Poblano Peppers Stuffed with Chicken, Zucchini and Spinach

4 large, fresh poblano (sometimes labeled as pasilla) peppers
4 cloves garlic, smashed
3 dried chipotle peppers
28 canned whole tomatoes in juice, pureed
2 medium sized onions
1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 medium zucchini, cubed
1 cup corn kernels
1 cup cooked spinach*
1 cup chicken stock
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
juice from 1 lime
shredded cheddar cheese (for sprinkling)Directions:
In a medium saucepan, add the chicken breast, broth, garlic, lime juice, cumin, salt, ground pepper, one onion (quartered) and the dried chipolte peppers. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and is easily shredded with a fork. Remove the breast from the broth and set aside. Strain the broth, and puree the solids. Reserve the broth. Shred the chicken and mix it with the onion/pepper puree. Set aside. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoon olive oil, add the remaining onion (diced) and cook until golden brown. Add the tomato puree, 1/4 cup reserved broth** salt, ground pepper and cinnamon. Cook until the sauce has reduced to form a thick sauce, about 20-25 minutes. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil, add the zucchini and cook over high heat until the zucchini starts to brown. Add half of the tomato sauce, corn and reduce heat to medium. Cook an additional 15 minutes until thickened. Remove from heat, stir in the chicken mixture, spinach and salt to taste. Place the poblano chiles in a heat safe dish and broil 5 minutes on each side. Remove to a towel and allow to cool, five minutes. Gently use the towel to remove the skins from the chiles, using a circular motion. Preheat oven to 375. Cut a slit down one side of each chile (or in the middle, if a split formed while removing the skin) and remove the seeds with as spoon. Discard the seeds. In a shallow baking pan, spread 1/2 of the remaining sauce along the bottom. Place the chiles slit side up and carefully fill with the chicken mixture.Do not over fill, the chile should be able to “close” when filled. Repeat for each chile and reposition them so the slit side is directly on the bottom of the pan. Distribute the remaining sauce over the peppers and sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Serve hot.

*if frozen, defrost and drain thoroughly.
**use any leftover broth instead of regular chicken broth in another recipe.

My thoughts:

This is a colorful dish that is sort of a reinvention of the dish chile rellano (which literally means “stuffed chile” but generally refers to poblano peppers that have been stuffed with cheese and then deep fried) but is much healthier and in my opinion, tastes even better. Poblano peppers are on the mild side and surprisingly sturdy which makes them great candidates for stuffing despite their long and sort of pinched shape. Rather than just filling them with cheese, we combined chicken, zucchini, corn and spinach for a really fresh tasting and light filling. The poaching with the chile and onion adds great flavor the chicken, but if you were short on time, you could just shred leftover roasted or rotisserie chicken and use that instead. Rather than add the cheese to the filling, we sprinkled it on top for a little extra flavor. These were great for a meal, and any leftover filling you have makes yummy tacos or burritos.


  1. what a fancy way to snaz up stuffed peppers. i never thought to add more than just cheese. you give me many good ideas with this one

  2. OH, I love stuffed peppers and these look SO good! Hopefully I’ll be able to try them soon. I love the filling ingredients. i’ve used zucchini with eggplant, brown rice, and shrimp but this one sounds great!

  3. Wow, Rachel, those poblanos look delicious. I’ll bet that would work well with Anaheims too. I’m planning on planting both this spring. Can’t wait to try this out.

  4. I love a stuffed pepper… and i love the idea of shredded chicken!

    GREAT idea!

  5. Love the idea of shredded chicken.Traditionally i make it veggie indian style – stuff them with mashed poaotes and cumin and corriander , finely chopped ,gated ginger and some toasted pea flour and then bake it in tomato sauce.I definately like this version for a change.

  6. Oh my, this sounds so yummy. I love the idea of zucchini and vegeatables!

    thanks ~ mer

  7. Susan from Food Blogga

    In the late summer and early fall, the farmers’ market has pablanos, and I can’t get enough of them! Your delicious photo reminds me of how I miss them!

  8. That looks so good! About 10 years ago when I lived in Chicago, Peapod was a new way to order groceries online and had them delivered. I picked out an awesome recipe I wanted to make with poblano peppers stuffed with 4 different cheese. I ordered all the fixings and when they delivered the food I got everything except the peppers! I was stuck with all this cheese and other stuff! I have never attempted stuffed poblano peppers again, even though I no longer grocery shop online. Maybe it’s time . . .

  9. ha! so weird. I’m reading a book right now where the main charectar just made Poblano Peppers stuffed with zucchini. 🙂

  10. ah yum, my favorite thing to order is chili rileno at mexican restaurants. this reminds me of that. looks delicious!!

  11. Made this recipe today and it was fabulous … well worth the time and effort! I did have a question about the cider vinegar, however, as the directions didn’t indicate when to add it …

    My variations to the recipe was to use crumbled Cotija cheese towards the end of the baking. I also added about 1/4 cup of pine nuts in the meat filling (sauteed them with the zucchini after the zucchini was almost cooked).

    For additional sauces I (1) mix 1/4 c. of heavy cream with 1/4 c. of sour cream for a white sauce and
    (2) 1 small pureed avocado with about 1/4 c. heavy cream to make the 2nd sauce. Place each sauce in a ziploc bag and cut the tip from from the corner to pipe a design on the chiles after plating them. The cold sauces look pretty and help cut the heat from the chipotle in the filling.

    Los Alamos, NM

  12. Those stuffed peppers look tasty!

  13. These were completely delicious, if not intensely spicy. My heat-loving boyfriend adored them!

    The only drawback was the way the recipe was ordered. Admittedly, I should have read it more thoroughly first to make sure I streamlined where possible, but the author might want to revise the instructions to make more efficient use of time. (As written, the recipe took me well over 3 hours to make.)

    Thanks for the wonderful meal! It’ll definitely be a repeat in my kitchen!

  14. Anon, The recipe is ordered in the most logical way possible. Most of the steps can be done simultaneously as written in the directions. Example, while the chicken is cooking, you are cooking the onions/spices/tomato which takes about the same amount of time and the chiles can broiled (then cooled) at the end of their cooking times.

    If your ingredients are ready when you cook, that makes things much quicker as you go. I’ve made this several times and not once did it take over an hour, start to finish.