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Poblanos Stuffed with Cheddar and Chicken

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Serves 4

  • To learn more, read:
    The Rules of Melting Cheese
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 97

These are not the stuffed peppers of your childhood—they're better. Poblano chiles are rich and flavorful with a mild to medium heat. Using leftover cooked chicken and rice speeds up the already quick prep. 

  • 4 large poblano chiles
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 medium white onion, chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano, crumbled
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • Generous pinch ground cinnamon
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken, preferably dark meat
  • 1-1/2 cups cooked brown or white rice
  • 2 cups grated sharp or extra-sharp white Cheddar (about 7 oz.)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (including some tender stems)
  • 1 Tbs. lime juice

Position an oven rack about 4 inches from the broiler and heat the broiler on high. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil.

Slit the chiles from stem to tip and set on the baking sheet. Broil, turning every few minutes, until blackened all over, 5 to 8 minutes. Let cool slightly, peel off the skins, and cut out the seed cores, leaving the stems on. Turn the chiles inside out, flick out any remaining seeds, and turn right side out. Return the poblanos to the baking sheet.

Purée the tomatoes, onion, garlic, oregano, cumin, cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp. salt in a food processor. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the purée and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid has evaporated and the mixture looks thick and pulpy, 8 to 11 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the chicken and rice, and then 1 cup of the cheese, the cilantro, and the lime juice. Season to taste with salt. Divide the filling among the peppers, wrapping the sides of the peppers up and around the filling, some of which will still be exposed.

Broil the peppers until the cheese is melting and the top is beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Top with the remaining 1 cup cheese and broil until the cheese is completely melted, about 2 minutes.

Serving Suggestions

Jícama, Radish, and Pickled Shallot Salad with Feta is the perfect way to start this meal.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 510; Fat (g): fat g 28; Fat Calories (kcal): 250; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 14; Protein (g): protein g 37; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 9; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 28; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2.5; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 570; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 125; Fiber (g): fiber g 5;

Photo: Scott Phillips

This was EXCELLENT! I used black rice instead of brown, fresh tomatoes instead of canned and I also braised chicken breast (in taco seasoning) instead of dark meat. This was seriously good...

What a great stuffed pepper recipe! I've tried many but this is right on the mark. Very Mexican. Instead of fresh tomatoes I used a can of flame grilled. I did not cook all the moisture out of the tomato/ onion mixture as I prefer things moist. Also, I added a jalapeño pepper to the tomatoes as we like a little spice. Chicken thighs are my favorite, but I poached a chicken breast as that's what I had on hand. Could not have been better, and that's quite a compliment coming from me!

It was really good. My husband likes spicy food so I also made some jalapeño pepper ones.

Great way to use leftover chicken. Excellent flavor!

Up there with one of my husbands favorites! (not any easy task). Easy recipe and delicious. I added canned diced tomatoes in puree and substituted some leftover risotto. I sauteed some smaller cuts of portobello shrooms and added some cayenne for more heat. I will make up a handful of them and freeze for an easy weeknight meal.

Really great and satisfying.....Another twist I tried on 2nd time making them......after peppers have been stuffed, try dipping them in batter and frying...like chile rellenos......the filling is nice and hot, and they are crispy and crunchy on outside.....these are the BOMB!!!!

We made these today for Father's Day, it turned out wonderful. We made the following changes: we let the sauce get thicker & piecred a hot pepper & cooked in the sauce. We also put extra rice in the dish & covered it w/cheese & enchilada sauce. We chose not to use chicken & it was still very good. We covered it w/foil & baked it for 40, uncovered it for 15 minutes. I suggest don't over broil the peppers or they'll fall apart. Great recipe :-)

We made these today for Father's Day, it turned out wonderful. We made the following changes: we let the sauce get thicker & piecred a hot pepper & cooked in the sauce. We also put extra rice in the dish & covered it w/cheese & enchilada sauce. We chose not to use chicken & it was still very good. We covered it w/foil & baked it for 40, uncovered it for 15 minutes. I suggest don't over broil the peppers or they'll fall apart. Great recipe :-)

The poblanos were very fragile and I ended up having pieces of them that I wrapped around the filling. That was the only negative though. I modified the recipe a bit: browned then braised bone-in chicken thighs in the drained juice from canned, diced tomatoes then used the tomatoes for the sauce instead of fresh (It is March, after all). I also blanched red and green peppers to stuff for my children who are afraid of spice. Finally, like others, I heated the peppers and filling in a hot oven instead of the broiler and served with some slice avocado. Leftovers will probably be served with salsa and sour cream.

