Chili Pepper Casserole

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I invented this dish when I had a failed attempt to make chiles rellenos, and I haven’t been sure what to call it since then.  Pepper Bake?  Chiles Rellenos Deconstructed?  Unstuffed Peppers?  Our nephew calls it Cheese Peppers, but there’s more than just cheese in there.  Since it has become part of our regular repertoire, it definitely needs a name… so henceforth it will be called Chili Pepper Casserole.

Here’s how you make it:

  • 12 pasilla or poblano peppers
  • 3 pounds of grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 grated carrots or bunch of greens (optional)
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • enchilada sauce (I use a recipe on this page because it’s so fast and easy.)
  • 1 tub kefir cheese*
  • grated parmesan cheese (optional)

* Kefir cheese is similar to cottage cheese, but kefir is used to separate curds and whey instead of rennet.  One advantage is that it doesn’t contain salt like most cheese.  I also like the tangy flavor for this recipe.

1. Peppers: Place the peppers under your broiler until they are charred on all sides.  Cover them tightly with foil for 10 minutes to make removing the skin easier.  The skin should simply peel right off, but I don’t worry about it if some is left on.  It’s okay if the peppers rip in half, since you’ll want them to lay flat anyway.  Remove the stem and any seeds as well.  The dish will still be somewhat spicy, depending on the heat of the peppers.  You may want to wear gloves for this step to protect your hands.

2. Meat mixture: Saute onions and garlic until translucent.  I also like to add grated carrots or greens (kale, chard) at this point for variety and to add more vegetables.  Add oregano.  Add meat and brown.

3. Enchilada sauce: Prepare your sauce, or use recipe listed above.

4. Putting it together:  Line the bottom of a 9″x13″ glass casserole with half of the peppers.  Put half of the meat mixture on top, and crumble half of the kefir cheese on top of that.  Pour some of the enchilada sauce on top.  Repeat with the remaining peppers, meat mixture, kefir cheese, and sauce.  Top with parmesan cheese.

5. Bake: Bake in 400* oven for 15-20 minutes, or until bubbly and the cheese is melted.  Place under the broiler for 3-5 minutes to brown the cheese on top.  Wait five minutes and serve.

I hope you like it!  It should make 6-9 servings, depending on how hungry the people you feed are.  It’s nice served with salad beforehand.

–Crystal

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