Turn Thanksgiving Leftovers into Turkey-Stuffed Poblano Chiles

Reader Contribution by Tammy Kimbler

Thanksgiving means leftovers. At my house the turkey can sometimes take up a whole shelf-worth of space in the fridge! But transforming the leftover bits into something wonderful can be a challenge, especially when you tire of sandwiches. My answer to turkey leftovers is Mexican stuffed poblano peppers.

Poblano chiles are those dark green, hand-sized peppers you often find in the Mexican produce section. They have a dark, rich pepper flavor that is not hot. They hold up beautifully when roasted and stuffed. If you can’t find these peppers, feel free to use green or red bell peppers, just don’t peel them as they are more delicate than poblanos.

The best part about this recipe is that you can make each component ahead of time and assemble them a half hour before dinner. All the parts will hold for several days in the fridge. The topping is perfectly fine stored in a sealed container the cupboard. So relax and enjoy your post-Thanksgiving time. And when you’re tired of leftovers, you can hit them with this recipe. They’ll never know!  

Turkey-Stuffed Poblanos with Cranberry Mole Recipe


• 4 dried poblano chiles or 6 dried pasillo chiles
• 1/2 cup dried cranberries
• 1 cup turkey or chicken stock
• 1/2 onion
• 1 tbsp tomato paste
• canola or olive oil
• salt

Stuffed Poblanos:
• 4 fresh poblano chiles, medium sized
• 2 cups cooked turkey, (preferably dark meat), finely chopped
• 2 slices bacon
• 4 cloves garlic
• 1/2 onion
• 1 tsp ground cumin
• 1 cup crumbled goat cheese or other shredded cheese
• canola or olive oil
• salt & pepper

• 1 cup corn cereal or crushed corn tortilla chips
• 1/2 cup almonds, chopped
• 2 tsp smoked paprika
• 1/2 tsp salt
• canola oil
• cilantro


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Bring the stock to a boil and pour over the dried poblanos and cranberries. Let steep for 15 minutes. Finely dice half an onion and sauté in a little oil until they just turn brown. When the chiles and cherries are soft, remove the chile stems and seeds. Add the chiles, cherries, stock, onion and tomato paste to a blender and blend until very smooth. Season to taste with salt. In a sauce pan, heat a tablespoon of oil till almost smoking, then add the mole sauce (careful, it sputters). Sauté briefly in the oil, then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.

2. Roast the fresh poblanos over a gas flame or under a broiler until the skin is charred all over. Place in a bowl and cover with a towel to steam. When cool enough to handle, remove the skin. Gently slit open one side of each chile and remove the seeds, being careful to keep the stem and chile intact for stuffing. Set aside.

3. Finely dice the bacon and onion. Mince the garlic. Sauté the bacon and onion until soft. Add the garlic, chopped turkey and cumin. Salt and pepper to taste, then remove from heat. Reserve a 1/4 cup of cheese for the topping, then blend the remaining cheese into the turkey mixture until creamy. In a sauté pan, heat the canola oil until hot. Add the crushed cereal or tortilla chips and almonds and sauté until fragrant. Remove the pan from the heat and add the smoked paprika and salt, tossing quickly to combine. The paprika may smoke a bit. Empty the topping into a heat proof bowl.

4. To assemble the dish, pour the mole sauce into a casserole dish big enough to hold the four poblanos. Carefully stuff each poblano with 1/4 of the chicken filling, then lay them on top of the mole. Top each chile with the topping, then with a sprinkling of goat cheese. Bake in the oven at 400 degrees until the mole is bubbly and the goat cheese is light brown on top. To serve, lift out the stuffed pepper onto a plate, spoon mole around the pepper. Sprinkle with any extra cereal mix and a bit of cilantro.

Tammy Kimbler grows, forages, cans, dries, pickles, ferments, brews, ages, cooks and eats from her Minneapolis, Minn., backyard. At One Tomato, Two Tomato, she aims to show how easy, accessible, healthful and delicious gaining control of your personal food system can be. Connect with Tammy on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, and read all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

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