the appetizer:

Rosa's New Mexican Table by Roberto Santibañez includes favorite recipes from the restaurant's menu like Soupy Black Beans, Poblanos Stuffed with Spinach and Goat Cheese (and Ranchera Sauce), and Slow-Braised Boneless Short Ribs with Roasted Tomatillo-Chipotle Sauce.

Cookbook Profile

Poblanos Stuffed
with Spinach and Goat Cheese

Chiles Rellenos de Espinacas

Makes 6 servings


Quelites is a catch-all term that refers to many kinds of field greens and herbs—it comes from the ancient Nahuati language and literally means "green things to eat." These greens grow wild all over Mexico and find their way into everything from quesadillas and stews to tortas. As quelites are not readily available in the United States, I have substituted baby spinach. The quantity of spinach in the recipe may seem enormous, but after cooking and squeezing, the volume shrinks dramatically.

The sauce can be made up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated; likewise, the chiles can be roasted a day in advance.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Stir in the spinach a bagful at a time (or in 6 or 7 batches) and cook just until bright green, about 1 minute. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water until cool enough to handle. Working in batches, squeeze as much water from the spinach as possible (be very serious about the squeezing!). Coarsely chop the spinach. There will be about 2 very tightly packed cups.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the spinach, raisins, and pine nuts and cook, stirring to break up the clumps of spinach, until the raisins are puffy, the pine nuts are starting to toast, and almost all the liquid has evaporated. Season the spinach with salt, then pour in 1/4 cup water and cook until the water has evaporated. (It may seem odd to add water after taking the time to cook off the liquid, but there is a sound reason: the addition of water helps carry the salt evenly throughout the dense spinach mixture.) Remove from the heat and let cool.

Pour the sauce into an 11 by 9-inch baking dish or other baking dish that will hold the stuffed chiles snugly. Divide the filling among the chiles, filling them loosely. Put them opening side up in the baking dish. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake until heated through, about 25 minutes.

Drizzle the crema over the chiles while they are still in the baking dish, then transfer them to serving plates, spooning some of the cream-enriched sauce over and around them. (It is not necessary to blend the cream completely with the ranchera sauce; in fact, the plates will look nicer with a streaky sauce.) Top each chile with a round of goat cheese and some chopped epazote, and serve.


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This page created June 2007