Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Southwestern Poblano Peppers Stuffed with Chipotle Pinto Beans and Wheat Berries over Tomatillo Hot Sauce: Recipe

This recipe is a bit long. The name of the dish is long, and the recipe itself is long. But don't let that frighten you off. It's pretty simple and straightforward: it just requires a lot of description to lay out all the steps. I've offered a recipe synopsis so you can get a sense of what's involved.

Again, do not be frightened. This is an easy recipe. It takes a long time, but most of that is just letting things simmer on the stove. Have a good movie (like Kamikaze Girls) to watch while you're making it! It's worth it!

Recipe Synopsis: Make the wheat berries. Make the beans. Stir them together with cheese. Stuff into blanched poblano peppers. Bake. Serve with tomatillo sauce.

8 poblano peppers
1/2 cup wheat berries (or rye-, kamut-, spelt-, berries etc)
1 cup pinto beans

olive oil
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon coriander
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced

1 cup grated mild cheese, such as Monterey Jack or Cheddar
3 tablespoons chipotle peppers in adobe sauce (available in most Mexican markets and often in the Mexican section of grocery stores)
salt and pepper

8 ounces tomatillos (small green tomatoes with papery husks. Again, available at Mexican markets and in some grocery stores)
1/2 small white onion
5 sprigs fresh cilantro
1 green chili pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. If you don't have a pressure cooker, the night before (or at least 8 hours before) you begin this recipe, soak the wheat berries and pinto beans separately in water to cover.

2. Drain and rinse the wheat berries.

3. Put them in a pot with water to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer until soft, 1 to 2 hours.

4. Alternately, put unsoaked wheat berries in the pressure cooker with 1 1/2 cups water. bring to high pressure and cook for 50 minutes.

5. Drain the cooked wheat berries and set aside in a large mixing bowl.

6. Drain and rinse the soaked pinto beans.

7. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot and add the onions, garlic, celery, and carrot. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until vegetables start to soften.

8. Throw in the hot pepper, ground cumin and coriander, and the fresh parsley. Stir and cook for another minute.

9. Add the pinto beans and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil and simmer until soft, 1 to 2 hours.

10. Alternately, for a pressure cooker, cook the vegetables and spices as directed above, then add the beans and water. Bring to full pressure and cook for 30 minutes or until beans are soft.

11. Drain the pintos if they've got a lot of water. Add the beans to the wheat berries. Add salt (about 1 1/2 teaspoons or to taste) some freshly ground pepper and the cheese. Add the chipotles in adobe sauce, being sure to break up any large peppers with a fork or a knife! Stir well and taste for seasoning.

12. Cut off the tops of the poblanos and remove the seeds and cratilage. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and blanch the poblanos in it for five minutes.

13. Drain the poblanos and rinse them thoroughly in cold water to stop them from cooking. Pat them dry and stand them upside down (as best you can) to let any remaining water drain out.

14. Stuff the peppers, place them in an oiled baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

15. While the peppers are baking, make your tomatillo sauce.

16. Peel the husks away from your tomatillos. Put them in a pot of water to cover and bring them to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the tomatillos have turned a pale goldish-green.

17. Drain. Put the tomatillos in a blender or food processor with the cilantro, white onion, green chile and salt. Blend until you have a smooth sauce. Put the sauce in the fridge until the peppers are ready.

18. When the peppers are done, spoon a bit of the tomatillo sauce onto an empty plate. Place a stuffed pepper onto the sauce then top with a dollop of sour cream (or yogurt) and sprinkle with freshly minced cilantro.

19. Serve and enjoy!


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