Stuffed Poblano’s With Red Sauce

I don’t know what’s wrong with restaurants these days but I am so tired of paying for bland mediocre food. Twice now we went to a Mexican restaurant where I ordered what was supposed to be authentOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAic Mexican food… first time I ordered a Chili Relleno and got a cold burnt poblano with a burnt red sauce that cost me over $10. The second time I ordered and trio of enchiladas with various filings and sauces, what I got was a soggy bland enchilada that tasted the same no matter what type of sauce or filling I ordered.

The sad thing is both of the places came highly recommended! So either I have become a food snob or people just stopped appreciating truly good food.

So to get past my rant, I was in the mood for some good Mexican food and decided to make my version of a fried stuffed poblano. Let’s just say despite the extra work, it was much better than anything I have gotten in a Mexican restaurant in a while and I live in Arizona……….SAD!

Check out www.cookingwithcaveman.com for more recipes and info

What you will need:

  • 4 Poblano peppers
  • 2 Cups red sauce (store bought or see recipe below)
  • 3-4 cups chicken mixture (see below)
  • 3 eggs beaten
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • Frying Oil (peanut or other high temp oil)
  • EVOO
  • Salt and Pepper

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Red Sauce

  • 6 Dried Ancho peppers, stems cut (I use dried peppers because they store in the pantry for along time)
  • 10 Dried Arbol peppers, stems cut
  • ½ White onion chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 2 tbsp. vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 1 ½ cups of the water from rehydrating the peppers

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Filling

  • 1 Cooked chicken breast (grilled or baked with Mexican spices)
  • ½ white onion chopped
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 can black beans with liquid
  • 1 tbsp. dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp. cumin
  • 8 oz. Monterey Jack cheese shredded

 PrepOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Heat up your grill to medium high heat. (you can substitute the grill for the broiler if needed) While you are heating up the grill lightly coat the poblano’s with EVOO and season your chicken. Once the grill is good and hot place the poblano’s and the chicken on the grill.

Caveman Tip*** You are just looking to soften the poblano peppers on the grill and give them a little char without burning them, you want to give them that grilled flavor and get the skin loose so you can remove it.

Red Sauce Prep

Caveman Tip*** I like to put my dried peppers on the grill for a few minutes before I soak them in water, gives them a little extra smokiness.

After the dried peppers are toasted you will need to soak them covered in hot water at least 20-30 minutes to re-constitute them.Place your hydrated peppers and the remainder of the red sauce ingredients into a blender or food processer and blend until smooth. Put the sauce into a small pan and simmer under medium heat.

Caveman Tip*** I wanted the sauce to reduce, that way it would concentrate those flavors give it a thicker consistency and that little bit of pop. That’s up to you, just taste it, add S&P or more vinegar to your liking, but I would recommend that you reduce it. Then just let it sit on the stove keeping it warm unit you are ready to use it.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Stuffed Poblano Prep

Once the peppers are soft and the skin starts to fall off pull them from the grill and let them cool. Continue to cook the chicken until its done and pull it off the grill. Just let it rest long enough so that you can shred it without burning your fingers.Once the poblano’s have cooled peel the skin off and then cut a small slit in the side of the pepper. Reach in and pull out the seeds.

Cook

Take your onions and mushrooms for the filling and sauté with some EVOO under medium heat; don’t forget to add a little salt and pepper. Once they are soft add the remainder of the filing ingredients and cook under medium heat until warm. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes giving the spices time to incorporate into the mixture and the chicken time to absorb some of that black bean flavor.

While your mixture is cooking get a pan heated up with your frying oil. You only need about 2 inches of oil at the bottom of the pan. If you have a candy thermometer it works best, you want to get your oil up to about 350 degrees. There are other tricks if you don’t have a thermometer using the base of a wooden spoon. Just give it a Google search and it will come up.

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Stuff the poblano’s with the mixture I use cheese them chicken mixture and them cheese again. Don’t over stuff them just enough so you can still close them. Next you will want to roll them in the egg wash and then liberally coat them with the panko bread crumbs.

Now, carefully lay them in the oil and roll them so that they fry on all the edges. You will want to dry them on a paper towel and then serve immediately with your red sauce.

It’s a bit much for a weeknight recipe but definitely worth the work! This dish goes great with my Spanish Rice

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Blackened Chicken Rub (we like it spicy…)

 

What you will need:

  •  1 tbsp. paprika
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 1 tbsp. oregano
  • ¾ tbsp. sugar
  • ¾ tbsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tbsp. salt
  •  ½ tbsp. thyme
  • ½ tbsp. red pepper flakes

 

Combine all the above ingredients and store in an air tight container until ready to use.  Shake and make sure they are mixed well.

