The garden always inspires the recipe, and, often times, the driving factor is abundance. That's the case for tonight's Chiles Rancheros. The peppers in the garden right now -- they are plentiful. Serranos, cherry bells, jalapenos, and sweet carmens -- I've pickeld them, diced them into stir frys, scrambled them with eggs, wrapped them in bacon, and put them on pizzas.
When the squirrels started to enjoy my sweet Carmen peppers a little too much before they turned red, I made an executive decision to harvest. What to do with a bunch of green sweet Carmen peppers? Why, stuff them, of course. Stuff them with black beans, brown rice, jack cheese, pickled serranos, corn off the cobb from this week's bushel, red onion and the Sweet Chelsea tomatoes from the garden. And, then bake them in a tangy and just-a-little-spicy Rancheros sauce. Top with guacamole and a pickled serrano slice, and that's supper.
Begin by making this Rancheros sauce.
These Sweet Chelsea tomatoes just keep on giving, even as the larger tomatoes in the garden begin to play out. And so, they find their way into this stuffing.
Buttery and cool guacamole makes the perfect topper for these peppers. Mash one avocado with the juice of one lime. Add in a couple tablespoons minced red onion, one finely diced jalapeno, one clove grated garlic and a handful of chopped fresh cilantro. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Rancheros sauce (about a pint)
5 medium Carmen Peppers (or other elongated/bull's horn pepper of your choice)
1 to 1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
corn kernels from one ear of corn on the cobb
2 diced pickled serrano peppers (or jalapenos)
1/3 cup diced red onion
10 or so diced cherry tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 cup sour cream or greek yogurt
2 cups grated jack cheese, divided
salt and pepper to taste
guacamole and pickled serrano slices for topping
Prepare the Rancheros sauce.
While you make the sauce, prepare the stuffing for the peppers. Combine the rice, beans, corn, pickled serrano, red onion, cherry tomatoes, cumin, coriander, sour cream and 1 cup jack cheese in a medium bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Pour the Rancheros sauce into a 9x13 baking dish. Cut each Carmen pepper in half lengthwise, and remove seeds and ribs. Stuff each pepper half with the rice and bean mixture and place into the baking dish. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, increase oven temp to 425 degrees, remove foil and top with remaining jack cheese. Bake, uncovered, and additional 10-15 minutes, until the sauce thickens and the cheese is bubbly. Serve topped with a dollop of guacamole pickled serrano slices.