Poblano Peppers: A Mild Mexican Chile

Poblano peppers are popular for their mild smoky flavor, especially in the Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisines. Read on to get to know them better, and how to make the best use of these flavorful chiles.

What are poblano peppers?

Poblano peppers, scientifically known as Capsicum annum, got its name from Puebla, the Mexican state of its origin. The unripe poblano is green with a tough skin that’s chewy rather than crisp. It gets redder and darker when ripened. Poblanos can grow up to 15 cm in length and 8 cm wide, similar to capsicum in size; in appearance, poblanos look alot like large jalapeños.

What do poblano peppers taste like?

Poblano peppers offer a rich, earthy flavor with a mild spiciness of around 1000 to 2000 on the Scoville heat scale. They are hotter than banana peppers while being milder than a jalapeño. The unripe, green-colored poblano peppers are super mild compared to a fully ripened red poblano. 

The dried red poblano, called an ancho pepper, is especially popular among spice lovers owing to its unique hot and smoky flavor. Furthermore, they can be made even milder, and somewhat sweet when cooked.

Image Credit: Flickr user Garrett Heath ( CC BY 2.0 )

Uses for poblano peppers

While poblano peppers can be savored raw, they taste best when roasted, stuffed, or pureed into sauces and dips. One of the most popular dishes featuring these flavor-packed peppers is Mexican chili Rellenos in which raw poblano are stuffed with cheese, breaded, and deep-fried till golden brown and crisp. This classic recipe is made simpler yet equally delicious in our Rellenos-Style Chorizo and Cheese Stuffed Peppers.

Poblano Mole, the national dish of Mexico, also leverages poblano chiles that are slow-cooked among thicken thighs, stock, tomatoes, raisins, chocolate, almond butter, and warm spices, resulting in a fusion of spicy, sweet, smoky, and somewhat nutty-flavored chicken that’s tender and luxuriously saucy. You can also prepare the iconic Chipotle Beef with Masa Dumplings packed with a delicious array of Mexican flavors, and on top of that, it’s gluten-free!

Poblanos give a mild kick to salads, salsa, and dips, making it an ideal component for tacos, wraps, and sides for steak dishes. Try out the classic poblano salsa in our recipes for Fish Tacos and Chipotle Skirt Steak. Want to make something vegetarian with poblano? This Spanish Tofu Sofrito recipe is packed with veggies, protein, carbs- a complete meal that’s heavenly scrumptious, and is definitely worth a try. 

Or perhaps try out the American take on poblano peppers in this hearty Black Bean Chili. You can always swap poblano with a hotter chile like jalapeno, serrano, or cayenne pepper, depending on your palate.

Feature Image: Flickr user joncutrer ( CC0 1.0 )

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