Roasted Poblano Peppers stuffed with Corriander Rice

23 01 2010

Roasted poblano peppers stuffed with coriander rice are mouth-watering and satisfying vegetarian substitutes for lunch or dinner.

Char the poblano peppers over an open fire if at all possible. The combination of smoky peppers, chili heat, spices and lime juice, with plenty of fluffy rice to soak it up, is mesmerizing and almost irresistible.

Preparation is easy, and only a quick toss is required to finish the dish.

The strong Tex-Mex overtones do not restrict this dish to a Texas or Mexican meal, but contribute interest to almost any cuisine. The heartiness of the peppers and rice replaces the hunger for meat. The result is a dish welcomed and enjoyed whenever it appears on your table.

Ingredients:

* 4 fresh poblano chilies, roasted and peeled
* 1/4 tsp whole coriander seeds
* 1/4 tsp whole cumin seeds
* Pinch of whole anise seeds
* 1/3 cup Basmati or other long-grain rice
* 1 Tbsp canola oil
* 1 Tbsp roasted pumpkin seeds, chopped
* 1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
* 1 tsp fresh lime juice
* 1/4 tsp ground ancho chili powder, or more to taste
* 1 cup pico de gallo

Preparation:

To roast the poblanos:

It is important that the poblanos are charred on the outside and still crisp inside. Do not overcook. The best way is, when the charcoal grill is very hot, place the poblanos directly on the grill and turn frequently with tongs. In about 5 minutes, they will be nicely colored on all sides, still crisp, with the flavor of the grill.

Remove the peppers from grill and place in a paper bag for about 15 minutes. The steam created will separate the charred skin from the flesh. Remove peppers from the bag, and slide the skin away with your fingers.

Do not wash the peppers; the oils and flavor on the peppers are vital to your dish, and any little bit of black char remaining add character and flavor.

Make a lengthwise slit in each pepper, leaving stems intact. Carefully remove and discard seeds.

Toast coriander and cumin seeds in small dry skillet over moderately-high heat until very aromatic, but not burned, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer seeds to a bowl and cool completely. Use a spice grinder or small coffee mill to grind toasted seeds with the anise seeds to a fine powder.

Cook rice in large saucepan of boiling salted water for about 16 minutes, or until al dente. Drain in a sieve, refresh with cold water to stop cooking, and spread rice to dry on a plate lined with paper towels.

Stir together rice, ground spices, oil, pumpkin seeds, cilantro, lime juice, and ancho powder in a small bowl until well combined.

Divide the rice mixture and gently place inside each pepper.

Serve at room temperature with pico de gallo spooned over the stuffed pobalnos.

PICO DE GALLO

Probably the most basic salsa, pico de gallo, should be served as soon as it is made. It does not improve with standing.

The recipe makes about one cup, but this chunky and easy salsa can be doubled or adjusted to your personal taste.

Ingredients:

* 1 large ripe tomato, seeded and chopped
* 1/4 cup finely chopped sweet white onion
* 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
* 1 to 3 Serrano chilies, seeded, if desired, and finely chopped (Remember, the heat is in the seeds and ribs.)
* 1 garlic clove, minced
* 1 tsp fresh lime juice, or more to taste

Preparation:

Stir all ingredients together in a bowl, season with coarse salt, and serve immediately.

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