Every year that I grow peppers, the same thing happens. The whole summer will pass by and I'll get one or two peppers from each plant. I'm disappointed, wondering what I did wrong, and I vow that I will never (never!) grow peppers again. Then fall starts and suddenly my pepper plants shoot up a foot or so and dozens of peppers appear overnight. Or, at least it seems like it's overnight. Why does this happen?! Aren't peppers supposed to love hot weather? Mine seem to prefer brisk mornings and rainy gray afternoons.
After spending some time in the garden last weekend, I realized that I had a problem on my hands--what the heck was I going to do with all the poblano peppers that were ready to harvest at the same time? I have a lot of sweet peppers too, but those are a little bit easier. With hot peppers, you can't throw them all in a stir-fry or pile them onto a pizza. (Well, maybe you can, but I can't! I like spicy, but not that spicy.)
My favorite way to use poblano peppers is in my Fresh Corn, Poblano, & Cheddar Pizza, but with corn out of season, that wasn't going to work. I tossed around some ideas with my husband and as soon as the words "Roasted Poblano Mac & Cheese" left my mouth, nothing else interested him. So mac & cheese it was! (And with the remaining poblanos, well, I decided to roast them and pop them in the freezer. I think they might be a good addition to soups or baked potatoes.)
I considered adding tomatoes or zucchini or something else to veggie up this recipe a little bit since that's usually my inclination with pasta, but mac & cheese is a dish best made simple. The poblanos add a slightly smoky kick to an otherwise traditional recipe. How much of a kick is up to you, though. Two peppers is pretty darn spicy, so if you prefer it a little milder, opt for one pepper.
- 1-2 poblano peppers use 1 if you want it a little bit milder
- 2 ½ c. milk I used 1%
- ¼ c. all-purpose flour
- 5 oz. shredded cheddar cheese divided
- 4 oz. shredded Monterrey jack cheese divided
- 6 c. cooked whole-wheat elbow macaroni about 3 c.dry
- oil mister or cooking spray
- ½ c. panko
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- ⅛ tsp. salt plus more, to taste
- ⅛ tsp. Black Pepper
- 2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
- Turn on broiler. Place poblano peppers on a rimmed baking sheet and broil for about 10 minutes or until skin is blistered and starting to blacken, turning halfway through. Place peppers in zip-top bag for 5 minutes. Remove from bag and peel; discard stems, seeds and ribs. Chop peppers and set aside. Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees.
- Combine milk and flour in a large saucepan over high heat, whisking constantly. Once mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until thickened, 5-8 minutes, continuing to whisk frequently. Remove from heat. Add 4 ounces of cheddar cheese and 3 ounces of Monterrey jack cheese and whisk until melted. Stir in macaroni, poblano peppers, and salt to taste.
- Divide mac & cheese into 6 large ramekins or mini cocottes sprayed with oil or cooking spray (you can also use a casserole dish if you don't have ramekins). In a small bowl, stir together panko, olive oil, salt and pepper. Top ramekins with reserved cheese and then panko. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until panko is golden brown. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro.
[email protected] says
That is exactly what happens to me! Peppers in the fall. This looks ridiculously good!
Carol @ Always Thyme to Cook says
I'm so jealous, I'd love an abundance of poblano's, they are a little hard to come by here. Adding them to mac n cheese, brilliant idea, it looks amazing!
You should try growing them! I couldn't believe how many peppers I got from one plant.
woah! it looks simple.. great twist to the regular mac and cheese!
Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. says
this rocks! I love this idea and the photo is gorgeous!
Love love your ramekins!!! I ove this idea to combine poblanos...I know Curtis would totally love this!!
Meg @ Beard and Bonnet says
Oh yum! We love poblano peppers and can't get enough of them. What a great way to use them up. Thanks for sharing!
I love roasted poblanos but don't grow my own since we live so close to the farmer's market. I cannot wait try this, Kiersten, definitely right up my alley!
I am jealous--I want to live near the farmers market! 😀
Courtney Rae Jones says
Oh yum!!!! This looks amazing. I adore mac n cheese. And I adore poblanos. Cannot wait to try this out. Lovely photo too! The ramekins are awesome! Where did you find them?
