Stuffed Peppers & Adobo Sauce

Oh. My. Lord. I just discovered that Rick Bayless has a television show. Where he cooks incredible Latin food. For 30 minute segments.

If you don’t know who Rick Bayless is, well then you’re not eating enough (or obsessed with) Mexican food.

I attribute this obscure find to the History Channel special “3 Night Event!” of the Hatfield & McCoys. And Stephen’s dad. I don’t watch a lot of TV. And by that, I mean on the actual TV. I’m a netflix junkie. I like my television shows portable (by way of laptop) & with back-to-back episodes. SO. Stephen’s father loves shows about cars.  And antiques. Thus, I was introduced to American Pickers over Memorial Day weekend. In between every 10 minutes of American Picker footage was a 3 minute homage to the Hatfield & McCoys spectaculAR. So I just HAD TO watch it when it premiered Monday night to find out whether it was gold or shit. And I was sucked in to watching episode 2. And 3. Upon searching the television guide trying to find the History channel in order to DVR the second episode… to fast forward through the HEINOUS overload of commercials, of course… I stumbled upon the mighty random Live Well Network featuring a show called “Mexico: One Plate at a Time“. My reaction went something like “Mexican Food?…. Why yes, I think I will.” Then I read the “info” and found that a man named Rick was going to prepare some common Mexican street food (or something). RICK? Could it be Rick Bayless?!?! So I tuned in. And fell in love. And set out to record every episode for the next week.

He made this kickass looking Adobo Sauce and when I decided to make stuffed peppers this morning I knew I should change it up a bit. Cumin & Chili Powder are great but I needed something different. Something special. Something RICK BAYLESS makes. I tried to replicate the recipe but I couldn’t remember the proportions so I did as best I could.

Okay, I’m obsessed. But if you love (and I mean deep in your bones – want to eat it every single meal – LOVE) Mexican food, then you should be too.

Stuffed Peppers with Adobo Sauce

Adobo Sauce:

  • 3 Ancho Chiles, dried
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 Cups Water
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 3 Tbsp Cider Vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • Dash of Cloves
  • 1/4 Tsp Cinnamon
  • Salt
Cut open the ancho chiles and remove the stem & seeds. Over medium heat, toast/fry chiles in olive oil by pressing flat on both sides. In a large bowl submerge chiles in 1 1/2 cups of water. Cover with a bowl or plate to help them stay submerged. Let soak for about 20 minutes. In blender, combine chiles and their soaking water with the remaining ingredients. Blend on high until mixture is smooth. Strain through medium strainer to remove any extra seeds or large bits of chile skin.

Stuffed Peppers:

  • 3 Bell Peppers
  • 1 Large Poblano
  • Olive Oil from heating anchos
  • 1/2 Large Spanish Onion, diced
  • 1 Medium Zucchini, diced
  • 1 Jalapeño, minced
  • 1 – 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Medium Tomato, diced
  • 1 Can Black Beans, rinsed
  • 2/3 Cup Quinoa
  • 1 Chipotle, minced (from can) OR 1/2 Tsp Chipotle Powder
  • 1/4 Cup Adobo Sauce
  • Salt
  • 1 – 2 Lime
Preheat oven to 450F. Roast the poblano, rotating until skin is mostly blackened all the way around. Let cool a bit before removed seeds, ribs & stem. Dice for the mixture.
Lower oven temp to 425F. Cut bell peppers in half lengthwise & clean out stems, ribs & seeds. Bake in oven while you’re preparing the filling. This is a bit of a time-saving tip. When the peppers start to brown, remove from oven. They should just be golden on the edges.
Over medium heat in a medium-large pot, sauté onions, jalapeño & zucchini in oil leftover from light frying the chiles for the adobo. When the onions just begin to brown add the poblano, garlic & tomato. Combine & let cook for a couple of minutes.
Add black beans & quinoa and stir to combine. Add enough water to just cover. Cover pot & bring to a boil to cook quinoa. About 10 – 15 minutes.
Lower heat & add canned, minced chipotle and adobo sauce. Stir to combine. Salt to taste.
You want your mixture to be nice & moist for the oven. Add more adobo sauce to taste/moisten.
Fill peppers to the brim with prepared mixture and return to oven for about 15 minutes.
Remove  from oven & squeeze fresh lime juice over each pepper.
Serve with homemade guacamole & extra adobo sauce & Mexican hot sauce (preferably Tapatío).
And perhaps a glass of nicely chilled dry white wine ; )
Absolutely delicious ❤ And filling : )

