I had already planned to make taco salad this weekend, so I instead used the ground beef and other ingredients to make a taco meat filling for the poblanos, and then smoked some tomatillos to make smoked tomatillo salsa to go along with it. I got the idea of smoked tomatillo salsa from webowabo and dls1....thank you, guys, for the inspiration and instructions!!
Poblanos work GREAT for ABT's. Thanks so much for the inspiration, vaquero!! They are larger so you can use them as a full meal, not as spicy as jalapenos but with good flavor and a bit of kick, and they aren't as watery as bell peppers so they keep a better texture.
Taco meat filling....Saute 1 large diced onion, 2 minced serrano chilis (include seeds if you like spicy), and 4 minced garlic cloves in a little oil until soft.
Add 4 tsp chili powder and 3 tsp ground cumin, and mix together.
Add 2 lbs ground beef, saute until all pink is gone. I use 90/10 grassfed beef so I don't have any fat to drain off, but if you use a 80/20 or 70/30 ground beef you should probably drain off the fat before continuing.
Add about 3/4 of a 15 oz can of tomato sauce (or the whole can if you like soupier taco filling). Keep cooking for a few more minutes until it thickens nicely. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
This amount of taco filling would make enough for say 12 - 15 poblanos. I used about 1/2 of the meat mix for 6 poblanos and a couple of sweet italian peppers. So portion out enough meat mixture for your peppers, mix in enough cream cheese to bind the meat together, and add cheddar cheese or whatever cheese you like to taste.
Cut the poblanos in half, scrape out the seeds and stem, and pack the filling in. Poblanos aren't very hot, so you don't need to worry about wearing plastic gloves...you won't burn yourself. Wrap bacon around your poblanos, or just drape it over the top if you have short pieces of bacon.
Smoke the poblanos at 225 deg F until the bacon is cooked and the poblanos are soft, 2 - 3 hours. I used apple pellets in my AMNPS for a milder smoke. Here they are after 2 hours.
Then I popped them under the broiler in the oven for a few minutes to crisp up the bacon.
For the tomatillo salsa, I took 1/2 lb of husked and rinsed tomatillos (about 4) and cut them in half. While I was prepping the ABT's, I smoked the tomatillos by placing the cut side down directly on the smoker grate, and smoked them for 1 hour at about 180 deg F using apple pellets in the AMNPS. For my salsa I very loosely followed a recipe by Rick Bayless. I used the 8 oz of smoked tomatillos, 1 large garlic clove, 1 large jalapeno (I seeded it, but leave the seeds in for a spicier salsa), a handful of cilantro leaves, and a small piece of shallot about the size of 2 garlic cloves.
I used my food processor to finely mince the garlic, shallot, and jalapeno (just throw them in piece by piece while the processor is running....this is a really easy way to finely mince when making salsa). Then add in the tomatillos and cilantro and process until smooth. Then I added about 1/2 tsp of hickory smoked kosher salt to finish.
Here are some plated shots......
I have to say, the smoked tomatillo salsa is AMAZING. I've never really liked tomatillo salsa before. Yes, it is bright and acidic, but no depth or body to it. But, holey cow, with a little smoke on the tomatillos, it is a much different thing. I love it. Webowabo says you can smoke everything....garlic, onion, tomatillos, jalapenos....and then just blend it together for the salsa. I love the idea of that, and might try it next time. But smoking the tomatillos only did give a great taste of smoke without dominating the other flavors.
Thank you everybody for checking out my post. Hope you all have a great week!