Aka: Chile Rellenos with Beef…Low-carb, keto-friendly and quick & easy!
Poblano peppers are kind of like bell peppers in the sense that they are so versatile and can be a wonderful vessel for a variety of stuffings. Chiles Rellenos with a cheesy beef filling is our all-time favorite Mexican dish. With this recipe, a restaurant quality meal can be on the table with minimal effort. I spend a total of 15 – 20 minutes roasting the peppers and prepping the whole meal, then another 15 minutes in the oven for a delicious dinner. Most of that is waiting time.
The Poblano pepper is Mexico’s favorite chile pepper. We grew our own peppers the last few years, but they are readily available in most grocery stores. If you aren’t familiar with poblanos, they are a thick-walled mild pepper, harvested when green to make chiles rellenos. They have a sweet smokey flavor. When it is allowed to ripen to red and then dried, it’s known as an ‘Ancho’ pepper. It can then be ground to use as Ancho chili powder.
Typically, Poblano peppers have considerably less heat than Jalapeno peppers, but beware that every once in a while you can get a hot one. Not super hot, just a surprising bite. Probably too much for an unsuspecting child. It’s kind of like a game of chance…one plant produces many peppers, however there may or may not be one with a little heat. According to the Scoville Scale, Poblano peppers have a heat rating of 1,000 – 2,000, while Jalapenos have a heat rating of 2,500 – 8,000.
Poblanos should be roasted and the paper-thin outer skin removed before cooking. The reason is that it is suppose to be difficult to digest, plus the roasting also adds another flavor. Don’t tell anyone, but I don’t always roast the peppers if I’m in a hurry.
My peppers were already prepped in the freezer. I had previously removed the stem end then split one side from top to bottom and scraped out the seeds and veins. I freeze them whole on a baking sheet, then put in a gallon freezer bag for storage.
How to Roast Poblano Peppers
It’s actually super easy to roast the peppers. Use previously prepared and frozen peppers (thaw first) or fresh peppers.
Place the poblano peppers on a foil lined baking sheet and spray them with a cooking spray. Put the baking sheet under the broiler (on high) for 5 minutes. Turn the peppers over, spray with cooking spray again, then broil again for 5 minutes.
Carefully remove the baking sheet from the oven, then pull the foil up and around to cover the peppers. You want to create a little steam chamber to make removing the peeling easier. Let the peppers steam for 5 minutes or so.
Carefully open the foil to let the steam escape. Put on gloves or spray your hands with cooking spray so you can handle the peppers. (It can be painful if any hot pepper oil is absorbed in your hands.) The pepper skin should easily slip off. Finally, remove and discard the stem and the seeds.
Baked Chile Rellenos
Prep Time 15 -20 minutes Cook Time about 15 minutes Serves 4
- 4 poblano peppers (mine were smaller, so I used 6 peppers)
- about 3/4 ground beef
- 8 ounces cream cheese, cut into 1″ cubes
- 4 ounces shredded cheese (cheddar, cheddar blend or Mexican blend)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- Optional: 2 teaspoons chili powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: can of queso cheese (skip for Keto-friendly)
- Optional: Fresh chopped cilantro for garnish
- Roast the peppers to remove skin, stem and seeds. (See roasting directions) After roasting the peppers, turn the oven temperature down to 375°
- While the peppers are roasting, in a large skillet, brown the ground beef, then drain the grease.
- Stir into the cooked ground beef the cream cheese, shredded cheese, garlic powder, cumin, and salt and pepper. Add chili powder, if desired. Stir until cheese is melted and well blended.
- After the peppers are peeled and prepped, spoon the hot beef/cheese mixture into the poblano peppers and place cut side up in a baking pan.
- Bake the stuffed peppers about 15 minutes, until the cheeses melt. (Spoon optional queso cheese over the peppers the last 5 minutes) While the peppers are baking, I make a quick Spanish rice and cut up lettuce, tomatoes and an avocado for a simple salad.
- Serve garnished with fresh chopped cilantro, Spanish rice and salad.
Notes: I had a little tomato left, so I cut it up to add to the ground beef mix. The first time I made these at home I added a little crushed pork rinds before baking, then the last 5 minutes, added the queso cheese. This time, I had a little leftover marinara sauce in the fridge, so used it to dress up the plate.
This meal included a keto-friendly Spanish rice made with a package of cauliflower rice from the freezer that I cooked as directed on the package, then added a couple of spoonfuls of my Fajita seasoning and a little chopped tomato.
This recipe is really easy, but for an even simpler version, here is the recipe for my Chile Relleno Casserole.