OK--I will be the first to admit that these things were UGLY......but they sure tasted good!
These peppers are my version of a dish I had at Range in San Francisco (http://www.rangesf.com/) while on summer vacation this August. Range deserves their Michelin Star for their Barley and Pecan Stuffed Piquillo Peppers but these definitely come close when you don't have time for a transcontinental flight. [Note: I searched high and low for piquello peppers (which come in jars from Spain) but there are none to be found in Baltimore. I will order seeds and grow piquillo peppers in my garden next year but if you know a store that carries them, please post a comment here so I don't have to wait until then!]
Barley Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Avocado Cream Sauce
1 Tablespoon butter
1/4 cup diced onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup medium pearled barley
1 teaspoon "pollo con tomate" seasoning (found in the Hispanic aisle of your supermarket)
2 cups water
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Melt the butter in a saute pan over medium heat and then add the onions and garlic. Saute until the onions are translucent and the garlic is fragrant (about 5 minutes). Add the barley and saute until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water and the pollo con tomate seasoning. Stir occasionally until the water with seasoning is absorbed. Continue to add water, a half cup at a time, until the barley is cooked through. This should take about 45 minutes. Once all the water is absorbed and the barley is cooked through, add the Parmesan cheese and additional salt and pepper if needed.
While the barely is simmering, char the skins of 4 poblano peppers over a gas burner or under the broiler. When the skins of the peppers are completely black, place the peppers in a freezer bag for about 15 minutes. After allowing the peppers to steam in the bag, gently remove the charred skins and cut the tips off to remove the seeds and white pith. While the peppers are steaming, begin the avocado sauce.
Avocado Cream Sauce
1/4 cup low fat plain yogurt
2 Tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
2 teaspoons Cholula hot sauce (or use about 4 shakes of Tobasco sauce)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients until smooth. Add additional yogurt, lemon juice and mayonnaise if needed to make a slightly liquid sauce.
Once the barley is done, stuff the peppers with the barley and top the peppers with the avocado cream sauce, some diced avocado, diced tomatoes and diced onions.
Serve this dish with a Mexican beer (we had Corona Light) or a Margarita.