Stuffed Poblanos with Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Serves 2-3

Poblano peppers are not hot but very flavoursome and later we found them much much nicer than a standard green bell pepper which can be bitter and indigestible. Poblanos have a fresh, subtle taste.

Tomatillos are a common ingredient in authentic Mexican cuisine. They are also known as husk tomatoes and are related to the Cape Gooseberry or Physalis. They’re the size of a large tomato, green and encased in a paper lantern-like structure. The flavour is fruity, fresh and tangy, reminiscent of pineapples with a hint of kiwi fruit.

Ingredients

For the Tomatillo Salsa

  • 250g fresh tomatillos (about 4 large ones)
  • 1 garlic clove, skin left on
  • 1 jalapeño chilli
  • handful coriander leaves
  • quarter white onion, finely chopped
  • juice half lime
  • salt

For the Stuffed Poblanos

  • 4 green poblano chillies
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • generous pinch ground cinnamon
  • generous pinch ground cumin
  • pinch chilli powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • handful raisins
  • 250g good quality minced beef
  • handful green olives, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp dried tarragon
  • handful coriander leaves and stalks, chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • sour cream or creme fraiche to serve

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Method

To make the salsa
Peel the husk from the tomatillos and wash them under cold running water and pat dry.

Place a heavy based frying pan over a medium heat and add the whole tomatillos, jalapeño and garlic until they start to blacken and blister slightly. Turn them over to roast evenly. You will have to remove the garlic and jalapeño before the tomatillos as they will roast more quickly. Just be sure to watch that they don’t burn too much.

Rinse the chopped onion in a sieve under cold running water, Leave to drain.

Peel the garlic and remove the stalk from the jalapeño. If you want a milder salsa remove the seeds and membrane, if you like it hotter leave them in.

Remove the tomatillos from the pan and allow to cool slightly before quartering them. Drop them into a food processor along with the garlic, jalapeño, onion, coriander and lime juice. Chop/pulse them briefly so that you end up with a coarse consistency.

Season to taste with salt.

Put in the fridge until ready to use.

To make the stuffed poblanos
You will need to remove the skin from the poblanos. This can be done by either placing them under a very hot grill or holding over a direct gas flame (using tongs) until the skin blackens and blisters. Place the peppers in a bowl covered with cling film or put them into a sealed plastic bag and leave them for 5 minutes or so.
You can now remove the majority of the skin by rubbing it off under a slow running tap. Set to one side while you make the filling.

Preheat the oven to 200C / Gas 6 and place an oven proof dish in to heat up.

Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan. Add the onion and garlic and fry gently until soft and translucent.

Add the cinamon, cumin, chilli powder, oregano and raisins and fry gently for a further 1-2 minutes.
Add the mince and tarragon and cook the meat until golden brown.
Stir in the tomato puree and olives, cover and cook on a low heat for about 10 minutes, adding a little water if mixture seems too dry. The mince should be moist but not wet.

Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped coriander and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Take each poblano and make a slit lengthways in one side, being careful not to cut through the bottom.
Remove the seed core. This can be a little tricky and you will need to use a small knife to release it and then twist the seed core out with your fingers.

Take spoonfuls of the mince mixture and pack well inside each of the poblanos.
Remove the heated dish from the oven and place the poblanos in it. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 10 minutes until they’re heated through.

Serve with a blob of sour cream or creme fraiche over them and finish with a generous spoonful of the tomatillo salsa.

NOTES ON INGREDIENTS
Both Poblano peppers and tomatillos are grown by Edible Ornamentals at their nursery in Bedfordshire. Rows of  big poly-tunnels are home to dozens of varieties of chillies which you can go and pick yourself or pick up at their shop when in season.

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