Turkey Enchilada Stuffed Poblano Peppers

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Use your leftover turkey (or chicken) in these Turkey Enchilada Stuffed Poblano Peppers. Turkey and brown rice are smothered in a homemade red enchilada sauce and topped with melty cheese.

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Everything in Moderation

At first, I was going to post a veggie noodle salad for the first recipe of 2017. But I thought that these Turkey Enchilada Stuffed Poblano Peppers better illustrated my philosophy on food and life: everything in moderation.

A lot of people try to start the year off fresh and healthy at the beginning of the New Year. I’m no exception. But I’ve always been a fan of compromise and moderation.

I don’t go on an extreme diet or cut out all sweets or fatty foods. I let myself have some treats and this makes it easier to maintain healthy moderation throughout the year rather than for just one month.

Use Your Leftovers in These Enchilada Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Because of the holidays, there is no reason to cook a completely new meal with all the leftovers in the fridge.

Use your leftover turkey (or chicken) in these Turkey Enchilada Stuffed Poblano Peppers. Turkey and brown rice are smothered in a homemade red enchilada sauce and topped with melty cheese. | www.megiswell.com

This is more of a Thanksgiving leftover creation than Christmas. I feel like a lot of people choose to do something different for Christmas because it’s so close on the tailwinds of Thanksgiving.

My family joined in that tradition this year by doing paella instead of ham or turkey. Paella, by the way, is not an overrated dish and it’s freaking amazing.

But you can also use leftover chicken or anything else you feel like eating or getting rid of. Stuffed peppers that have rice in them are very versatile.

The rice provides the bulk of the stuffing so that you can mix it with anything and not have sad deflated peppers:

  • Grains (rice, millet, sorghum, etc.)
  • Pulses/Legumes (chickpeas, beans, lentils, etc.)
  • Meat (leftover chicken, beef, pork)
  • Vegetarian or vegan protein (tofu, tempeh)
  • Vegetables

Because the star of the show is the peppers and the enchilada sauce, which is surprisingly healthy.

Use your leftover turkey (or chicken) in these Turkey Enchilada Stuffed Poblano Peppers. Turkey and brown rice are smothered in a homemade red enchilada sauce and topped with melty cheese. | www.megiswell.com

Enchilada Sauce

Using dried chilies like ancho and pasilla makes classic red enchilada sauce a deep brown-red, not bright orange. 

You char onion, tomatoes, and garlic to add flavor and then simmer them with chilies and Mexican oregano and marjoram in water.

Then you blend everything in a blender along with some whole chilies in adobo sauce (optional). It is very similar to the techniques used in my 3 Bean and Quinoa Vegetarian Chili.

Use your leftover turkey (or chicken) in these Turkey Enchilada Stuffed Poblano Peppers. Turkey and brown rice are smothered in a homemade red enchilada sauce and topped with melty cheese. | www.megiswell.com

I usually use the sauce to make leftover carnitas enchiladas but these Turkey Enchilada Stuffed Poblano Peppers are a healthier compromise.

Using peppers as the wrapping cuts carbs and using brown rice adds some nutritious whole grains. This time I used leftover turkey from Thanksgiving, which added some lean protein.

But as I said, you can use any meat or veggie filler you want. Because of my struggles digesting fat, I grudgingly used reduced-fat cheddar and mozzarella cheese. I considered not putting any cheese on but that just seemed like blasphemy.

Use your leftover turkey (or chicken) in these Turkey Enchilada Stuffed Poblano Peppers. Turkey and brown rice are smothered in a homemade red enchilada sauce and topped with melty cheese. | www.megiswell.com

Just to let you know, the bright orange in the photos is from very generous dabs of hot sauce! I hope you all have success in maintaining your New Year’s resolutions. Cheers!

5 from 2 votes

Turkey Enchilada Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Use your leftover turkey (or chicken) in these Turkey Enchilada Stuffed Poblano Peppers. Turkey and brown rice are smothered in a homemade red enchilada sauce and topped with melty cheese.
Servings 4
Prep Time 1 hr 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 40 mins

Ingredients

Red Enchilada Sauce (from Mexican Food Journal, Douglas Cullen)

  • 8 ancho chilies
  • 4 pasilla chilies
  • 1 onion quartered
  • 2 tomatoes halved
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled and smashed
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon marjoram
  • 2 whole chilies in adobo sauce optional
  • 2 tablespoons reserved chilies in adobo sauce optional
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • salt, to taste between 1 to 3 teaspoons fine sea salt

Turkey Enchilada Stuffed Poblano Peppers

  • 4 poblano peppers
  • 2 cups shredded leftover turkey or chicken
  • 1 cup California Brown Basmati Rice* uncooked
  • 3 whole pickled jalapeños diced
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup reduced moisture mozzarella cheese

Instructions

Red Enchilada Sauce

  • Microwave chilies for 20 seconds and remove stems and seeds. Or heat them in a skillet on medium heat until pliable.
  • Heat a small frying pan on high heat. When it’s hot, add the onion, tomatoes, and garlic and char, turning occasionally to get all the sides. 
  • Place the chilies, onion, tomatoes, garlic, oregano, and marjoram in a medium saucepan and fill with water until everything is slightly covered.
  • Bring to a boil and then reduce heat, letting it simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Pour everything into a blender. If you want a little more spice, add the whole chilies in adobo + sauce. Blend on high speed until smooth.
  • Heat a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan. Once it’s hot, pour the enchilada sauce into the hot pan (this can be a little scary and it splatter pretty bad).
  • Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 30 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Add salt to taste.