Smoky Poblano & Black Bean Pupusas

Stephen has been trying very very hard to avoid purchasing plastic in general but especially while grocery shopping. (We saw a guy put ONE apple in a plastic produce bag and tie it off!) This means a lot of things to be made from scratch… including tortillas & bread & powdered sugar. But especially tortillas. I don’t do well without, at the very least, one Mexican meal a week. If I had my way, I’d probably eat Latin American cuisine just about every single day. What is a world without salsa??? Not a world I want to live in. And black beans? Nope, I don’t want to live there either.

So we picked up a 5 pound bag of Maseca and Stephen put me to work. Okay, we worked together… 😉 I made the tortillas & he cooked them. Hint: the recipe is on the back of the bag. We don’t have a tortillas press so we used to pieces of parchment paper & one of the 8×8 pyrex pans to smush the living daylights out of a ball of a masa harina, water & salt. And it worked like a damn charm. And then I discovered the best news EVER. I could make more than just tortillas. I could make tamales, pupusas, sopes.

One of my pet names for Stephen is Pupusa… I don’t know how it came to be but it was one of the first things I called him. I thought it was only fitting I make him Pupusas for his birthday (okay, the day before).  The recipe is really simple & they are incredibly delicious. I must warn you though – you must have the patience of a freaking saint to form them. Okay, they’re not that bad… unless you’re a perfectionist.

Stephen was gracious enough to let me take these pictures of his food before I let him eat it.

Smoky Poblano & Black Bean Pupusas

Dough:

  • 2 Cups Masa Harina
  • 1 3/4 Cups Warm Water
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
Combine the above ingredients in a large bowl. The dough should be very moist but not sticky – much moister than for tortillas. You want the dough to be moist enough that it doesn’t crack when you’re forming the pupusas. If the dough dries out a bit as it sits, just add a couple more teaspoons of water. I actually made mine as the filling was cooking. Form into about 8 balls, somewhere between the size of a golf ball & tennis ball.

Filling:

  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Med/Large Poblano Pepper, diced
  • 1 Jalapeno, finely diced
  • 1/2 Medium Onion, finely diced
  • 1 Clove Garlic, minced
  • 1 Can Black Beans, rinsed
  • 1 Tsp Chipotle Powder (this makes the filling smoky AND spicy, you can sub smoked paprika for smokiness without the heat)
  • 1/2 Tsp Cumin
  • 1 Tbsp Chili Powder
  • Juice of Half a Lime
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1/2 Cup Water

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a medium/large saute pan. Add poblano, jalapeno & onion. Saute until vegetables are tender and slightly browned. Add garlic and saute for another minute. Add black beans & salt & seasonings. Stir to combine. Add water and simmer gently over medium/low heat until much of the water has cooked down. Smash the black beans to a “refried bean” consistency. Squeeze lime juice into mix & stir to combine. You want the mixture to be thick for stuffing the pupusas.

To form: the pupusas, start with one of the masa balls. Form a small bowl by sinking your thumb in the middle & pinching the sides of the dough… much like when you were little and would make little clay bowls. The dough should be less than a centimeter thick. Fill the “bowl” with a couple of spoonfuls of filling. Fold together edges to close. Then flatten into a disk. The edges may crack a little, just muster all your patience to pinch the masa back together. If the filling comes out a bit, don’t worry! It happens. We had leftover filling that I served next to the pupusas. I wish I had some right now.

To cook: the pupusas, heat a splash of olive oil over medium heat in a large pan. Cook pupusas for about 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown on each side.

To serve: the pupusas, top with pico de gallo (as pictured), sour cream, guacamole, lime juice, hot sauce or any of your favorite accompaniments.

These babys were sooo good. They were a bit of a challenge to form but I think with practice I could one day become a professional pupusa maker. They’re certainly worth it. Hot out of the pan with some fresh pico de gallo, they’re a bit crunchy on the outside from the pan fry and gooey with a huge punch of flavor on the inside.

Two sites that I consulted with pictures on how to form the Pupusas:

Dandy Sugar

Better With Butter