This originated as a throw-together meal with leftover ingredients from my last batch of chili. It came out, ok, but with definite room for improvement.* Today I made take two and it came out substancially better.
2 large cans of whole tomatoes in puree
1 can of tomato puree
1 lb. chorizo
1/2 lb. chihuahua cheese
1-2 medium onions
1-2 bunches cilantro
4 poblano peppers
7 jalapeno peppers
First up, brown the chorizo and break it up into little bits.
After meat is browned, move it to a colander in a bowl that will allow the ample fat to drain off as the meat cools.
While the meat is cooling, prepare to caramelize as much onion as you might like. I only ended up using one because the second turned out to be well past it’s prime. Just remember that no matter how much it looks like you have before you cook, onions reduce down to next to nothing. After the onions are done to your liking, take them off the heat and let them cool.
While the onion is caramelizing (could be 15-30 minutes depending on how you like to go about it), get to grating that chihuahua. It’s a relatively soft cheese so keep it in the fridge until you are ready to work with it for best results. The grating/shredding doesn’t have to be pefect by any means as it is a great melter, but the colder and quicker you work, the easier and less messy it will be. I only grated about 3/4 of what I purchased (a little over 1/2 lb) and had more than enough. Cheese it up to your personal preference.
Once your cheese is grated it can go into the fridge. Same goes for the onions and chorizo. Once they have come down in temperature, mix them together into a bigger bowl. Set aside some of the mixture for the sauce (maybe between 1/2 cup and a full cup…use your eyes…you know how much stuffing you have and how many peppers you have to stuff) and put the rest in the fridge.
The sauce is simple as can be. Pour all 3 cans of tomato product into a pot. Slit a jalapeno lengthwise 4 times and toss it in. Add in the reserved chorizo and onion. Chop up as much parsley as you like. I used one small bunch. I have no idea how much that actually came out to be. I make this shit up as I go along, so can you. After that, salt and pepper is all I added beacuse I am a minimalist and I like a nice, bright, clean tomato sauce for this, but go crazy with whatever additions you would like. This sauce will not be spicy, so if you like it hot, grab the cayenne or Guatemalan insanity peppers.
Put the spurs to it. Bring it to a hard simmer or boil and back off the heat. Keep it on low heat as long as you like, bearing in mind that it is not hard to burn tomato sauce. I took it off the heat completely when I wasn’t going to be around to stir it and make sure that it wasn’t bubbling. Not a nice feeling to walk into your kitchen and see that overly high heat has not only ruined your sauce, but it’s repainted every flat surface in your kitchen in a quaint abbatoir motif.
Once you are ready to get your stuff on, take your cheese, onions and meat out of the fridge and combine. Mix em up real good like and turn your oven to 350.
Set that decliciousness aside, get out your cutting board, your rubber gloves, your favorite big knife and your favorite paring knife because it is time to prep the peppers. Cut off the tops and discard. We won’t be using them. Dig out the clump of seeds and use the paring knife to cut or scrape out as much of the pithy membrane crape as possible. If the walls of the jalapenos are thicker than normal, scrape them down with the paring knife so they are a little thinner and will cook evenly. Shouldn’t be necessarry with the poblanos. Get them hollowed out nice and clean. Although you sacrfice heat, I pick out bigger jalapenos for this dish just because they are easier to work with and obviously provide more to eat.
Next comes the fun part. Stuffing. I had more stuffing than I needed, so I packed that shit in tight. Common sense should dictate here, obviously. Make sure you spread it out enough to fill every pepper, keeping in mind that one poblano will take like double or triple what one jalapeno does.
Make sure your sauce is warming while you’re stuffing. Once they are stuffed and all lined up in nice neat little rows, ladle the heated sauce over the peppers. I try to cover as much of the open end of the peppers as possible. If your baking dish allows complete submersion, that works for sure. I had the jalapenos and poblanos separated beacuse we have a friend with Chron’s and my idea of mild is her idea of 6-8 hours of crippling pain and diarrhea, but I would imagine you could cram all this into a 9×13 Pyrex baking dish and the sauce would cover a little better.
Ok. Toss these fuckers in the oven and set your timer for 30 minutes. At the 30 minute mark, take them out and flip them.
After you have flipped them, return them to the hotbox and reset your timer for 30 more minutes. After that 30 minutes, it is up to you to determine if they need more time. Flip them one more time and see how much resistance the undersides of the jalapenos offer to a fork. If they are tender enough for you, then take them out. If you think they need more time, by all means give them more.
I made spanish rice to accompany it tonight. The kind of spanish rice that comes out of a box. It was pretty damn good. Maybe for next time I will learn to make actual spanish rice, though.
*I asked for Rick Bayless’ opinion on Twitter. He suggested the caramelized onions and queso anejo, which I was unable to find at my local grocery, which is why I substituted chihuahua.