Poblano Peppers Stuffed with Sweet Potato, Corn and Cheese
“There are stars
In the Southern sky
Southward as you go
There is moonlight
And moss in the trees
Down the Seven Bridges Road.”
Seven Bridges Road, written by Steve Young, performed by the Eagles
My husband recently surprised me with two tickets to see Don Henley at a local winery. And so, on a Wednesday night, we left the kids with grandma and hurried off towards a field of lawn chairs, picnic baskets, and Hotel California t-shirts. As we settled down with a bottle of red blend and two plastic cups, Don Henley walked out on stage with a group of vocalists and launched into the a capella beginnings of Seven Bridges Road. Voices in harmony never fail to give me goosebumps, and this hauntingly beautiful song was no exception.
As Henley’s stories and southern music washed over us, the warm night took on a dreamy quality, heightened by the rising of a full harvest moon. One thing I love about this style of music is the images it conjures in my mind. It’s the music of endless summer, open roads and desert lands. It’s dusty and lazy and laid back. It’s wonderful.
There’s a flavor to this music too. It’s the taste of southwest food in the summer, and it orbits around peppers. Spicing up sauces, chopped into salsa, sliced as a garnish, or stuffed and roasted, these spicy, fruity, peppery vegetables are as necessary as the sun and the sand. As a chile relleno devotee, I often daydream of a healthy alternative to this addicting pile of cheesy fried pepper. Here’s what I’ve dreamed up so far, and it’s damn good: I stuffed big, gorgeous poblano peppers with queso fresco (let’s not kid ourselves – poblanos need cheese). Then I sautéed sweet potatoes and red onions into a deliciously crispy hash. To this I mixed in sweet corn right off the cob, and stuffed it in with the cheese. And finally, I cracked in an egg and baked it all to fragrant, melty, roasted perfection. Topped off with an array of fresh, colorful toppings, this is a meal to be savored “in the desert tonight, with a billion stars all around”.
Why is it good for you?
Poblano peppers are surprisingly high in iron, the essential mineral your body needs to create red blood cells. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 1 in every 10 women are iron deficient.
Both poblanos and sweet potatoes are notably high in vitamin A, which protects eye, skin, and immune health and acts as an antioxidant.
Sweet potatoes are also a great source of potassium. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, diets rich in potassium are associated with lower risk of osteoporosis, heart disease, and stroke.
- 4 large poblano peppers (sometimes called pasilla peppers)
- 1 tsp avocado oil or canola oil
- 1 medium sweet potato, unpeeled, finely chopped
- 1/2 medium red onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 ear corn, shucked
- 4 oz. queso fresco
- 4 large eggs
- kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 lime, cut into quarters
- crumbled cotija
- chopped cilantro
- halved cherry tomatoes
- Mexican crema, sour cream, or plain yogurt
- sliced avocado
- sliced red chili peppers or jalapenos
- fresh squeezed lime juice
- Set oven broiler to high.
- Prepare a baking sheet with aluminum foil (do not use parchment paper when broiling).
- Rub poblano peppers with the 1 tsp avocado oil and sprinkle with salt to taste.
- Place peppers on the prepared sheet and broil 2 minutes. Flip peppers and broil 2-3 additional minutes, or until beginning to blister. Remove to a platter.
- Reduce oven heat to 400 degrees F.
- Toss the sweet potato and red onion with the olive oil, plus salt and pepper to taste.
- Place the ear of corn on the foil-lined pan, then spread the sweet potato and onions across the rest of the pan. Roast 20 minutes, stirring half way through.
- As vegetables bake, prepare the poblanos: cut a slit in the top of each pepper from just below the stem to the tip. Gently open the sides and remove the seeds and ribs, leaving the stem intact.
- Stuff each poblano with 1 oz queso fresco.
- When vegetables are done, remove from oven and reduce the heat to 350 degrees F.
- Use a towel to remove the corn from the baking sheet. Carefully cut the kernels from the cob with a sharp knife. Return the kernels to the pan and stir in to the sweet potatoes and onions.
- Divide the corn, sweet potato and onion mixture evenly between the poblano peppers, stuffing in on top of the cheese.
- Crack one egg into each pepper, taking care not to break the yolk.
- Return the stuffed poblanos to the baking sheet and roast until the egg whites are just set, 25-30 minutes.
- Sprinkle each egg with salt and pepper. Garnish with your toppings of choice, and serve hot with lime wedges for squeezing.