will prevent it from globbing up. Now add your liquid (2 parts liquid to 1 part grain). Give the ‘broth’ a taste. It will most likely need a bit of salt. Note – always season the cooking liquid well…salt at the end just won’t taste the same.
Bring the quinoa to a boil. Then cover and turn the heat to the lowest setting. Let it cook for 20 min. Once it is done take the lid off and let it cool for a bit and ready to mix remaining ingredients.
4. Make it flavorful – to spice it up and add additional texture and depth of flavor we will add honey glazed sweet potato and sautéed mushroom.
Sweet potato – over medium heat cook the sweet potato in 1 tbsp of olive oil. Stir on occasion so they do not burn. Cook until they are nice and sweet and crispy… then add in the honey to glaze them and remove from heat. Reserve a ¼ cup for garnish.
Mushroom – add 1 ½ tbsp. of olive oil into a hot pan and drop the mushrooms in. Let them sit for one minute and then toss. Cook until golden brown and crispy and remove from heat and salt to taste. Do the same thing with the sliced mushroom and reserve for garnish.
Mix the quinoa – With a fork, flake the quinoa. Add the remaining ingredients and olive oil to a large mixing bowl and gently combine the ingredients. Season to taste.
5. Stuff the peppers – spoon the quinoa salad into the peppers and form into a nice full shape. Make sure the seam is facing down…
6. To finish – in a sauté pan place the peppers and add some tomato broth and chunks to the pan. Place in the oven for 15 min at 350 F.
7. To plate - place three spoons of tomato in the center of the plate. Then rest the poblano onto the tomato. Sprinkle the honey sweet potatoes all around the plate. Top the poblano and sweet potato with crispy mushrooms. Delicately place the arugula around the plate and finish with some extra virgin olive oil.