These peppers were part of a meatless Lenten meal prepared for artist Frida Kahlo when she visited a home in Teotihuacan, near Mexico City.
The original recipe doesn’t suggest peeling the skins from the roasted, cooled peppers, but we think it makes for a nicer presentation. If you opt to peel, do so just before stuffing, so as not to dry out the peppers’ flesh.
The poblanos can be roasted, cooled and refrigerated in an airtight container a day in advance. The cauliflower, carrots and peas can be cooked, cooled and refrigerated two or three days in advance.
Cold chilies with vegetable stuffing
Serves: 4 to 8
8 medium, fresh poblano chili peppers, roasted, seeded and deveined (see note)
1 medium onion, sliced
3 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh marjoram leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons (packed) torn cilantro leaves
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup cooked chopped cauliflower
1/2 cup cooked, chopped carrots
1/2 cup cooked peas
Flesh of 2 ripe avocados, cut into cubes
1 scallion, trimmed and finely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
4 ounces anejo cheese, crumbled (may substitute Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese), for garnish
Place the roasted poblanos in a large pot; cover with water. Add the onion, 2 tablespoons of the vinegar, the thyme, oregano, marjoram, cilantro and bay leaf; cook (uncovered) over medium heat until the peppers are tender, about 40 minutes, adjusting the heat to keep the liquid at a low boil. Drain and cool the peppers; discard the onion, herbs and cooking liquid.
Combine the cauliflower, carrots, peas, avocados and scallion in a mixing bowl. Add the oil and the remaining 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons of vinegar, stirring gently to coat. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Divide the mixture into the appropriate number of equal portions (for each pepper).
Stuff each poblano with the vegetable mixture, arranging the filled peppers on a platter as you work. Drizzle cream over the top of each one, then sprinkle with the cheese. Serve at room temperature.
Note: Roast the poblanos on an aluminum-foil-lined baking sheet at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until the skins have blistered, turning them over halfway through. Let them cool, then cut off and discard the tops. Keep the poblanos intact (in order to stuff them) as you scrape out the seeds and ribs.
Nutrition information per serving (based on 8): 320 calories, 4 g protein, 13 g carbohydrates, 30 g fat, 12 g saturated fat, 60 mg cholesterol, 70 mg sodium, 6 g dietary fiber, 4 g sugar
Adapted from “Frida’s Fiestas: Recipes and Reminiscences of Life With Frida Kahlo,” by Guadalupe Rivera and Marie-Pierre Colle (Clarkson Potter, 1994).