Poblano peppers stuffed with a savory blend of rice and turkey seasoned with smoked paprika and fresh cilantro and topped with queso fresco cheese.
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Stuffed peppers are my idea of comfort food. They hit all the comfort food high notes – savory, hearty, filling, and most importantly, they make your house smell really good as they bake. A good comfort food should make you really hungry as it cooks. This version is pretty healthy, too. It’s got ground turkey, lots of veggies, and a dusting of queso fresco. One of my favorite peppers in general is the poblano. It’s a mild chili pepper that’s known for it’s smoky and slightly spicy flavor. I make sure to stick a couple of poblano plants in the garden every spring to ensure that I will be able to make these stuffed peppers every year during the late summer/early autumn months. Any kind of pepper will work for this recipe – green, red, yellow, orange – but, I’m telling you. There’s something about those poblanos.
I’m not going to lie, this recipe requires some chopping. Most of the work is on the front end. Once these things are in the oven, though, you can just chill and watch some Netflix while you patiently (or, not so patiently) wait for them to bake. The first step is to prepare the filling. Start with the rice – you want roughly 1 1/2 cups cooked rice. Add 3/4 cup dry rice and an equal amount of water to a rice cooker. You can definitely make rice on the stove top, but the rice cooker is just so easy. You literally set it and forget it. As the rice cooks, chop 6 cloves garlic, 2 shallots or 1 onion, 1 chili pepper (or hot pepper of your choice – remove seeds for less heat), 1 bell pepper, 2 cups Swiss chard (or other leafy green vegetable), 1 cup cilantro, and 1 tomato. Gather 5-6 poblanos or the peppers that you are actually going to ‘stuff’ and chop the tops off of them. Remove the seeds and ribs. I like to chop up the top portions of the poblanos and cook them with the filling as well (no use in wasting good peppers).
Now that the chopping is finished, it’s time to cook the filling. On a skillet heated to medium, add 1 Tbsp. or so of your favorite cooking oil. Once heated, add the garlic, shallot or onion, and chili pepper. Saute for 3-4 minutes, or until the onions are translucent. Add 1 lb. ground turkey or chicken to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. As the turkey cooks, add the following spices: 1 tsp. smoked paprika, 1/2 tsp. chili powder, 1/4 tsp. dried oregano, 1/4 tsp. dried rosemary, and 1/2 tsp. of salt and pepper. Now, add the bell pepper and the tops of the poblanos that were chopped. Saute the turkey/pepper mixture for another 8 minutes. Pour 1/2 cup broth into the mixture. Add the 2 cups chopped Swiss chard and cook for another 2 minutes, or until the chard is wilted. Add another 1/2 cup broth. At this point, you can add the cooked rice. Stir all of the ingredients together and then a cup or so of chopped cilantro. Everything should be combined and properly cooked at this point. You can add an additional 1/2 cup of broth if the rice/turkey mixture if necessary. The rice/turkey mixture should be moist.
Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Pour a 15 oz. can of crushed tomatoes and the tomato you chopped earlier to a glass baking dish, cake pan, or baking dish of your choice. The freshly chopped tomato is certainly not necessary for this recipe, but I find that the fresh tomato kind of ‘lightens up’ the can of tomatoes. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to the tomato mixture and stir to combine. Now, it’s time to stuff the poblanos. Take a spoon and stuff a generous (and I mean generous) amount of the turkey/rice mixture into each pepper. Pack those babies to the brim. I like the filling to be spilling out the top of them. Arrange the stuffed poblanos on top of the tomato mixture. You should be able to fill 6-7 poblanos or 5-6 bell peppers with this recipe. Any extra filling can be eaten with the peppers after they have cooked.
After the peppers are nestled in the tomato sauce, place the cover on the glass baking dish or cover your baking pan with foil and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. The peppers should be easily pieced with a fork when they are done. Spoon some of the tomato sauce onto a bowl or plate and place on of the cooked peppers on top of it. You can add any extra filling you may have to the plate and then top the whole thing with a generous sprinkling of queso fresco or other crumbly cheese such as feta or parmesan. I’m telling ya, these stuffed peppers are worth all that chopping. You might just have a new comfort food on your hands.
Want more stuffed peppers in you life? Don’t miss these Southwest Turkey and Black Bean Stuffed Peppers!
- 6 cloves garlic
- 2 shallots or 1 onion
- 1 chili or other hot pepper remove seeds for less heat
- 1 bell pepper
- 2 cups chopped Swiss chard or other leafy green vegetable such as spinach or kale
- 1 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 lb ground turkey or chicken
- 1 1/2 cups cooked rice about 3/4 cup dry rice
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 3/4 tsp chili powder
- 1/4 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp dried rosemary
- 1/2 tsp salt adjust to taste
- 1/2 tsp pepper adjust to taste
- 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 Tbsp cooking oil (such as vegetable safflower, canola, peanut)
- 5-6 pobanos or bell pepper of choice
- 1 15. oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 fresh tomato optional
- 1 package queso fresco or other crumbly cheese such as feta
- Heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place equal amounts rice and water in rice cooker. Cook until done.
- Heat skillet to medium and add 1 Tbsp. cooking oil.
- Add garlic, shallot or onion, and chili pepper and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until fragrant.
- Add ground turkey or chicken and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- To the turkey, add smoked paprika, chili powder, oregano, rosemary, and salt and pepper.
- Add chopped peppers to turkey and saute for another 8 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add 1/2 cup cooking stock to deglaze.
- Add chopped Swiss chard to the skillet and cook for another 2 minutes, or until wilted.
- Add another 1/2 cup cooking stock.
- Add the cooked rice and cilantro to the mixture. Stir to combine.
- Add another 1/2 cup cooking stock if necessary. Mixture should be moist.
- Pour can of crushed tomatoes and chopped fresh tomato to baking dish along with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
- Stuff each pepper with generous portion of filling and place each pepper on top of tomato mixture.
- Cover the baking pan and bake for 45 minutes or until peppers are easily pieced with knife.
- Serve peppers with tomato sauce and any extra filling. Top with a generous amount of queso fresco.