Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Black Beans and Cheese
Stuffed peppers take on bright Mexican flavors and burrito-like heft in this vegetarian main dish. Instead of standard bell peppers, it calls for fresh poblanos—they’re green, rich, and ever-so-slightly spicy. You start by cooking fragrant long-grained basmati rice. After hollowing out the peppers, you turn your attention to the filling: mash cooked black beans so they end up with some texture, then mix in diced fresh tomato, scallions, crumbled Cotija cheese, sour cream, cilantro, and cumin. Carefully stir in the cooked rice and fill the poblanos. After about half an hour in a hot oven, they’re ready to serve, accompanied by cold beers or agua fresca.
Make-ahead note: You can stuff the peppers up to 4 hours ahead. Take them out of the fridge 30 minutes before cooking to let them come to room temperature.
For more, check out our Vegetarian Stuffed Red Bell Peppers, Chiles Rellenos, and Stuffed Red Bell Peppers with Ground Chicken.
- 1 cup uncooked basmati rice
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon plus 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 6 medium poblano peppers
- 1 cup cooked black beans
- 1 cup small-dice tomatoes (about 2 small tomatoes)
- 2/3 cup thinly sliced scallions (about 1/2 bunch), white and light green parts only
- 3/4 cup crumbled Cotija cheese (about 4 ounces)
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
1Place the rice in a colander or a fine-mesh strainer and rinse under cold water until the water runs clear. Combine the rice, measured water, and 3/4 teaspoon of the salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low; cook until the water is completely absorbed, about 10 minutes (the rice will be slightly undercooked). Remove the lid and set the pan aside to let the rice cool. Meanwhile, prepare the peppers.
2Use a paring knife to cut a wide circle around each stem (like when carving a jack-o’-lantern), so you end up with a cap that can be replaced once you’ve stuffed the peppers—be careful not to puncture or rip the peppers. Remove and discard any seeds and membranes from the cap and from the interior; set the peppers aside.
3Place the beans in a large bowl. Using a potato masher or the back of a fork, lightly mash them (some whole beans should remain).
4Add the tomatoes, scallions, Cotija, sour cream, cilantro, cumin, measured black pepper, and remaining tablespoon of salt and mix until evenly combined. Gently mix in the cooled rice. Taste the mixture and, if necessary, season with more salt and pepper. (Note that the filling should be quite salty to compensate for there being no salt on the peppers.)
5Divide the rice mixture into 6 equal portions. Stuff each pepper with the filling, replace the caps, and press each cap into the filling. Pierce 2 toothpicks through each cap and out the sides of each pepper to secure them while in the oven; set aside until ready to cook. (If you’re stuffing the peppers more than 30 minutes before grilling, cover and refrigerate them for up to 4 hours. Let the peppers sit at room temperature at least 30 minutes before grilling so that they cook faster and more evenly.)
6Heat the oven to 425°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Place the stuffed peppers on their sides on a baking sheet (make sure the peppers aren’t touching each other). Bake until the peppers are softened and a little blistered and the filling is heated through, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the toothpicks. If serving as a side dish, slice the peppers in half lengthwise.
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