10th Honorable Mention – 2015 Recipe Contest

Chef Richie here, at your service…to share more culinary nuggets of wisdom and make the world a better place through sun dried tomatoes, olive oil, risotto and the Mediterranean Diet…and this month, The Mexican Land of the Sun Diet.

Chef Richie Says: Try a fresh heirloom tomato AND sun dried tomato Insalata Caprese…it’s AMAZING!…and turn it into a Sicilian one with chile flakes for a little kick, olives and capers (the ones packed in salt are best…Sicilian sea salt believe it or not) and let’s call it Insalata Siciliana because Capri (hence Caprese…or capricious) is its own island. And try Melanzane alla Fiorentina…browned eggplant topped with garlicky sautéed spinach and sun dried tomatoes…or Sun Dried Tomato Ratatouille, or Sicilian Caponata…and a sausage and peppers sandwich with sun dried tomatoes. Make anything and everything with fresh sweet basil and sun dried tomatoes! Bell peppers…all kinds of fresh peppers like anaheims…poblanos…and chile peppers are natural partners for sun dried tomatoes. Put them into your mole sauce!!! Oh my gosh…so wonderful! I’ve gone from Sicily to Mexico in three sentences!

So, with all of that said, this month’s 2015 recipe contest honorable mention winner is from…drumroll…home chef Sharyn Hill with her Bella Sun Luci Poblanos Rellenos. Chiles Rellenos!!! YUM! THIS is the season for the Mediterranean Diet!

This recipe, looking at my remind-myself notes from having cooked it, is “labor intensive – but worth it”. So, be a chef! Be organized! Make it happen! And…I didn’t need notes to remember that this dish is WONDERFUL, tastes like a grandma made it in a small rural pueblo…and as you might have heard me say before, I have two goals in life: To make Martha Stewart jealous and to become an Italian (or in this case, Mexican) grandma. This is one of the dishes that’ll make all of that happen!

Bella Sun Luci Poblanos Rellenos

Sauce:

  • 1 jar (8.5 oz.) Bella Sun Luci Julienne Cut Sun Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil with Italian Herbs, drained
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil from sun dried tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Poblano Rellenos:

  • 4 large fresh poblano chile peppers (about 3 oz. each)
  • 1 package (3.5 oz.) Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomatoes Julienne-Cut with Zesty Peppers
  • 2 cups Mexican blend shredded cheese, divided
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3 large green onions, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F. For sauce, in a blender or food processor combine tomatoes, 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, wine, and salt. Blend or process until smooth. Set aside.

Preheat broiler. Place poblanos on large sheet of aluminum; broil 3 inches from heat 10 to 12 minutes until blackened, turning halfway through. Pull foil up over poblanos; close tightly. Let stand 10 minutes. Peel and discard skins. Cut each pepper lengthwise down one side being careful not to cut through other side. Gently remove seeds and veins; keeping stem intact. Set aside.

In medium bowl, combine julienned tomatoes, 1-1/2 cups shredded cheese, cream cheese, onions, cilantro, bread crumbs, egg yolk, lime juice, cumin and chipotle chile pepper together until thoroughly combined. Equally divide cheese mixture among poblanos, pressing into cavities.

Place reserved sauce onto a 10-inch square baking dish. Place filled poblanos on top of sauce. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes at 400°F. Remove from oven; sprinkle poblanos with remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheese. Bake, uncovered, for another 5 minutes just until cheese has melted. To serve, spoon sauce onto serving plate and top with a poblano. Makes 8 servings.

TO MAKE AHEAD: Filled poblanos and sauce can be covered and refrigerated up to one day in advance. Add 5 minutes to baking time.

So…congratulations Chef Hill! I’m looking forward to your 2016 Recipe Contest entry and…everybody…Get cooking, happy cooking, buon appetito…buen provecho… and buona salute!

Chef Richie Hirshen

Corporate Chef

Mooney Farms and Bella Sun Luci

Chico, CA