Saturday, March 27, 2010

Chili Rellano—An Unstuffed Vegan Version

Once the ingredients enter the mouth, and hit the tongue, do you think our taste buds really know, or care, if the poblano was whole, in tact, sans seeds, when filled with goodies? Heck, no! The pieces of roasted pepper, and in this case, vibrant black beans and rich, chewy rice topped with spicy tomatoes, all blend together to provide a party in the mouth.

Chili rellanos were a favorite of mine for many years, especially as prepared at Paco's restaurant in Orlando. Theirs, too, was a unique take on the familiar traditional poblano pepper stuffed with cheese, dipped in batter and deep fried.

I found a package of 3 beautifully formed poblanos when I shopped last week. My intention was to use them to make the delicious raw version that I haven't made in quite some time.
But when the day dawned cloudy with showers, I decided a tray of warm, comfort food would be just the thing.

I roasted the poblanos for about 20 minutes and then placed them in a bowl and covered them with plastic wrap to sweat. Meanwhile, I cooked a cup of Lundberg Farms mahogany rice, and opened a can of organic black beans, which I rinsed well.

When the peppers had cooled enough to handle easily, I rubbed off the roasted outer skin and then gently removed the stem, sliced each open, and removed the seeds. I had the idea to prepare the chilis as a casserole rather than try to stuff them.

In a 13 x 9 baking dish, which I lightly brushed with a half teaspoon of olive oil (just to prevent any sticking), I spread the pieces of pepper to cover the bottom of the dish. Then I spooned on a layer of the cooked rice, then a layer of the black beans. I topped the beans with a 15 oz can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes.

I covered the dish tightly with foil and let it roast for about 45 minutes in a 350° oven. Non-vegans could easily add some zingy shredded cheese, and vegans who eat faux cheese could add that. A few sliced pickled jalepeños scattered around would add a little zip, too.

It's particularly good with a side of salsa fresca (diced tomato, green onion, cilantro and fresh lime juice) and I can vouch for it being even better as a leftover.

It keeps for several days in the refrigerator and reheats well.

No comments: