Chicken, Brown Rice and Cheese-Stuffed Poblanos! Chicken, brown rice and two types of cheese are enveloped in earthy, roasted Poblano peppers, topped with a red chile sauce and yes, more cheese for the win!
Several years ago, I made Chicken, Brown Rice and Cheese-Stuffed Poblanos from leftovers and other ingredients I had on hand after discovering a new, amazing international market in our area called the Winchester Farmer’s Market.
We thoroughly enjoyed the dish, but as is often the case with dishes I throw together, I didn’t write the recipe down.
We love the deep, earthy flavor of Poblano peppers and can sometimes grow them successfully. In fresh form, the chilies are called Poblanos. If you purchase them dried, they are called Ancho peppers.
Most area grocery stores didn’t carry Poblanos when I first discovered the Winchester Farmer’s Market. If I did find them elsewhere, they were often past their prime from not selling because there didn’t seem to be a huge demand for them.
After another visit to that amazing market where I found some stunning Poblano peppers, I had to try to recreate that recipe from several years ago because it was that good. I did so successfully and here it is!
Chicken, brown rice and two types of cheese are enveloped in earthy, roasted Poblano peppers, topped with a red chile sauce and yes, more cheese!
How to roast Poblano peppers:
For this dish, you’ll want to remove as much of the waxy, papery skin as possible. To do that:
- Roast them until charred, black and blistery. You can do this under a broiler, but you’ll need to keep a close eye on them.
- Instead, I roast them in a super-hot 450-degree oven close to the heating element (which in my oven is at the top). It takes a little longer, but I don’t have to watch them as closely. Turn them as necessary to char them evenly. You’ll see the skin start to pull away from the rest of the pepper.
- You could also hold them over an open gas flame, but that takes way too much time for me.
- Immediately upon removing from the oven, place a sheet of aluminum foil or another baking sheet over the peppers to enclose them. The steam generated while the peppers are enclosed helps to separate the skin from the flesh of the pepper so it can be removed easily. If a little stays behind, don’t sweat it.
- When peeling and removing the seeds, resist the urge to do it under running water. It might make it easier to get the seeds out, but you’ll be rinsing away flavor. If it tears slightly, don’t worry–you can wrap the pepper around the filling and no one will ever notice because of the sauce and cheese.
You can lighten them up by using all reduced-fat cheese or simply use less cheese. For a vegetarian version, substitute black beans for the chicken and vegetable broth in the sauce.
Helpful tools and equipment to make Chicken, Brown Rice and Cheese-Stuffed Poblanos (Affiliate Links):
- 6 large Poblano peppers
- 2 tablespoons canola oil, plus more for oiling the pan
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 container (8-ounce) jalapeno-flavored cream cheese spread (such as Philadelphia brand) or 8 ounces ricotta cheese
- 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
- 2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese, divided
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Sour cream, for serving (optional)
- PEPPERS: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Position a rack close to the heating element, top or bottom. Place peppers on a baking sheet and roast 30 to 40 minutes, turning several times until blistered in numerous places. Immediately cover with foil and let sit for 30 minutes. ALTERNATE METHOD: Place under the broiler for 8-10 minutes, turning once.
- Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.
- While peppers are roasting and steaming, heat oil in a skillet or saute pan. Add onion and cook 6 to 8 minutes or until softened.
- Add garlic and cook very briefly (15 seconds). Remove from heat and stir in cream cheese spread. Stir until smooth and melted.
- Stir in cooked chicken, brown rice, 1 cup shredded cheese and salt and black pepper to taste. Set aside.
- Peel as much of the thin, papery skin from the peppers as possible.
- Cut a slit in the top and carefully remove seeds, leaving stem intact. (Don't worry if the pepper tears slightly; you can wrap around filling and cover with sauce....no one will notice.)
- Oil a baking dish large enough to hold all the peppers.
- SAUCE: In a medium saucepan, heat butter over medium-high heat. Stir in flour, reduce heat to medium and cook 2 to 3 minutes.
- Slowly add chicken broth, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and add tomato paste and spices. Simmer until thickened (it won't be terribly thick; I preferred it this way).
- Pour about 1/2 cup sauce in the bottom of the prepared baking pan.
- Fill peppers with even amounts of the filling and place in prepared baking dish. Pour remaining sauce over the top. Top with remaining cheese. Cover loosely with aluminum foil.
- Bake 25 to 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking 5 to 10 minutes or until cheese has melted and filling is heated through to 165 degrees. Serve with sour cream if desired.
TO MAKE AHEAD: Can be made up to 24 hours ahead and refrigerated. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Increase baking time to 35 to 40 minutes.
TO MAKE GLUTEN-FREE: Use cornstarch to thicken the sauce.
Amount Per Serving Calories 497 Total Fat 29g Saturated Fat 13g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 13g Cholesterol 99mg Sodium 801mg Carbohydrates 31g Net Carbohydrates 0g Fiber 5g Sugar 6g Sugar Alcohols 0g Protein 29g