Bold flavors abound in these gluten-free Southwest Chicken Stuffed Poblanos packed with tender chicken, rice, beans, corn and oozing cheese. This sheet pan dinner is on the table in less than an hour and can be prepped the day before to make life even easier.
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To get things started in this recipe, the poblanos go in the oven to soften before stuffing them and well-seasoned chicken goes in at the same time to cook. When the chicken is done, grab a couple forks to shred and then combine it with the rice, beans, corn, tomatoes, salsa and cilantro.
Then once the peppers are cool enough to handle, cut a slit down the middle to remove the seeds. If a few stragglers remain it's not a big deal, but you certainly don't want an unpleasant, hot, seedy mouthful. Remember, more seeds = more heat.
How hot are poblano peppers?
Poblanos are relatively mild, just a step or two above bell peppers which are zero on the Scoville Heat Unit (SHU) scale. Ancho peppers and poblanos fall in the 1,000 - 2,500 SHU range, while jalapenos check in at 2,500 - 10,000 SHUs. Ghost peppers are among the hottest on the scale and come with a skull and cross-bone warning at 800k - 1m SHUs. And to think the Carolina Reaper scores 1.5m - 3m+ is beyond comprehension.
Should the pepper's skin be peeled off?
You can leave it. The skin will darken while pre-roasting, but the skin helps keep the the poblanos from falling apart when stuffing them with the chicken mixture. And, the skin is so thin you barely notice any change in texture from the pepper's flesh when digging in.
Key Components & Substitutions
Let your culinary imagination run wild when it comes to stuffing peppers. It really is driven by your family's preferences and tolerance of heat. Here are some suggestions that may trigger your ideal stuffed pepper.
- Peppers: If the possibility of too much heat overwhelms your crew, follow the same instructions using bell peppers to keep the gang happy.
- Protein: Rotisserie or leftover chicken will certainly work along with ground beef or turkey, chorizo, or tofu to make it vegetarian.
- Vegetables: In addition to tomatoes and corn you can substitute other veggies like zucchini, onions, mushrooms and bell peppers.
- Beans: I used black beans but any bean will clearly work.
- Grains: Use whatever rice you have on hand, quinoa or orzo pasta.
- Cheese: I used Oaxaca cheese but if you can't find it, cheddar, Monterey and Colby jack cheese work well too.
How to Serve
When the cheese is melted and bubbly after another quick stint in the oven, it's go time. Carefully transfer those tasty, stuffed beauties onto a platter or individual plates. Simply garnish with sliced avocado, fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime. Flavortown just got a new resident. Enjoy, friends!
More Mexican Chicken Recipes to Try!
And for my Sheet Pan Dinner Lovers...
Southwest Chicken Stuffed Poblanos
- 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs , well-trimmed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil , divided
- 1 teaspoon each chili powder , smoked paprika and cumin
- kosher salt and pepper
- 6 large poblano peppers
- 15- ounce can diced tomatoes , drained
- 15- ounce can black beans , drained and rinsed
- 1 cup fresh or frozen corn , thawed
- 1 cup cooked rice
- 1 cup salsa , store-bought or homemade
- ½ cup fresh cilantro , chopped, plus extra for garnish
- 1 ½ cups Oaxaca or cheddar cheese , shredded
- Sliced avocado and lime wedges for serving
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Place chicken on one side of an extra-large, parchment-lined baking sheet and coat with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
- Combine chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin and a pinch of salt and pepper in a small bowl.
- Rub spice mixture all over the chicken.
- Place poblanos on other side of baking sheet. Coat them with remaining olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Roast the chicken and poblanos for 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and peppers are softened.
- Transfer chicken to a work surface and shred with two forks.
- In a large bowl, combine the shredded chicken, diced tomatoes, black beans, corn, rice, salsa, cilantro and 1 cup of cheese. Set aside.
- Cut a slit down the length of each poblano. With a small sharp knife or your fingers, carefully remove and discard the seeds from each pepper.
- Stuff the chicken mixture in the peppers and place on another parchment-lined baking sheet or in a 13x9 casserole dish.
- Top peppers with the remaining the cheese.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Serve with sliced avocado, a squeeze of lime and extra cilantro. Enjoy!
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