Turkey Enchilada Stuffed Poblano Peppers

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook rice according to package instructions OR see the Recipe Notes for a very quick version of Mexican Rice (it helps add more flavor).
  • Make lengthwise slits in the poblano peppers and carefully remove the pith and seeds, being careful not to rip the peppers.
  • Mix shredded turkey, rice, pickled jalapeños, and 1/2 cup enchilada sauce.
  • Spread a 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce onto the bottom of oven proof skillet.
  • Stuff each poblano pepper with the turkey mix and place them in the baking dish. Pour a 1/2 to 1 cup red enchilada sauce over everything.
  • Bake for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and bake another 10 to 15 minutes. 
  • Let the stuffed peppers cool for 5 minutes and then serve with a sprinkle of cotija cheese, cilantro, chives, and sour cream (or plain greek yogurt) if desired.

Notes

*Quick Mexican Rice:
  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 1.5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 chilies in adobo + 2 tablespoons sauce
  • Combine broth and chilies in adobo + sauce in a blender. Blend on high until smooth. Pour into a saucepan with the rice and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 40 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit, with the lid on, for 10 minutes.
The majority of the enchilada sauce recipe comes from this Red Enchilada Sauce recipe from Mexican Food Journal. I’ve experimented a lot with it though and it is very adaptable to what you have in your kitchen. I’ve used shallots in place of onions, different mixes of tomatoes, different amounts of each ingredient, etc., and it comes out great every time.
Make the enchilada sauce on a separate day to decrease the cooking time. That will make the stuffed peppers extremely fast and easy to make.
The recipe for the enchilada sauce makes a lot (6 cups) so you can freeze it in a mason jar to save for another time.
Because of the way the chilies are dried, the sauce can sometimes be very bitter. If this happens, add salt until the bitterness decreases to acceptable levels. 
Author: Megan Wells
Course: Main Dishes
Use your leftover turkey (or chicken) in these Turkey Enchilada Stuffed Poblano Peppers. Turkey and brown rice are smothered in a homemade red enchilada sauce and topped with melty cheese. | www.megiswell.com
Use your leftover turkey (or chicken) in these Turkey Enchilada Stuffed Poblano Peppers. Turkey and brown rice are smothered in a homemade red enchilada sauce and topped with melty cheese. | Pantry Recipes | #leftovers #leftoverrecipes | www.megiswell.com
Use your leftover turkey (or chicken) in these Turkey Enchilada Stuffed Poblano Peppers. Turkey and brown rice are smothered in a homemade red enchilada sauce and topped with melty cheese. | Pantry Recipes | #leftovers #leftoverrecipes | www.megiswell.com

Join the Conversation

  1. I have yet to make anything with poblano peppers but have ordered them at restaurants and love them. Your recipe looks delicious, I’ll have to try making it at home!

    1. Thank you Fida! Poblanos are by far my favorite pepper to cook with. Hope you enjoy it!

  2. I love all things Mexican! These stuffed poblano peppers look simply divine. I am like you, I try to stay moderate all year so I don’t make resolutions like others because I know I won’t be able to succeed in sticking with it. But like I said, if we are moderate, there is no need for resolutions. 🙂 At least that is what I tell myself. I love that you use leftover turkey for this! This recipe will be on my to do list this month!

  3. 5 stars
    Yum. Mexican food is so delicious! I’ve never tried stuffing the poblano peppers before…only ordered them in restaurants. I like being able to control the heat and fat in this recipe.

  4. I made a grilled stuffed poblano pepper during the summer and been looking for a new recipe for the cooler weather and now I’ve found it. Can’t wait to try this.

  5. 5 stars
    These look GORGEOUS! I’ll have to try your stuffed poblano recipe out.. mine didn’t turn out as fabulously as I wanted.
    How was the reduced fat cheese? I always look at it suspiciously… lol

    1. Thanks Sarah! And as long as there is lots of flavor in whatever dish you are pairing the reduced fat cheese with, it isn’t too noticeable. But for just eating by itself or pairing with really simple meals, I wouldn’t recommend it-it’s pretty bland and doesn’t have that umpf. Also it’s a little waxy?

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