Saturday, November 17, 2018

Thanksgiving leftovers? Try Turkey Stuffed Roasted Poblano Peppers with Chipotle Crema

I love this stuffed roasted poblano pepper recipe for using leftover turkey. It's for pepper lovers only, however. Although you could substitute a mild green bell pepper if you must.

Why would I even think about turkey leftovers when Thanksgiving is still a few days away?

Short answer: I'm anal.

Longer: I volunteered, in a diminished moment, to make gravy at the legendary - to about 25 friends and family - four-day Thanksgiving blow-out at a rented Southern Oregon property near Selma, OR. This will be our 11th year of fantastic food and fun.

I roasted a turkey a few days ago so I could collect the juices and browned bits for proper gravy making. Most of the turkey is now in the freezer, along with the gravy. But I had an ample packet of leftover turkey in the frig just begging for a new approach.

Earlier, I'd purchased three large peppers with no particular recipe in mind. I needed to use them so I Googled: turkey and poblanos.

A great-looking recipe appeared on this blog - Joyful Healthy Eats, a professional cooking blog with great photos, sponsors and all that. 

Turkey Stuffed Poblanos with Avocado Crema - click for the original recipe

The recipe was the jumping off point for what turned out to be a keeper. I did make some significant changes to the original, however.

Primary among them was roasting the peppers and using leftover roasted turkey rather than raw ground turkey. I think roasting makes the peppers taste better and also eliminates the tough skin, which comes off easily after roasting. I subbed chipotle crema for avocado crema and used sliced avocados on the side. Prepared (homemade) salsa made flavoring the stuffing easy. 
Poblanos roasting on a gas range. They may also be roasted in the oven with an electric or gas stove. I first saw the stovetop roasting in Mexico when a group of friends rented a house for a week and we splurged a couple times to hire a neighborhood woman/chef to prepare dinner. I was fascinated by the roasting method and at home gave it a try. It's easy, and so is clean-up. Just make sure your vent fan is working.

Perfectly roasted poblano peppers. Well, almost perfect. Still a bit of green where
the tough skin will stick. To finish the pepper prep, run the pepper under cool water, rubbing gently to remove the skin. Cut the stem end close to the top, and pull out the seeds and membranes. Rinse well and drain before filling. 

The original recipe is linked above; mine with alterations follows.

Turkey Stuffed Roasted Poblanos with Chipotle Crema 

This recipe will feed two generously.

3 large fresh poblano peppers (often confused with pasilla peppers), roasted
1 cup chopped roasted turkey, white or dark
1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup cooked basmati rice (or whatever you have)
1/2 pint, or more, prepared salsa 
3 heaping tablespoons of prepared artichoke, jalapeno and Parmesan dip
1/2 cup raw onion, chopped
smoked paprika for sprinkling
cilantro, trimmed
1/4 cup chopped and seeded jalapenos (optional!)
One medium avocado, sliced and spritzed with lemon or lime and a bit of salt
Sliced or grated cheese (cheddar, pepper jack, Monterey) as much as you prefer

Turkey, raw onion, beans, rice, salsa, and artichoke,  jalapeno, Parmesan dip mixed.

Prep time about 20 minutes - bakng time, 30 minutes

Preheat oven to 350

Wash and dry the peppers. 

Roast the peppers, 10 minutes or less. If you have a gas stove, turn a burner or two on high, place the peppers directly on the burner, and turn with tongs until the skins are evenly blackened.

When using an electric stove, place the peppers on a rack close to the oven broiler set on high. Turn to blacken evenly and remove from oven. 

Either method set the peppers aside on a rack for at least five minutes to cool. Don't overroast the peppers; you want them to be pliable but not mushy or falling apart.

While waiting for peppers to cool, mix together the chopped (or shredded) turkey, beans, rice, salsa, raw onion, and the artichoke, jalapeno, Parmesan dip. If you don't have this dip, substitute with mayonnaise and a bit of grated cheese to moisten and flavor the stuffing. Or you can add more prepared salsa. 

When peppers are cooled enough to handle, cut off the stem ends close to the top and pull out the seeds and membranes. Rinse, making sure to remove all the hot little seed devils. Spoon the stuffing into the peppers, shaking gently to fill the peppers evenly.

If the peppers aren't large enough to be used whole, slice open, fill with turkey mixture, then fold over and secure with wooden toothpicks. 

Sprinkle the peppers with smoked paprika, if you like. 

Ready to bake.

Arrange the peppers in an ungreased casserole dish and put them into the preheated oven. Set timer for 25 minutes.

When timer dings, remove the dish from oven and apply sliced or grated cheese and return to the oven for five more minutes to allow cheese to melt.
The stuffing I couldn't fit into the peppers was fine cooked outside.
 I used sliced pepper jack cheese.

Serve immediately with sliced avocado, fresh cilantro, salsa, and chipotle crema. We like a roasted tortilla on the side with diced chilies, onions, and cheese.

Chipotle crema anyone?

This is a staple at our house. Although we make it with our homegrown dried and smoked (then reconstituted) red ripe jalapenos (AKA chipotles), it's much easier to make with canned chipotles in adobo sauce.

How to Make It
  • Use two to three canned peppers and a tablespoon or so of the adobo sauce. Depends upon how hot you like it. The unused portion can be frozen.
  • Dice or process the peppers finely.
  • Measure roughly equal amounts of mayo, plain yogurt, and sour cream and mix with the peppers. I usually use half a cup of each.
  • Add a bit of lemon or lime juice, if you like. Or more adobo, if you want it spicier.
  • Adjust everything to your taste
I also add serrano or garlic chili sauce. Chipotle crema is something to play with until you get it right for you and others who'll be using it. We're a hot-food loving little family.

The crema keeps in the refrigerator for up to a month. But it rarely lasts that long.

If you try the recipe, please let me know what you may have done to make it better!

More turkey leftover recipes

Pain in the ass turkey soup and an epiphany

Turkey/broccoli casserole the year we went to Tahoe