  • 1-2 Limes (to squeeze lime juice)
  • Chicken breasts, (boneless works best depending on what you’re making but bone in  hind quarters are just as delicious)

Apply

Take the defrosted chicken breast put in a bowl and squeeze lime juice on both sides.  Let the chicken sit in the bowl for 5-10 minutes. Pull the chicken, pat dry with a paper towel.  Sprinkle liberally with seasoning and let sit another 10 minutes.  This allows the chicken to come up to room temperature prior to cooking.  **Caveman’s Tip: cooking cold meat on a hot grill makes the meat contract resulting in a tough, potentially dry meat

Prepare the grill

Get the BBQ ready, either coal or propane, I prefer having a propane grill for this because it’s usually a weeknight meal and after work I don’t have time to mess with the coals.  Heat the grill until hot, on a propane grill I get it up to 500°F.

 Cook

Put the chicken on the grill. Sear until the chicken is a deep red color with dark black grill marks on both sides.  (I like to have the grill lid open at this point because it allows me to sear off the chicken without overcooking it)

Still on the grill, move the chicken to indirect heat, off to the side. (I prefer to cook at this point with the grill lid down now) Continue to cook for 8-15 minutes depending on the breast size.

**Caveman Tip:  People often get hesitant when cooking chicken and tend to turn it into chicken jerky. I always use a good reliable instant read thermometer when cooking chicken and pork so I can make sure it always ends up plump and juicy. Chicken can be so flavorful when cooked correctly. (Please check out my blog on cooking the perfect chicken for more info)

Check the temperature of the chicken and make sure it’s 150°F and then remove it from the grill. 

Wrap it in foil or a container with a lid, and let it sit for 5-8 minutes. This allows the chicken to finish coming up to temperate without drying it out. It also allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat.

Put the chicken on a cutting board and slice to serve, I prefer this in tacos, burritos and even a good salad.

Spanish Rice

What you will need:

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1-2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, shredded or diced
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (To coat the pan)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 packet Goyo Sazon Mexican seasoning
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes (you can substitute with 1tbsp tomato paste or 1 cup strained canned tomatoes)
  • 2 cups medium or long grain white rice
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth or 3 1/2 cups water and chicken flavoring  (I  like to use Knorr Home-style concentrate or Swanson’s Flavor Boost you can keep them in the pantry and use single packets as necessary)
  • Hot sauce (always optional, but I love it!)

Prepare:

Under medium heat, sauté the onions, celery, carrots and garlic in a medium stock pan with EVOO for a couple of minutes. (This is called a Mira Pois and is a classic French technique to add flavor to soups, stews or any slow cooked meal.)

Then add rice, butter, chili powder, and cumin and continue to sauté for a few minutes, stirring frequently.  All the vegetables should be soft by now. Let the ingredients marry together. Your house should smell good at this point.

Add:

Add 3 1/2 cups of the chicken broth (or water and chicken flavoring). Then, add the tomatoes and Goyo Sazon seasoning packet, salt and bring to a boil.

Now, taste the liquid at this point…it will give you a good idea of what the rice will taste like. Add salt if necessary (I also like to add a couple of dashes of hot sauce to bring some heat to the rice!)

Give it one final stir and then put a lid on your pan and reduce the heat to a simmer.

**DO NOT remove the lid at any time during the cooking process. Just keep an eye out until all the water is absorbed.  This is the most important thing to remember about rice!

Once the water is absorbed (this could take about 15-20 minutes), remove from heat and let stand with lid on, for about 5 minutes. This allows any of the liquid on the bottom to absorb into the rice, without burning it.

Remove the lid and let stand for about 5 more minutes, and then fluff with fork.  Enjoy.

 

Corn Relish (Dee-lish!)

What you will need:

  • 6 ears of fresh corn, peeled
  • 2 large tomatoes, core then grill (see below)
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 4 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup total red, & green bell pepper (I like to get the bag of mixed baby bell peppers, it’s easier to use than the small ones so I don’t have to waste half a large one)
  • ¼ can black beans rinsed (I typically make the relish with tacos or burritos so I can use the remaining beans with that dish)
  • 1 Jalapeno finely chopped seeds and veins removed (optional)
  • Olive Oil
  • Fresh Cilantro, chopped
  • Drizzle of balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Prepare:

Peel 6 ears of fresh corn.  Coat with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Core 2 large tomatoes, slit an X in the bottom and coat those with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Set aside.

We love to grill anything we can to get the Caveman flavor.   So heat up your grill and lightly grill both the corn and the tomatoes.  Turn the corn frequently (we do not want blackened corn, just lightly grilled).  The tomatoes will only take a few minutes just enough to heat them up but not make them mushy.  This adds a little depth of flavor. Once grilled, remove both items and set aside to let them cool.  (Tomatoes can be put into refrigerator)

I always prefer to use fresh corn in any dish, ears of corn are cheap and add great texture to any meal.

 Assemble:

Shave the corn from the cob and put into bowl.  In a separate bowl, put your chopped red onion and coat with 4tbsp red wine vinegar and let rest for 10 minutes.

