Monday, October 22, 2012

Poblano Pepper Spread

Great Balls Of Fire by Jerry Lee Lewis
This song just gets me excited!  You can't help but catch his energy and want to do something - ANYTHING - you just want to move!  And today's recipe is one that has me wanting to eat it on something - ANYTHING - I just have to eat it!  The possibilities are for you to explore!  Of course, it's kind of fun when you get to play with fire a bit.  Nothing scary, mind you - or illegal.  Just good home cookin'!

My daughter and her family were home for a visit recently and, while fixing dinner one night, I realized that I needed some sort of spread to go on the pretzel rolls we had purchased at Costco.  I puzzled about it while prepping the rest of dinner and got to thinking about what I had available.  I remembered some poblano peppers we had picked up at the Farmers Market earlier that day.  I was thinking that I might want to try my hand at making chile rellenos but I wondered if I could use them for a spread instead.

The mind-path that took me to the ending result went fairly quickly - kind of like this:  Pretzels and chile peppers? ~ Oh yeah, some of the kids at culinary school made jalapeño-filled pretzels and they were delicious! ~ So the poblanos would work as well! ~ I could roast them on the stovetop ~ That would be quick ~ And I have a half a brick of cream cheese and a tub of mascarpone cheese as well. ~ The rolls are kind of bulky. ~  But if I slice them into discs and toasted them they would be great as "chips." ~ Could it be that simple?  ~ I really think that'll work!

This thought process had me thinking about my culinary school days and all the cool stuff I learned from my classmates - like how to roast a chile pepper the legit way!  One day we had a recipe that required roasting chile peppers.  As soon as we were given the green light, some of the hispanic students marched right over to the cook top and fired up the burners.  They then proceeded to place their chile peppers over the open flames of the cook top, balancing them on top of the grates, and, with tongs, turn them periodically so that all sides became charred.  Some of us threw ours into a hot oven or under a broiler to achieve the same purpose but their way just looked like more fun!  

Once they were sufficiently charred, the peppers were tossed into a large bowl and then covered with plastic wrap to trap the steam inside.  This softens up that now-charred outer skin so it sloughs off easily.  What you're left with is a beautifully roasted and supple chile pepper.

Now, here in my kitchen, years later, I was never so happy that we converted to a gas cook top a few years ago!  I realized that I was going to be able to roast my chile peppers in the same manner as my classmates!  Great balls of fire!

I fired up one of my burners and situated the poblanos over the open flames like I remembered my classmates doing.  Then I watched - and listened - as the flames blistered and charred those peppers!
 There were snaps and crackles and it was so easy!  I checked to be sure the one side was completely charred and then turned them over and finished the other side.  Then into the covered bowl they went for about 15 minutes.
After their "sauna" treatment, I easily slid their skins off.
The beautiful green flesh was now ready to use!  I cut off the stems and then opened them up and took out the seeds and membranes.
All that was left to do was pop them into the food processor with the cheeses and give it all a whirr!

The result?  100% awesomeness!  I knew it would be good but not as good as it really was! 

 I chose poblano peppers because I think they are the perfect chile pepper.  I'm a bit of a wimp when it comes to spice and poblanos are very low on the Scoville scale.  With the poblano you get the amazing flavor of chile peppers with just a hint of the heat.  Their flavor in this spread pushes through the creaminess of the cheeses and you are left with a very delectable and creamy experience!  I have been putting this spread on - and in - just about everything I can justify!  It went perfectly with those pretzel roll "chips" and, a few nights later, the spread took some BLT's I made to a whole new level!  I dip regular pretzel twists in them and have a bag of those mini-peppers on hand that I'm excited to roast and fill with a squirt of this poblano goodness!  This bread didn't have a chance escaping the poblano craze going on in my kitchen!  I even invited some pico de gallo along for this test drive!
I might get to those chile rellenos some day - but for now I'm totally loving this spread!  I know you will as well!

Poblano Pepper Spread
1 - 2 poblano peppers (some stores sell them as pasilla peppers)
4 oz. cream cheese
4 oz. mascarpone cheese
1 t. salt

Roast the poblano peppers over an open flame or under a broiler.  Turn them to be sure that they are charred on all sides.  Place the roasted peppers into a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap to trap the steam.

After about 15 minutes, remove the peppers from the bowl and, using your hands, remove the charred skin from the peppers.  I found it helpful to do this by the sink and slightly wet my hand.  The char will stick to your damp hand and come off as you slide your hand down the chile.  Rinse your hand, shake off the excess water and slide it down the pepper again.

Once all the char is gone, cut the stem off and slit open the chile and lay it out flat on a cutting board.  Using a paring knife, remove the seeds and excess membranes from the inside wall.

Place all the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until they all come together.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and pulse again, if necessary.  Place in a container with a tight lid and enjoy!


  1. This looks delish! Got any left? :)

    I'm like you...I like to taste my food and not feel it. Jalapenos are about as hot as I'll go and even, I take out most of the seeds anyway.

    1. I do have some left! I'll have to see if I can hook you up with some! Jalapeños are a bit too hot for me. If a recipe, like pico de gallo, calls for two - I add a half of one! And no seeds or white membranes allowed!