Mushroom and Poblano Tacos

This chile pepper is often mislabeled ‘Pasilla’, which is a different pepper entirely.It is one of the most popular chiles in Mexico and has won the appreciation of many a chef worldwide because of the superior flavor it has over regular bell peppers.

They have a tough outer skin that usually requires roasting and peeling before use. These very large chile peppers are most popular in chiles rellenos recipes, but cooking with these as a substitute for bell peppers in any recipe will enhance the flavor.

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1 pound fresh poblano chiles (3 large or 4 medium)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium or large white onion, halved and thinly sliced across the grain
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4 pounds mushrooms, sliced (about 6 cups)
Salt to taste
3 to 4 tablespoons chopped cilantro
12 corn tortillas
2 ounces crumbled Mexican Queso Fresco (or feta)


Roast the chiles. Light a gas burner, and place the pepper directly over the flame. As soon as one section has blackened, turn the chiles with tongs to expose another section to the flame. Continue to turn until peppers are blackened all over. Alternatively, roast under a broiler. Preheat the broiler. Cover a baking sheet with foil, and place the peppers on top. Place under the broiler until charred on one side, about three to four minutes. Turn and continue to grill, turning every three minutes or so, until uniformly charred. Place in a bowl, and cover tightly. Allow to sit until cool, then remove the charred skin. You may need to run the pepper briefly under the faucet to rinse off the final bits of charred skin. If so, pat dry with paper towels. Cut the pepper in half, remove the seeds and membranes and cut into 1/4-inch dice. Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-low heat, and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until tender and lightly colored, about 10 minutes. Add a generous pinch of salt and the garlic. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute. Add the mushrooms, and turn the heat up to medium-high. Cook, stirring, until they begin to soften, then season with salt. Turn the heat down to medium, and cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms are tender and moist, about eight minutes. Sir in the poblanos and epazote or cilantro, and cook, stirring, for another minute or two. Taste and adjust seasonings. Remove from the heat and keep warm.

Wrap the tortillas in a heavy kitchen towel and place in a steamer basket over 1/2 inch of water. Bring to a boil, cover the pot and steam one minute. Turn off the heat, and allow to sit for 15 minutes without uncovering. Pass the tortillas, top with the mushroom mixture, sprinkle with a little cheese, fold the tortillas over the filling and enjoy.

Yields twelve tacos, serving four to six.