May 22, 2016
Stumped for a quick meal? Here's the answer. Ten minutes to prep, half an hour in the oven (oh, have a glass of wine while you wait--or wash those pots and pans in the sink), and bob's your uncle: Poblano Bites.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Chop two or three roasted, peeled, and seeded poblano chiles*. They can be canned (saving you a lot of trouble) or frozen**. If they're fresh (lucky you!) see the asterisked notes below, and allow more prep time than the ten minutes I mentioned.
Beat 4 eggs and then mix in the chopped chiles and 2 1/2 cups of grated Cheddar cheese***. Pour this into a buttered or oiled baking dish**** and bake for 30 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes then cut into 1-inch squares. Eat with your fingers if you want.*****
Chopped green chiles (canned) make an even easier version. They come in little 4-ounce cans, and one can is perfect for this amount of cheese and eggs.
If you don't have Cheddar on hand, try Swiss, havarti, or Monterey Jack.
A couple of tablespoons of cream, whether heavy or half-and-half, willmake this richer, as if it needs more fat . . .
Adding some minced onion is good, but it will definitely change the flavour mix.
Chop any leftovers into itty-bitty pieces and stir them into scrambled eggs just before they set, or use them as an omelet filling.
Chop the leftover squares into those same itty-bitty pieces, add them to some previously cooked grains (quinoa, oat groats, millet, spelt berries--whatever you have cooked up to keep on hand). Season more highly with some chopped onion or a spoonful of chipotle paste. Then soften a tortilla in a dry skillet and fill it with the mixture. Fry in a tablespoon of hot oil until all sides are crisp and brown (see last week's blog post for details).
*Roasting poblanos is the same process as roasting red peppers. If you've never done either, choose one of these three options. Put the chiles on a rimmed baking sheet and broil them, turning them every five minutes so that all sides become blackened. Or roast in your hottest oven until the skins are blackened. Or put them on a rack directly over a gas flame and turn them frequently until they are blackened. You'll have noticed that a blackened and blistered skin is the goal. The next step is to steam the chiles in order to loosen the skins. This time there are two options. Put them in a heat-proof bowl (they're hot) and cover them with a lid or a plate. Or put them in a plastic bag and seal it. I prefer the bowl method, since I feel that putting very hot things into plastic bags can leach chemicals from the plastic. Let stand for at least 20 minutes. Now scrape the skin from the peppers using the back of a paring knive and your fingers. You can rinse with a little water if you absolutely have to, but holding them under running water is going to wash off some of the flavour.
**I generally buy a dozen or more poblanos at a time. I roast and steam them all and then, when they are cool I package them in pairs and freeze them. To use, I thaw them briefly and scrape off the pre-loosened skins. Much faster than starting from scratch.
***This is a case where the finest Cheddar is wasted because it overpowers the dish. Ordinary orange Cheddar is fine. Or see the choices under VARIATIONS.
****The quantities given here are perfect for an 8x8 inch baking dish or a 10-inch pie pan. Whatever you choose, the mixture should be about half an inch deep in the pan.
*****You can also cut the finished product into serving-sized pieces (rather than bite-sized) and serve as a luncheon dish with forks, just like grown-ups. But if you do that you can't call them "Poblano Bites." A more accurate name might be "Crustless Poblano Quiche-like Thing."