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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

stuffed poblano peppers : Cotija cheese substitute

I found a good recipe for stuffed poblano peppers (see below) . However this particular good recipe used a cheese I never heard of it, This recipe called for Cotija cheese. I then started looking for substututes and found several at this webpage with other substitutes for other cheeses.


Cotija is regularly found in Hispanic markets.This Cotija cheese can be substituted for many other more popular and each to find at your grocery store cheeses like
Parmesan OR
Romano OR
anejo cheese OR
feta cheese OR
Munster or

Stuffed Poblanos with Black Beans and Cheese
Difficulty: Easy


Total: 1 hr 25 mins

Active: 30 mins

Makes: 6 servings as a meal (12 servings as a side dish)

By Kate Ramos

Like a super veggie burrito, this stuffed pepper is loaded with black beans, sour cream, cheese, tomatoes, and cilantro. Serve it warm off the grill—all you need to pair it with is a cold beer.

What to buy: Look for poblano peppers that are all about the same size; cooking time and portions will be more consistent that way.

Cotija is a crumbly Mexican cheese that can be found in Latin markets and many grocery stores.

Game plan: If you stuff the peppers ahead of time, take them out of the fridge 30 minutes before grilling to let them come to room temperature.

Read more about grilling.

* 1 cup uncooked basmati rice
* 1 1/2 cups water
* 3 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
* 6 medium poblano peppers
* 1 cup cooked black beans
* 1 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds
* 3/4 cup sour cream
* 3/4 cup crumbled Cotija cheese (about 4 ounces) sub Parmesan OR
Romano OR
anejo cheese OR
feta cheese OR
Munster or
* 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (about 1/2 bunch)
* 1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes (about 2 small tomatoes)
* 2/3 cup chopped scallions (about 1/2 bunch)
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


1. Place rice in a colander or a fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold running water until the water runs clear. Combine rice, water, and 3/4 teaspoon of the salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover the pan and reduce heat to low; cook until water has been completely absorbed, about 10 minutes (rice will be slightly undercooked). Remove the lid and set the pan aside to let rice cool.
2. To prepare peppers for stuffing, use a paring knife to cut a wide circle around each stem (like when carving a jack-o’-lantern), so you end up with a cap that can be replaced once you’ve stuffed the peppers. Be careful not to puncture or rip the peppers. Clean any seeds and membranes from the cap and from the interior of each pepper; set aside.
3. Place beans in a large mixing bowl. Using a potato masher or the back of a fork, lightly mash them (some whole beans will remain).
4. Stir cumin, sour cream, Cotija, cilantro, tomatoes, scallions, pepper, and remaining salt into mashed beans and mix until evenly combined. Gently mix in cooled rice. Taste mixture and, if necessary, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. (Note that the filling should be quite salty to compensate for there being no salt on the peppers.)
5. Divide rice mixture into six equal portions. Stuff each pepper with the filling and replace each cap, pressing caps into the stuffing so the peppers remain closed while on the grill; set aside until ready to cook. (If you’re stuffing the peppers more than 30 minutes before grilling, cover and refrigerate them. Let peppers sit at room temperature at least 30 minutes before grilling so that they cook faster and more evenly.)
6. Heat a charcoal or gas grill to medium heat (about 350°F). Once the grill is heated, place stuffed peppers on their sides and close the lid. Roll each pepper a quarter turn every 7 minutes or so to cook all four sides. The peppers are finished once the filling is hot, the skins are well-charred, and the flesh is soft to the touch, about 30 minutes. If serving as a side dish, slice peppers in half lengthwise.

Beverage pairing: Dos Equis Ambar, Mexico. A soft amber lager brings together the mellow grilled peppers and earthy black beans. If you throw some spicy peppers or salsa on top of the stuffed poblanos, it will soothe the heat. Otherwise it’s just light and thirst quenching for what is a fairly dense dish.

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