Thursday, June 5, 2008

Hot Latin ... Dinner

I ::heart:: mexican food. I suppose that is to be expected since I was born and raised in SoCal, but just in case there was any doubt I wanted to make that perfectly clear. A lot of authentic mexican food had ungodly amounts of fat, but I have found that I can get great flavor without all the crazy quantities of fat. This is an example of a completely inauthentic, but totally delicious, recipe makeover. I loosely based this on a dish I saw Rachel Ray make, but I increased the protein, cut some of the carbs, and of course veganized it.

Roasted Stuffed Peppers
This recipe makes 4 large portions. It makes yummy leftovers so make the whole recipe even if you won't eat it all that day. I think this would be extremely omni-friendly.

For the Peppers:

4 large, fresh poblano peppers

Adjust the top rack in your oven to 6-8 inches from the top heating element. Set your oven to broil. Line a baking sheet with foil (again, this saves your pan and makes clean-up wayyy easier) and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Cut off any extra long stems on the peppers so they don't burn. Evenly space your peppers on the pan and place in oven. Keep one eye on them while you work on the filling. It should take 5-10 per side, depending on your oven. When the first side is well charred flip the peppers and broil until the other side is the same. At this point the peppers should also be pretty soft. Remove from oven and set aside while you finish the filling and the peppers are cool enough to handle.

For the Filling

1 onion, diced

1 small red bell pepper, diced

8 oz corn, fresh or frozen

1 jalapeno, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 pkg tempeh, grated

1 tsp oregano

1 heaping tsp cumin

1 tsp coriander

2 tsp ancho chile powder

16 oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes

veggie stock, about 1 1/2 cups

salt and pepper, to taste

1 cup shredded vegan cheese, optional

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Preheat a large skillet over medium. Spray with non-stick spray and add the onion, bell pepper, jalapeno pepper, salt and pepper and saute 5-7 minutes until veggies soften a bit. Add corn and crank up the heat to medium-high. You want to get some color on everything so the roasted flavor goes through the whole dish. Once you've developed some color add the tempeh and stir to incorporate. Add the garlic and spices and stir to coat. Add part of the veggie stock, start with about a half a cup, and scrape up the fond at the bottom of the pan. Add the can of fire roasted tomatoes, stir to combine and allow to heat through. Add more veggie stock at this point if your mixture is looking to dry, you want it to be slightly saucy and not at all dry. Taste the filling and add more salt and pepper if needed.

Turn off the heat under the pan and let it hang out while you work on the peppers. The peppers should be cool enough to handle at this point, leave them on the pan to build them. With a sharp knife cut a slit in the middle of each pepper you want it to run from just below the stem to a little ways above the end. If you want to make them very pretty you can leave the stems on. I took them off for ease of eating. Open up your pepper and remove the seeds and ribs. Pile in the filling. It's about a cup per pepper, but it will depend on the size of your pepper. I had about a cup of filling left over at the end, so I just saved it for enchilada's later in the week.

Top each pepper with a 1/4 cup of cheese if you are using it. Pop back under the broiler just long enough to melt the cheese, add a little color, and warm the peppers back up, no more than 5-7 minutes.Top it with chopped cilantro and serve with beans and guacamole. If you like enchilada sauce you can serve that on the side, it makes it nice and saucy. You could also top it with enchilada sauce if you don't want to use the cheese. Enjoy!

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