With corn, mix in the bell peppers and jalapeno. Chop the tomatoes and add to mixture.  Mix ¼ cup of black beans and stir.  Combine the red onion mixture into corn relish mixture and stir.  Add salt and pepper.  Don’t forget to taste your food and make adjustments as necessary!

Drizzle a light amount of balsamic vinegar over the mixture and stir. Top with cilantro and additional salt & pepper, if needed.

Memphis Style Ribs

 

 

 

 

 

 

RIBS

  • I prefer St Louis Style Pork Ribs because all of the fat and excess has been trimmed
  • The purpose of the Memphis rib rub is to give the ribs flavor without coating them in sauce.  By coating the ribs in a rub and letting them rest overnight – the strong flavors can penetrate the meat – making it a mouth-watering experience your friends & family will never forget!

 

Now let’s build the rub…

MEMPHIS RIB RUB

  • 6 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 3 tbsp powered garlic
  • 3 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp Morton’s kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp mustard powder
  • 1 tbsp celery powder
  • 1 tbsp dried crushed oregano
  • 1 tbsp dried crushed thyme
  • 1 tbsp ground allspice
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp dry parsley
  • 1 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar

 

Combine all the above ingredients and mix well, store in airtight container until ready to use.

You can always double the ingredients, and store it for next time!

RIB MOP –What’s this for, and why do I need to make it if I have BBQ sauce?

The mop will help the rub penetrate the meat and stop the ribs from drying out during the long cooking process.

  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • ½ Beer  any beer your preference
  • ¼ cup rub seasoning from above

Combine all ingredients and stir well, refrigerate until ready to use.  You will need to use a good basting brush to mop the liquid onto the ribs.

 

BBQ SAUCE

  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp table salt
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • ½ cup yellow ballpark style mustard
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ⅓ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ cup  lime juice
  • ¼ cup A1 steak sauce
  • ¼ cup dark molasses
  • ¼ cup Agave nectar or regular honey
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar (or light if that’s all you have)
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 tbsp Memphis Rub (from above)
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (can omit or try a hot sauce if you like)
  • 1 tbsp red pepper chili flakes (can omit if you don’t like that much heat)

Combine all ingredients cover and store in refrigerator until ready to use.

I prefer to prepare the Memphis Rub, the rib mop and the BBQ sauce the night before as it allows all the flavors ample time to blend, and the rub seasoning to really season the ribs

 

Apply the Memphis Rub to the Ribs

Prep the ribs by removing the membrane (I prefer a butter knife and dig in there)

The membrane is the white skin like coating on the back of the rib. If you don’t remove it the seasoning will not penetrate the ribs  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Generously coat the ribs with the rub (using your hands massage it all over the ribs, front and back)

Cover and store in fridge over night

 

Time to start the grill….

I prefer a slow hickory smoke when making ribs, but there are a number of options when grilling.

Here are Caveman’s tips for the best results:   

Get the BBQ ready.  I prefer charcoal but gas BBQ’s will work.  They are easier to set a temperature but in my opinion, the smoke pouches don’t work as well.

I also prefer to use the indirect heat method along with a water bath under the ribs.  It sounds harder than it is!  Simply have the heat source off to the side and put a tin of water or liquid directly under the ribs.  This allows steam from the water bath to penetrate the ribs and help keep them moist.

If you want to get really adventurous add flavor to the water bath. Apple chunks or any kind of aromatic ingredient (onions, celery, etc).

Example

The BBQ should heat up to about 225⁰F to let the ribs cook thoroughly.  If your BBQ doesn’t have a temperature gauge, get yourself a good BBQ (Oven) thermometer.   They can be purchased at most grocery stores for a few bucks.

 

 While the grill is heating up….

Pull the ribs from the fridge before you put them on the grill so they can come up to room temperature.

Keep the BBQ about 225⁰F and put ribs on, bone side down.   They need to cook for 4-6 hours * Be sure to check coals or temp every now and again.   

I like to baste the ribs with the mopping liquid at least once an hour.  Do not turn the ribs over! Let them cook bone side down the entire time.  Pouring your mopping liquid on the ribs every hour will allow the vinegar and beer to help break down the meat and keep it tender.

 

Additional Tips from the Caveman:

The longer you cook the ribs, the more tender and mouth-watering they will be. You be the judge.

Now, I prefer the Memphis Style Ribs dry, and having the BBQ sauce on the side.  This allows everyone to enjoy ribs as they choose, BBQ sauce or not!  For those that want the sauce, warm it up on a medium heat prior to serving.

If you prefer a wet rib, just pull the water bath, stoke up the flames, coat the ribs with the sauce and give them a few minutes on each side for the sauce to caramelize and thicken up on the exterior of the rib.

 

Cut and serve, with your favorite side, I prefer my homemade potato salad with a recipe to follow