A chicken stuffed poblano pepper made with peaches, almonds, apples and cilantro is a bit unique in texture, flavor, sweet juiciness, creaminess and bold heat.
This is the best healthy recipe combining chicken and poblano peppers that I have ever eaten. It’s a take off on Chiles Nogada, which my friend, Erin, has mastered. She’s of Scottish decent but makes the best Mexican and Latina dishes I’ve ever sampled. She knows how much I love it, so every time I visit her in California she makes it for me. It’s originally made with ground meat, spices, dried fruit, stuffed into poblano peppers and topped with a cold walnut sauce. I remember one time she made it with Morning Star vegetarian sausage and it was still amazing. This combination of dried fruit, juicy fruit, chiles, and whatever meat you like comes together under the cold sauce. Often it will have pomegranates, but it’s not the season for those right now.
I decided to change it up a bit and use chicken instead of ground meat, and avocado sauce instead of walnut sauce. It’s hard to make this dish not taste good. I have a prejudice about chicken and I almost always cook it on the bone. I grilled chicken breasts for this version, but chicken thighs would work well too. Or, this is the perfect dish to use your left over roast chicken. You might want a binder for the chicken filling. I didn’t do that, but I’m thinking a bit of the avocado sauce could do that or even a tablespoon of mayonnaise. This is the dish that you will make your own.
This is also my submission to the Creative Cooking Group where this month’s challenge was all about stuffing it. This really made me think, because I don’t stuff a lot of food. I did one very beautiful stuffed squash blossom last summer and I think that’s the only thing I’ve ever stuffed here.
Cooking with Poblanos
A word about cooking with poblanos. Did you ever notice that poblanos are temperamental. Sometimes they are kind of mild and other times, wow, they are hot. Poblano peppers register between 1,000 and 2,000 on the scoville scale. For a reference point, the bell pepper measures zero and the jalapeno measures 2,500 to 8,000. A habanero pepper measures 100,000 to 350,000, so in the world of chiles, poblanos are actually considered mild. When it comes to the poblano chiles, it can be a little bit of guessing game, and I always seem to pick the ones that are a bit hotter, which is why this dish is served with a cold sauce.
I have not yet perfected the fire roasting. At times I went too far and I had a hard time getting the charred skin off. The first attempt was to grill the peppers, which doesn’t do the job quickly enough. In the end, I just laid them on my gas stove. After I had my struggle, I read these great tips, and I’ll follow them the next time.
Often, stuffed poblano peppers come with a walnut sauce, but I wanted a pretty color and a very creamy sauce. I chanced the combination of avocado and coconut milk and it was delicious. The coconut milk did not overpower the sauce and the lime and cilantro, or in this case parsley, garnish pulled it all together. The most important part of the dish for me were the peaches. Peaches don’t cook down, so they remain intact, sweet and juicy, helping to offset the heat. In the end the dish is very balanced.
- 4 large poblano peppers
- 1 avocado
- ½ cup coconut milk (full fat)
- zest of 1 lime
- juice of one lime
- olive oil
- 1 large chicken boneless
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ cup sliced almonds
- 1 peach, peeled, diced
- ½ small green apple, diced
- 2 tablespoons dried peaches (can use apricots) or use 2 fresh peaches
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- Cilantro for garnish
- Roast peppers on grill or directly over fire of gas stove until charred. Carefully, using gloves, put in clean towel, rub to get skins off. Slit and take out seeds, rinse in cold water.
- Make Sauce and chill before making chicken filling.
- Mix avocado, coconut milk, salt, pepper, lime juice and lime zest in blender.
- Blend until creamy. Chill.
- Salt and Grill boneless chicken breast. Chop and set aside.
- In a pan saute onion for a few minutes. Add in garlic, and cook to golden.
- Add in peaches, apple, dried peaches, cinnamon, cilantro, chicken, salt and pepper and saute for a few more minutes until warmed through.
- Cool enough to stuff into poblano peppers.
- Warm in oven of 350 degrees until warmed through.
- Serve with cold avocado sauce.
- Garnish with Cilantro, lime zest (or parsley)