It is a delicious recipe! My poblanos were not too hot so for next time I will make sure to add a small habanero! :)

Have made this twice now, and change it up just a touch; dusted and grilled 3 boneless skinless chicken thighs (paprika/garlic salt/chipotle chili/cumin) for 6 mins/side on med heat, then chopped/shredded for the mix. Grill/char the poblanos, and don't turn them inside out. Also used pepperjack instead of cheddar. Put in the oven on a lined sheet for 15 at 350 and then dust with remaining cheese and a 5 min low broil.

this was excellent. i used about 1.25c grated cheddar (1c in the rice mix and .25c sprinkled on top of the final product)and didn't feel like it needed any extra. Will def. be making these again. Also - used a combo of dark & white meat from grilled chicken leftovers.

This one will be kind of Rich Little on the old Tonight Show; it'll show up on our table every couple of months or so. I too, did not turn the peppers inside-out. I found that the seeds tended to want to stick to my fingers, so they were easy to remove. Other than additional cheese, I followed the recipe pretty close. Next time, I may cut back on the chicken and add some turkey sausage. There are several variations that come to mind though. Also, I think this one may be a great way to use left-over Thanksgiving turkey; we'll see this Fall. This recipe is going to be fun to play with. We had about 1-1/2 of these left over. I removed the stems and coursely chopped the peppers. Then scooped some into a flour tortilla, rolled it up and tucked in the ends. These were fried crisp in canola oil. It turned out to be a really good twist on our usual chimichanga recipe!

Great recipe. I use gloves when I prepare pablano's in this way I spare my skin. I have used Italian sausage stuffed peppers also. I enjoy the recipes and so does the family.

Delicious! We didn't flip the peppers inside out becuase they were weak, instead we just scooped out the seeds with a spoon. I wasn't sure about the cinnamon either, but it all blended together perfectly.

Such a delicious recipe! I made it as specified the first time. This time I chopped the peppers and baked like a casserole. Great way to use leftovers from a baked chicken!

Excellent! Great flavor. I had a bit of a challenge handling and peeling the peppers, but it was well worth the effort.

This recipe was so good! Taking a cue from some earlier reviewer(s), I doubled the sauce and I was glad that I did. I topped the peppers with salsa verde and avocado before serving. I didn't think I was going to like the cinnamon, but it really added a nice flavor. I did add a bit of cayenne to the sauce too just because I felt it needed heat. Preparing the chiles was time consuming, but worth it. Next time I'll prepare my chicken thighs the night before to save time.

Great recipe. Yum!

YUM!! Blackened the peppers on the grill, also grilled three boneless, skinless chicken thighs for the stuffing. Will definitely make again.

My girlfriend loved this, and so did I!! We have never tried pablanos before and you can bet we will be using them again. Such a wounderfull sweet tast with a perfect bit of heat!!

Love it!

My husband inhaled his! Nice spiciness, relatively easy execution and the cinnamon was a really lovely touch. At only 510 calories a servings covered in cheese, with a little restraint it could be a down right guilt free dinner staple :)

FLAWLESS! This recipe rocks. It can inspire a home cook to create all sorts of stuffed poblano variations. Great execution.

Wonderfull recipe, we charred the peppers on the grill, best stuffed peppers so far.

I really like this recipe but have adjusted it since the first time I made it. I use half of the rice called for and add about a cup of black beans and some corn. For the sauce I use 1 28 oz can of the fire roasted tomatoes instead of the fresh tomatoes. I also increase the spice amounts. I like the extra sauce. Also instead of broiling at the end I cook for 15-20 minutes in a 425 degree oven. This warms everything back up and makes the cheese nice and melty. The avocado tomatillo salsa on this site is great on top.

A very good recipe, I think for my taste, I would add some extra cumin and maybe something for more heat.

Great flavor, only made one mistake cooked the poblanos to long and they became to soft had to get more.

I made the brown rice in the rice cooker and had the same problem as the other reviewer, my stuffing cooled down so I just tossed everything back in the rice cooker to keep it warm while I assembled the rest of the dinner. I didn't add the chicken to the stuffing because I was serving grilled chicken tacos and used the stuffed poblanos as a side dish. Next time I do that I will use smaller poblanos because this dish is nice and filling. Wasn't sure I would like the cinnamon and oregano with the cumin but it was delicious. This would be great as part of a buffet, I bet the poblanos could be stuffed the day before, warmed and then broiled till golden. I'd wear gloves for a large quantity though.

I've made these twice. My family loved them. Preparing the chiles is a little time consuming, but well worth it. The filling had cooled off and I realized broiling wouldn't heat them enough, so put them in the oven for about 10 minutes before briefly broiling to toast the cheese.

Excellent recipe. When serving, I did top it off with sour cream and some fresh tomatoes. Next time I want to try a little enchilada sauce or salsa verde on top. Delicious.

When I first saw the recipe I knew I had to make it and was it ever delicious. We had our son and his family to dinner and everyone raved. It was easy to make and didn't take much time to assemble, the longest time was doing the peppers but then I just held them over the gas burner and that worked better for me then the broiler. Thank you for a great keeper recipe (I have passed it along to many friends).

We loved them. I didn't use quite as much cheese.

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