AKA the lazy vegan's chiles rellenos. Like any stuffed dish, these poblanos—filled with a delightfully rich and comforting mix of creamy almond pâté and sweet corn kernels—take a bit of effort to prep, but they're totally do-able, even on a weeknight. Also, best entertaining dish ever—serve with a little beans and rice and Palomas, with a mezcal digestif, and done. The peppers take a bit of time to cook in the oven, so if you really want to revel in your dinner, you have plenty of time to make a batch of fresh tortillas while that goes on. If you just can't find the energy, store-bought guys will do the trick on any given Tuesday.
I will note that there's a little messing with stuff in a hot skillet in order to get that tortilla glued around the roasted pepper, so if you're a brand-new cook, or tend to be extra timid with such things, you may want to wait until you have a day off and/or a kitchen buddy on hand. But it's well worth the effort, and way easier than frying battered peppers, so I encourage you not to let that deter you from trying these out.
To give credit where it's due, I've long had the notion of stuffed poblano tamales in my head, but I've been out of the tamal groove (tragedy!), and so they remained only a tasty dream. Then at La Cocina de Frida in a Oaxaca market, something was brought to the table.
See that little guy all wrapped up in the lower right corner? Genius. And so simple. I didn't taste that dish, since the poblano there was stuffed with cow's milk cheese, but I thought, why not? Why not, indeed?
When you shop for peppers, be sure to grab ones that will fit comfortably in your tortillas. I generally believe thick tortillas to be the absolute end, but in this case, a more standard thickness (or, if you're making your own, even a little thinner than store-bought) is the perfect amount of carbs to go along with your little green dreamboat. So for maximum deliciousness, you'll want a single tortilla to wrap around the pepper and seal in front (unlike that picture up top where there's an extra tortilla glued in at the bottom because that pepper was too large—whoops).
Look at that guy. So good. First one to try it on an outdoor grill instead of a skillet wins summer.
Tortilla-Wrapped Poblanos Stuffed with Corn and Almond Pâté
4 small-medium poblano peppers, washed and dried
100 grams blanched almond meal
3 TBSP lime juice
1/3 cup unsweetened soy milk
2 TBSP canola (or other neutral vegetable) oil
1 scallion, trimmed and thinly sliced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried Mexican oregano
2/3 cup frozen (or fresh) sweet corn kernels
olive oil, for drizzling
4 corn tortillas, freshly made or store-bought
1 tsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp water
Begin by preparing the peppers. Slice the pepper lengthwise down the center, stopping before you get to the tip. Make two more cuts at the top, cross-wise, to give yourself some room to work, but leave the back half of the pepper top attached. Use a paring knife to cut away the seeds and veins, as best you can. Repeat with remaining peppers and set aside.
Heat oven to 400. Have an 8x8" square (or similarly-sized) nonstick dish ready.
Add almond meal, lime juice, milk, oil, scallion, salt, and oregano to a food processor and process until smooth. Remove blade and stir in corn. Spoon mixture into peppers. Do not overstuff, since the almond mixture will puff a bit during cooking.
Transfer filled peppers to baking dish and drizzle lightly and evenly with olive oil. Bake 45 minutes, until filling is cooked (it will be creamy, but not wet) and peppers are roasted and well browned in spots. Set aside.
When ready to serve, heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. While it heats, stir together flour and water in a small bowl to form a paste.
Add a tortilla to the skillet to warm it until pliable, just about half a minute. Carefully place a pepper atop it, cut-side up. Use tongs to pull one side of the tortilla up over the pepper and hold it in place with your hand. Use a finger to spread a dollop of flour paste on the top of the tortilla edge, then pull the other side of the tortilla up (using the tongs again) and press gently to glue it in place. With still holding the tortilla edges to keep them together, carefully turn the whole thing over so that the folded side is now at the bottom of the skillet and press very gently to ensure both ends are secured by the weight of the pepper. (This sounds far more complicated than it is—do it once and you'll have it down). The heat will take care of the rest and seal your tortilla once the paste is cooked. Let cook a couple of minutes, until golden, then carefully flip and brown the other side. Carefully transfer to a serving dish with a wide spatula. Repeat with remaining peppers and serve.