After many a school bus ride, late-night sleepover and family huddle around the campfire, it’s safe to say that if you and I ever play the “What is the one food you could eat every day for the rest of your life?” game, my answer always will be Mexican food. I cannot and will not ever get enough of it. We always have the goods for quesadillas in our refrigerator; enchiladas are on a heavy dinner rotation; tacos = yes. Always; and you already know how I feel about nine-layer tostadas.
That said, a girl can get a little tired of the same old beans + meat + cheese in a tortilla situation, so when it was time for my weekly (read: daily) fix of Mexican food, I decided to mix things up a bit. Enter beer-battered bean and cheese stuffed poblano chiles. Enter magical deliciousness into my mouth. Enter my newly abridged answer to the “What is the one food you could eat every day for the rest of your life?” game: Beer-battered Mexican food. That is, if I could also wear elastic sweatpants every day (which, in some ways, I already do).
I’m not going to lie to you: This isn’t a throw-beans-and-cheese-into-a-pepper-and-call-it-a-day kind of story. The bad news is it does take a little more time and effort than making enchiladas or quesadillas does; the good news is there’s some down time to sip that first margarita. And when you have delicious, pre-made ingredients like Old El Paso traditional refried beans in the mix, it helps speed things up a bit.
Let me walk you through what’s going on here. We’ve whipped up a batter of the lager beer variety. While that sits, you’ll need to roast the poblano peppers: If you’ve got some patience and a gas stove, you can roast and char them directly over the flame, but if you’ve got an electric stove like yours truly, the broiler is the way to go (it’s nice, too, because you can roast all the peppers at one time). Just be careful not to overcook the peppers or it will not be fun times stuffing them later.
Once the peppers are roasted, let them sit in a bowl covered with plastic wrap for 10 minutes or so to steam. Then, place each pepper under cold running water for a few seconds to cool them off and stop the cooking. Finally, use your fingers to peel off as much of the skin as possible. Place them on a baking sheet or other portable work surface and pat them dry with a paper towel. When all of that’s done, use a knife to cut a slit down one side of each pepper and use a spoon or your fingers to carefully remove the seeds and seed pod from the inside, being careful to keep the stem intact (you’ll need that stem for easy dipping later). Finally (finally!) we can stuff the peppers with cheese and beans. Mmmmmmmama.
For the final act, carefully dip the peppers in the boozy batter and place them seam-side down in a large skillet filled with oil (I used safflower oil, but vegetable oil works well, too). Let those babies fry on both sides to a crispy golden goodness, then drain them on a paper towel. Try not to bite into them right away lest you want a completely burnt tongue. Not that I know anything about this. Ahem.
Serve it with salsa, sour cream and lime wedges and dig the heck in. You deserve it.
Beer-Battered Bean and Cheese Stuffed Poblano Chiles
A Girl Versus Dough original
Yields: 8 stuffed chiles
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup light beer (I used lager)
8 large poblano chile peppers
1 block (8 oz) Monterey Jack cheese, cut into 16 sticks
1 can (16 oz) Old El Paso traditional refried beans
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon Old El Paso original taco seasoning
safflower or vegetable oil, for frying
sour cream, salsa and lime wedges for serving
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and beer until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in refrigerator 1 hour.
Meanwhile, roast the poblano peppers, either individually over an open flame on a gas grill or on a baking sheet under the broiler, turning peppers often, until skin is charred and blistered (if you go the oven route, be sure not to overcook the peppers so they’re too soft to stuff later; mine were mildly overcooked so it was a bit tougher to stuff them, but not impossible). Place peppers in a bowl covered with plastic wrap for 10 minutes to steam. Remove from bowl and place each pepper under cold running water to cool and stop the cooking. Use your fingers to carefully remove the skin and place peppers on a baking sheet. Pat peppers dry with a paper towel.
Cut a slit down one side of each pepper and, using a spoon or your fingers, carefully remove the seeds and seed pod, leaving the stem intact. Stuff each pepper with two sticks of cheese.
In a large bowl, stir together refried beans, cilantro and taco seasoning. Stuff peppers with a couple tablespoons of the bean mixture (use all of the bean mixture). Pinch ends of slit in pepper to seal.
Heat about 1 inch of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot enough (you can flick a bit of the beer batter into the skillet to see if it fries to a golden brown; if so, it’s hot enough), dip one pepper at a time into the batter and place seam-side down in the skillet (don’t overcrowd the skillet; you may have to fry in batches). Fry peppers until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes each side. Carefully remove with tongs and place on a paper towel-lined baking sheet or plate to dry. Repeat with remaining peppers.
Serve peppers warm with sour cream, salsa and lime wedges.
Disclosure: I received compensation from Old El Paso for recipe development purposes. All opinions are my own.