Chilies Rellenos Con Sombreros (Stuffed Peppers with Hats) Serves 6
I never had any intention of becoming a difficult dinner guest. At first it was just having to avoid gluten…then sugar…and now we’ve made the decision to go to a plant based diet. And since we didn’t put out a bulletin to announce it, it’s often a conversation stopper when folks hear about it. Especially when it comes to dinner invitations. And while folks are almost unfailingly polite, it usually goes like this:
Friend: “Hi! Can you come to dinner on Saturday?”
Me: “We’d love to, what may I bring?”
Friend: “Just your fabulous selves, and maybe a bottle of wine. By the way, are there any food allergies or intolerances?”
Me: (Pause) Well… we’re vegan these days. And I’m still gluten-intolerant.”
Friend: (LONG Pause) “Oh, uh….”
Me: “Hey, why don’t we make it pot-luck and I’ll bring the main course?”
Friend: “Would you mind?”
Me: “Sure, I’d love to! What time and for how many?”
At which point I realize that not only have I just invited myself to provide the main course for a friends’ dinner party, I have also put myself in the position of demonstrating that Vegan food is delicious and sophisticated and worthy of the occasion.
Tonight’s the night. We are enjoying the first gloriously warm and sunny day of the year and will be joining two other couples for dinner. And did I mention that one of them is a chef? Well, never one to avoid creative stress, I decided to perform a little kitchen alchemy this afternoon. Stay tuned for an update tomorrow. ~ Glyn
Chilies Rellenos con Sombreros (Stuffed Peppers with Hats) Serves 6
For the Peppers:
6 large green peppers, topped, seeded and blanched
1 c. long grain white rice
2 c. vegetable broth (or 2 c. water and 2 veggie bouillon cubes)
½ c. chopped apricots
¼ c. raisins
1 c. cilantro leaves, chopped
½ c. Sofrito (in the summer make your own, but for now, use GOYA)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
½ c. finely chopped sweet white onion
½ c. coarsely chopped walnuts
1 red hot chili pepper, finely diced
1 clove garlic chopped
2 tbsp. olive oil (with extra for oiling the cooking dish)
½ tsp ground coriander
1 tsp. cumin
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
For the sauce:
3 ears white or yellow corn
2 cans Rotel tomatoes (or 2 cans diced tomatoes and 1 can chopped green chilis)
1 c. cilantro leaves
½ tsp. ground cumin
2 tbsp. triple sec
3 scallions, chopped and additional cilantro for garnish
Top, seed and blanche the peppers and their tops in boiling water for 3-5 minutes. Drain and cool.
In the same water, plump the raisins and the apricots. Drain the fruit.
Combine the rice with the broth and cook in a rice cooker until the water is absorbed and the center of the rice is still a bit chewy. Cool slightly and stir in the raisins, apricots, Sofrito, chopped cilantro and the drained beans.
In the olive oil, sauté the onion, red pepper, garlic and walnuts until the onion is translucent and the walnuts are lightly brown. Stir in the coriander, cumin and cinnamon. Combine with the rice mixture (adding more Sofrito if it seems too dry) and use to lightly stuff the peppers.
Stand the peppers upright in a lightly oiled deep, casserole or roasting pan.
Prepare the sauce.
Scrape the kernels from the two ears of corn. Drain the tomatoes into the corn and cook until just crisp tender. Reserve ½ c. of the corn. Combine the rest with the tomatoes and chilies and process in a blender or food processor to make a thin sauce.
Pour the sauce over and around the peppers. Scatter the remaining kernels of corn over the sauce. Place the pepper tops on as Sombreros.
Bake at 325 for one hour. At the end of the hour, drizzle the triple sec over the peppers. Cover and keep warm until serving.
Garnish with the remaining cilantro and chopped green onions.