These Stuffed Poblano Peppers combine the rich and mellow flavor of poblano peppers with flavorful seasoned ground beef, melty Monterey jack cheese and pinto beans for a Mexican-style stuffed pepper that is sure to impress! And if you love stuffed peppers, also check out my recipe for Italian-Style Slow Cooker Stuffed Peppers.
I seriously love stuffed peppers. Actually, I love all types of stuffed vegetables – winter squashes, zucchini, cabbage, you get the picture. But it seems like peppers are made for stuffing, with a hollow inside and a shape that’s just waiting to hold your favorite savory filling. They are an easy way to get a meal on the table – cut them in half, pull out the core, and stuff with your filling of choice. So simple.
The inspiration for this recipe came from my garden and the fact that I accidentally grew way more poblanos than I had anticipated and needed to get creative in finding ways to use them up. Happily, this recipe turned out to be a keeper – both easy and delicious (and if you don’t happen to have fresh poblano peppers growing in your garden, you can buy them at most supermarkets these days.)
First things first, let’s talk about a few of the ingredients:
Poblano peppers – Poblanos are a mild chile pepper with a thick skin. The skin is totally edible, but the texture can be unpleasant. Traditionally, poblanos are roasted until the skins are charred, and then the blackened skins are peeled away. Doing this adds a smoky flavor and also removes that thick skin. In this recipe, we can step this step because the peppers are roasted for nearly an hour, which is plenty of time to soften the skin. You don’t get the charred flavor, but you won’t miss it because the filling is so flavorful.
Are poblanos spicy, you ask? If you have never eaten a poblano and are wondering if they are spicy, the answer is not really. They have a little more heat than a bell pepper, but a lot less heat than a jalapeno. The seeds and ribs of a poblano can pack a bit of heat, but we are going to remove those (if your skin is sensitive to hot peppers wear some gloves when removing the seeds.) And if you can’t find poblano peppers or prefer a pepper with zero heat, just substitute bell peppers in place of the poblanos.
Ground Beef – I like to use 85% lean grass-fed ground beef. It’s lean, but not so lean that it’s totally dry. You can use whatever type of ground beef you prefer, just be sure to drain off any grease from the pan after browning the meat. Really, you can use any type of ground meat that you like – pork, chicken, turkey, bison or venison all work well. You can even use chorizo, but skip adding extra spices to the filling because chorizo is already packed with flavor.
Monterey Jack Cheese – I like the mild, slightly sweet flavor of Monterey Jack cheese, but you can substitute any kind of cheese that melts well like cheddar or Colby Jack. If you like a bit of extra heat, try using Pepper Jack cheese.
Pinto Beans – I use pinto beans in this recipe because I enjoy their earthy taste and creamy texture in the filling, but you can substitute black beans or any other bean of your choice. If you aren’t a fan of beans, leave them out and add in some corn or extra rice.
Smoked Paprika – Don’t be tempted into using regular sweet paprika here. The smoked paprika adds a smoky flavor and makes all of the difference in the flavor of the filling.
- The first thing to do is to cut the peppers in half, pull out the core and remove any white ribs and stray seeds from inside the pepper. And while some people like to leave the stem on, the stem really isn’t edible so I prefer to remove that, too. When cutting the pepper, keep the shape in mind. Poblano peppers tend to be irregularly shaped, so cut them in a way that makes each half into a shape that is good for stuffing.
- Before you start making the filling, have your rice cooked and ready to go. You will want the rice to be slightly undercooked so that it doesn’t overcook in the oven and disappear into the filling.
- This step is optional, but I like to garnish with fresh chopped cilantro and a sprinkling of queso fresco or feta cheese over the finished dish. And you can go wrong serving this with a lime wedge to squeeze over the pepper.
- If you are wondering what would be good to serve with these stuffed peppers, I find that a green salad and some chopped and roasted sweet potatoes are a great accompaniment.
If you try this recipe, I hope you love it. Please let me know in the comments below.
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For the filling:
- 8 ounces lean ground beef
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 8-ounce can of tomato sauce
- ¼ cup water
- 1 15-ounce can of pinto beans
- ¾ cup cooked white rice
- ¾ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
For the Stuffed Peppers
- 6 poblano peppers, halved
- 1 batch of the filling (from above)
- ½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- Queso fresco or feta cheese (optional)
- Chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
- Lime wedges (optional)
To make the filling:
- In a large skillet, brown the ground beef and onions over medium-high heat until the beef is cooked through and the onions are golden.
- Add garlic, chile powder, cumin, smoked paprika, and oregano to the beef and onions. Cook 1 minute.
- Reduce heat to medium-low. Add tomato sauce and water. Simmer for 10 minutes or until there is only 1-2 tablespoons of liquid left in the pan.
- Stir in pinto beans, rice, and cheese. Set aside.
To assemble the peppers:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a baking dish.
- Cut peppers in half and remove stems. Pull out core and any remaining seeds. If there are large ribs, remove those, too.
- Arrange peppers in baking dish. Stuff peppers with the filling.
- Cover dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes.
- Remove foil, top with remaining shredded cheese, and bake for another 10 minutes, or until cheese is lightly browned and bubbly.
- Allow to cool slightly and then serve. Garnish with a lime wedge, cilantro and queso fresco if desired.
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