I bought them when I was on vacation in Charleston. They're Le Creuset, but the color was specially made to be sold in Charleston. So clearly I had to get them. 🙂
Jackie @ Domestic Fits says
I love this! Poblanos are one of my favorite peppers because you get more flavor than heat so you can add more than say a serano. Beautiful!
That's exactly why I grew them! I was tempted by the Thai peppers & habaneros, but I knew there was no way I'd be able to use them all.
Lisa Marie @ MidwestVeg says
Oh that sounds and looks awesome! Very easy to veganize too! I'll have to give this a try. I really like the addition of the cilantro. And those serving dishes are too cute! Where'd you get them if you don't mind my asking? I'm always on the lookout for single serving dishes since I usually have to cook two different meals.
I got them at a cooking store when I was on vacation in Charleston--they're Le Creuset mini cocottes. But I've seen them at HomeGoods or TJ Maxx too. I like them because they're bigger than ramekins and they have lids too, which is nice for leftovers!
what a great idea - I've never even thought about peppers in mac & cheese. I'm a huge fan of "stuff" in mac & cheese and I bet this would be excellent!
Oh, I'm the opposite! I like a little bit of breadcrumbs on top, maybe a single veggie mixed in, but other than that, I'm a purist with my mac & cheese. 🙂
[email protected] eco friendly homemaking says
Oh my goodness this looks so delicious!! I agree I never have thought about putting peppers in mac and cheese.
Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell says
That will be in my belly before the end of October!
The same thing happens in my garden except for the part where I end up with dozens of peppers. 🙁 I'll do it again next year, though, I'm sure.
This looks so yummy! I'm trying to lose 5 pounds but for mac and cheese it looks relatively doable. I am purposely NOT looking at your peanut butter cup recipe!
I'm trying to lose weight too, so I made this with low-fat milk and reduced-fat cheddar. No diet is ever (EVER!) worth giving up my precious mac & cheese.
Lisa | With Style and Grace says
love the idea of adding a little spice with roasted poblanos!
shelly (cookies and cups) says
This might be my new favorite dinner, and I haven't even tried it yet! Pinning for sure 🙂
[email protected]'s Recipes says
I am going to grow some peppers next year!
Love the add of poblano in this ultimate comfort food.
You should! Peppers are the easiest thing to grow, as long as you're patient. 🙂 Nothing seems to touch my hot peppers!
Kare @ Kitchen Treaty says
Ooh! Delicious! I made some roasted hatch pepper mac & cheese a couple of months ago but it was way, way, WAY spicy. Good but spicy. Don't get me wrong - I ate it - but it gave me the hiccups, and the baby sure couldn't have any! A milder pepper like poblano sounds like it would be absolutely perfect.
I adore your photos, as always, and those sunny yellow ramekins make my heart go pitter patter!
Yeah, I could see how hatch peppers would be a little much. 😉 I think I cooked with those once and I'm now scared to try it again!
I've never tried fresh poblanos - love the idea of a little spice in mac & cheese!
I love every kind of mac and cheese and this one looks especially good! I don't see poblano peppers too often around here but I think this would be good with jalapenos too!
Yes, jalapenos would definitely work! I think any pepper that's not too hot would be good.
Wow, that looks fantastic! Love the smokey poblano flavour.
All Natural Katie says
I picked poblano peppers at our CSA farm and froze them. I will have to try this recipe!
I now have a bunch of frozen poblanos too! I might be making a lot of mac & cheese this winter. 🙂
That looks amazing. I need some of that right now.
Rachel (teacher-chef) says
To avoid to deep freeze in the north-east last night my fiance picked all of our peppers - YIKES! This is now on the dinner menu for tomorrow night though 🙂
I hope you enjoy it!
Rachel (teacher-chef) says
We LOVED it - thank you so much
Woo hoo, I'm so glad to hear it! 😀
Sounds delish, but I thought you aren't supposed to just add the flour to the milk without cooking it with butter or a fat first, a roux?
This comes down to personal preference. Although a lot of mac & cheese recipes start with a roux, there are also recipes out there that don't. There's no right or wrong way to make mac & cheese, but starting with a roux is definitely more common. I've never noticed much of a difference (and I like trimming calories where I can), but if it bothers you, you can definitely sub in your favorite roux-based sauce and stir in the poblanos and macaroni when it's finished.