May have been touched by Michelle Obama

October 6, 2009

I love hot peppers.

Poblano peppers are probably my favorite pepper, because they have this kind of smoky rolling heat to them, but still mild enough to eat without making your head explode. I got some at the farmer's market as soon as they made an appearance mid-summer, but they were really tiny. As it became closer to fall, the poblanos got bigger (perfect for stuffing) just as winter squash came into season. Actually, I bought most of the ingredients for this dish the day Michelle Obama stopped by to open up DC's newest farmer's market! "Oh, hey Michelle. Yeah, I'm making squash for Squash Week. You? Oh, kale! Yummy! Ok then, carry on! Your arms look great!"

I experimented with two types of squash for this dish, a "cream of the crop" (like a white acorn squash) and an ambercup. The ambercup - the orange colored filling - had a richer, thicker squash flavor and was the unanimous winner of my informal taste test. But use any squash you like.

Squash-stuffed roasted poblanos
Serves 2 (as an entree)
or 4 as a side dish
loosely adapted from my dog-eared copy of The Essential Eating Well Cookbook

4 poblano peppers
2 small-ish winter squash (or a large butternut squash)
4 oz. crumbled queso blanco or sharp feta (I used a local goat feta, and it was goooooood)
1 tablespoon pineapple juice (you can sub orange juice)
1 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped green onions
1/2 teaspoon salt
Sour cream, for serving

First, roast squash. Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and roast face down on a cookie sheet in a 375 degree oven for 40-60 minutes, until tender. Take them out of the oven and let them cool face-up.

Meanwhile, roast peppers under a broiler until skin blackens on all sides. Depending on your broiler, this could take anywhere from 5-15 minutes. (You could also blacken them on the grill.) Put them in a closed paper bag or a bowl covered with plastic wrap for about 15 minutes, so they can cool and steam.

Peel the peppers. If a couple of bits of skin are being stubborn, don't worry about it. Using a paring knife, cut the stem and seeds out of the squash, trying to keep the pepper intact (kind of like a tube). Rinse the peppers to get the rest of the seeds out and set aside.

Scoop the squash flesh out into a food processor. (If you are using two different types of squash, you can either combine them or process them separately.) Puree until smooth and put in a medium bowl. Stir in the cheese, juice, cumin, cilantro and salt. Try not to eat all of the filling before stuffing the peppers.

Spoon the squash filling into the peppers, smooshing it down into the pepper so you can pack it full of filling. If you have leftover filling, it would be really good in a quesadilla.

Place the stuffed peppers in a baking dish, cover with foil, and bake until heated through, about 20 minutes. Serve with sour cream.