Stuffed poblano peppers are a great way to make a pot of chili more interesting, whether you’re having guests or just using up some leftovers. This is not a quick recipe because there is a lot of preparation, but your hard work will pay off!
The chili in this recipe is mildly spicy. If you’d like for it to be hotter, stir in a chopped chipotle pepper (in adobo sauce) to the chili mixture before it goes into the oven.
This recipe is part of our feature on U.S. Wellness Meats, “Music and Meals to Warm You Up“. Visit their website for free-range chicken, grass-fed beef, and other great products! Also, special thanks to our friends Susan and David for the inspiration for this recipe!
- 3 lbs U.S. Wellness Meats Grass-fed Stew Beef (or chuck roast, cut into cubes)
- 2-3 tablespoons U.S. Wellness Meats Beef Lard
- kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 sweet onion, coarsely chopped
- 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder (recipe for Nancy’s Chili Powder below)
- 2 cups diced tomatoes or tomato puree
- 2 cups beef broth
- 6 large poblano peppers
- 10 ounces Queso Quesadilla, grated (or another Mexican melting cheese)
- Condiments for serving: fresh lime, sour cream, extra cheese, pumpkin seeds
Preheat oven to 350F. Place the stew beef in a large bowl and season generously with salt and pepper. Toss well. (Note: if you are using chili powder containing salt, you may want to omit the salt in this step.)
In a large Dutch oven (or other oven-proof pot), heat 2 tablespoons of beef lard over medium-high heat. Working in batches, brown the stew meat in the lard. Do not crowd the beef in the pot or it will steam instead of browning. Remove each batch of browned beef to a clean bowl. Add more lard to the pot, as needed to brown all the stew beef.
After browning the beef, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Saute the chopped onion until softened, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently to loosen the fond (browned bits on the bottom) from the pot. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant (about a minute). Return the stew beef and accumulated juices to the pot. Add the chili powder and stir well so that the chili powder coats the meat. Stir in the diced tomatoes and beef broth. Bring to a simmer, then cover and move the pot to the oven.
Cook the chili for around 2 hours, or until the meat is very tender. Close to the end of the cooking time, partially uncover the pot so that the liquid will reduce, but do not let the chili become dry. It should be saucy, but not soupy. When meat is done, remove from oven and set aside until cool enough to comfortably handle.
In the meantime, wash the peppers and dry thoroughly. Turn on the hood if you’re roasting on the stove top! (If you don’t have a gas range, you can also put them under the broiler in the oven, or use a grill outdoors.)
Using tongs, place the pepper over the flames (or under the broiler). Turn frequently, until the entire pepper is well-charred. Place the blackened peppers in a paper bag (watch out that there are no embers on the peppers!) and roll the top of the bag closed. This will allow the peppers to steam and continue to cook. Put the bag aside and allow the peppers to cool. [If you don't have a bag, you could wrap them in paper towels and place in a glass bowl to cool.]
When cool enough to handle, peel the charred skin from the peppers with your fingers. It may help to use some running water to get the skin off, but be careful not to get the peppers too wet or you’ll dilute their flavor. It’s okay if there’s some charred skin left here and there on the pepper, and it’s okay if they tear a little in places. Slice the peppers open on one side, remove the stem, and lay them out flat to scrap out the seeds and white ribs. Dry the peppers with paper towels.
When ready to assemble, heat the oven to 400F. Fill each pepper down the center with chili, fold the pepper “sides” over the top of the chili so that the chili is enveloped by the pepper. Place each pepper into a shallow baking dish. Sprinkle cheese over the peppers (reserve some cheese for serving). Return to the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until hot throughout and the cheese is lightly browned. (There may be leftover chili – perfect for lunch on another day!)
Serve hot, with limes, sour cream, additional cheese, and a sprinkling of roasted pumpkin seeds. Enjoy!
Nancy’s Chili Powder (no-salt)
- 2 1/2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
- 1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 3/4 teaspoon hot, smoked, Spanish paprika
- 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1 teaspoon granulated onion
- 1 1/2 teaspoons raw (turbinado) sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Store in a lidded glass jar at room temperature.
A bit of “south of the border” spiciness in our dinner, and in the music to boot! Mexican-American Border Music, Vol. 1: Pioneer Recording Artists (1928-1958) is a great collection of early Tex-Mex music. You can hear strains of Tejano and country music in it, and it’s passionate and vibrant- sorta like the peppers!