Peppers, as we know, are high in vitamin C, the reds having 5 times more than the green bells. All have a good amount of fiber. There are many peppers now at the market, from slightly hot to lip-spanking hot, and of course the sweet and crunchy. I would suggest sampling all of them (having a little tasting, so to speak) to see which ones you prefer in different recipes. Gone is the usual meat stuffed green bell pepper. Arriving now are the peppers in such an array of colors and flavors, pairing well with corn, tomato, cheeses and of course, meat.
Poblanos are a dark green, boast a rich flavor, and a very slight sweet heat. It is the pepper I chose for this week’s recipe. I think the mashed squash adds the perfect sweetness to compliment the goat cheese as a stuffing and the corn-tomato salsa color says “dazzling” on your plate. Enjoy.
Vegan Curried Corn Soup
1 medium Onion, chopped fine
1 Garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon fresh Thyme leaves or ½ teaspoon dried
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups fresh Corn kernels from about 6 ears, white or yellow
3 cups vegetable stock
1 ½ teaspoons curry powder
1 cup Coconut Milk
2 teaspoons Lime juice
2 tablespoons finely chopped Cilantro Leaves
Remove corn kernels from the husk by simply standing ear upright and cutting down the sides with a paring knife.
Cook onion, garlic and thyme in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large 4 qt. pot over medium heat until the onions are translucent, about 8 minutes.
Add the corn kernels, two cups of the stock and simmer, partially covered about 15 minutes until corn is soft.
Heat remaining oil in a small saucepan over low heat and add the curry powder. Stir the curry powder for about one minute to awaken aroma, being careful not to burn it. Remove from heat.
Puree the corn mixture in a blender for at least 30 seconds and then strain it through a medium mesh strainer into a large bowl. Return the strained mixture back to the pot and add the rest of the stock. (Remember the hot corn and stock will be explosive in the blender, so blend a little at a time and be sure to cover the lid of the blender with a dishtowel holding firmly)
Whisk in the curry powder, coconut milk, lime juice and cilantro. Season with salt, heat until hot and serve! Garnish with chopped cilantro and/or thin sliced green onion.
Stuffed Poblano Peppers w/ Goat Cheese and Squash
w/ a Roasted Corn-Tomato Salsa
Serves 6-8 (this recipe takes a couple hours, and a little skill, but worth it!)
8 Poblano Peppers (approx. 4-5 inches long), grilled, peeled and seeded, directions follow.
2 Cups Cooked Squash (Acorn, Butternut, Kabocha, etc., any winter squash)
5 ounces Goat Cheese
1 Small Onion, chopped
2 Teaspoons Fresh Oregano (or 1 Teaspoon dried)
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 cups Roasted Corn and Tomato Salsa, recipe follows.
1/3 cup Crèma Mexicana (or sour cream thinned with a tablespoon of milk)
The squash should be prepped ahead of time by slicing in half and removing seeds. Place cut side down in a baking pan and fill with water about an inch or so up the sides of squash. Bake in a 350 degree oven until skin is crispy and gives to the touch, or squash inside is soft, usually about an hour. Remove from pan and let sit until cool, then scoop out flesh with a spoon. Set cooked squash aside. You will have extra squash.
Grill Peppers on stove-top grill on med-high heat (you can do the husked corn at the same time for the salsa), making sure all sides are evenly blackened, including tops and bottoms, about 15 minutes. The corn doesn’t need as much time or color, just about 10 minutes turning frequently. Put peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap for ten minutes or so. Leave stem intact. Cut corn from cob with a small paring knife standing corn on end, set aside in a bowl.
To make filling: sauté the onion with the oregano for a few minutes until soft and starting to color. Place two cups of the cooked squash in a medium to large mixing bowl, add the onion, goat cheese and salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly with a fork, mashing up the squash and cheese together to get a nice puree.
Remove skin and seeds from peppers by cutting through one side of peppers carefully from top to bottom. You can do this under lightly running water. Be sure to leave on the stem. Place skinned and seeded peppers on paper toweling to dry.
Open the pepper and place about 3 Tablespoons of the filling inside each pepper with a spoon, close with your fingers and place the stuffed peppers, cut side down in a baking pan that will hold all the peppers comfortably without overlapping.
Cover with foil and bake for about 15-20 minutes in a 350 degree oven until very hot.
For the corn salsa:
2 Teaspoons Olive Oil
1 Cup Roasted Corn (white or yellow, grilled stove top then cut from cob, approx. 2 ears)
1 Cup Fresh Tomato, cut in ½ inch dice
½ Small Onion, chopped
1 Serrano Pepper, minced small
1 clove Garlic, minced small
1 Tablespoon Cilantro, chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
In a medium sauce pan saute the Onion and Serrano pepper in the olive oil for 2-3 minutes until onion is soft over medium heat. Add the garlic and tomato and continue to cook another two minutes until tomato is soft but not too cooked down. Add the corn and cook just until heated through, about one minute. Set aside until needed for plating up the peppers.
To Plate: Return salsa to stove to reheat on medium-low heat. Spoon the heated salsa on a serving platter, put the freshly baked stuffed Poblano Squash on top of the salsa and top with a drizzle of the Crema Mexicana or thinned sour cream. Garnish with chopped Cilantro. Serve immediately.