> Skip to content

Recipe  •  30 June 2022

 

Chiles rellenos with salsa roja risotto

While it isn't risotto in the traditional sense, Ixta Belfrage has reimagined the dish with delectable results.

Let’s get a couple of things straight.

First, I know that these are not chiles rellenos in the true sense of the dish. They are not made with Poblano chillies, they are not filled with traditional ingredients,* they are not battered and deep-fried. They are, however, inspired by chiles rellenos (one of my favourite dishes of all time) and they are also, quite literally, chiles rellenos – stuffed (chilli) peppers.**

Second, I also know that this is not risotto – it is not made with arborio rice, and it is not cooked in the traditional manner. However, the texture of the end result is very much like that of a good risotto. It would be remiss of me to call this dish something like ... oh, I don’t know, ‘Stuffed peppers with spicy rice’. Not only does that sound really boring, it also takes away from that crucial inspiration.

*Although if you can get your hands on queso Oaxaca/quesillo, please use this instead of feta and mozzarella.

** I used romano peppers because they are a readily available, flavoursome pepper variety in the UK. If you have access to fresh Poblano chilli peppers, please use them instead.

Serves 4

  • 8 red romano peppers
  • 200g short-grain brown rice, soaked for at least 2 hours (preferably overnight)
  • 300g feta, roughly broken into small pieces
  • 200g buffalo mozzarella, drained well, patted dry and torn into medium chunks
  • 2 spring onions, julienned
  • 5g fresh coriander leaves
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges, to serve

Salsa roja

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 15g unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped (120g)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely grated/crushed
  • 300g sweet, ripe cherry tomatoes, such as Datterini
  • ½ dried ancho chilli
  • 1 dried habanero chilli (or a pinch of regular/chipotle chilli flakes, if you prefer milder heat)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 120g water
  • 2 teaspoons tomato purée/paste

Turn the oven grill to the highest setting.

Cut a slit along one side of each pepper, keeping them attached at the top and bottom. Arrange the peppers on a rack set over a baking tray, slit-side up.

Grill until soft and blackened in patches, about 7 minutes, then turn the peppers and grill for another 4–8 minutes, until that side is soft and blackened in patches too. Keep an eye on them, as they may be ready sooner if your grill runs hot. Set the tray aside and leave the peppers to cool on the rack, slit side down, so any liquid drains away.

Cook the rice. Drain the soaked rice and put into a medium saucepan with 450g of water. Bring to a simmer over a medium-high heat. Once simmering, lower the heat to low, cover the pan with a lid, and cook for 25 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to rest for 10 minutes with the lid still on.

While the rice is cooking, make the salsa. Put the first 10 ingredients (everything except the water and tomato purée/paste) into a large sauté pan on a medium-high heat and fry, stirring often, for 15 minutes, until the tomatoes have broken down and the onions are soft and golden-brown. Turn the heat down to medium or medium-low if the mixture starts to catch or burn.

Discard the habanero (or squeeze it with the back of a spoon before removing it if you like heat). Transfer the salsa to a blender with the water and tomato purée/ paste and blend until completely smooth. Return to the pan and set aside.

Turn the oven grill to the highest setting.

Now stuff the peppers. Mix the feta and mozzarella together in a bowl. Transfer the peppers from the rack to a foil-lined tray. Peel some of the skin off – just the bits that tear away easily (you don’t want to rip a hole in the peppers). Pat the insides dry and season with a pinch of salt. Stuff the peppers with the cheese mixture. Sprinkle with a little flaked salt and drizzle over a little oil. You can prepare the peppers up to this point up to 4 hours ahead.

Grill for 7–9 minutes near the top of the oven, until the cheese is bubbling and browned in patches. Set aside to cool for a few minutes (but not for too long, as the melted cheese will begin to harden).

Add the cooked rice to the pan with the salsa roja, stir together and gently heat through for a minute. The texture should be that of a loose, saucy risotto; add a splash of water if it’s looking thick.

To serve, spoon the risotto onto a platter and top with the peppers. Finish with the spring onions and coriander, squeeze over some lime and serve.

Make ahead

Grill the peppers up to 2 days ahead. The salsa roja will keep in the fridge for up to a week. Prepare the peppers, up to the point of stuffing them, up to 4 hours ahead.

Hungry for more recipes? Sign up to our foodie email here.


MEZCLA Ixta Belfrage

Reinventing 'fusion' flavours with fun, flavour-packed recipes to cook for yourself and others, from the co-author of bestselling Ottolenghi FLAVOUR. For fans of Alison Roman, Nigella Lawson and Anna Jones.

Buy now
Buy now

More features

See all recipes
Recipe
Chicken, pineapple and ’nduja bake

This divine dish is the perfect combination of sweet and savoury and will soon become a firm favourite.

Recipe
Porcini ragù

Mushroom lovers rejoice! This flavour-packed vegetarian main dish from the co-author of bestselling Ottolenghi FLAVOUR, Ixta Belfrage, is sure to impress.

Recipe
Stuffed aubergine in curry and coconut dal

A satisfying aubergine and lentil dish from Ottolenghi Flavour by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage.

Recipe
Brussels Sprout Risotto

If you wonder about a risotto full of Brussels sprouts, please trust me and set your doubts aside.

Recipe
Sweet Potato Nachos with the works

When I was growing up, my dad would often make nachos on the weekends, especially in the fall, because nachos and football go hand in hand.

Recipe
Harissa Cauliflower Traybake

With peppers & tomatoes, fluffy couscous & mint-rippled yoghurt.

Recipe
Zingy Vietnamese-Style Noodles with Fried Sesame Tofu

For a nutritious meal you can whip up in a flash without compromising on delicious flavour, you can't go past this.

Recipe
Three-ingredient chocolate pots

These are so simple and delicious, plus they’re plant-based!

Recipe
Mum’s Filipino Chicken with Mango-Tomato Salsa

However you cook this delectable dish, we're sure everyone will be going back for seconds (and thirds...)

Recipe
Minestrone, risoni and kale pesto

Tobie Puttock allows the vegetables to do the talking in his warming take on minestrone.

Recipe
Paella

This divine paella dish is sure to be loved by all.

Recipe
Quinoa, Corn and Black Bean-Stuffed Peppers

These delicious stuffed peppers are a hearty addition to your weekly meal rotations.

Looking for more recipes?

See all recipes