These homemade cheesy poblano empanadas are filled with rajas or roasted poblano peppers, and a mix of queso fresco, oaxaca cheese, and goat cheese. I love poblano peppers, they have the perfect blend of heat and flavor. In general, poblanos are relatively mild, however sometimes they can be on spicier side. They are also ideal for stuffing and can be prepared filled with a variety of different filling combinations.
In Ecuador, I didn’t grow up poblano peppers, however my mom talked about them frequently– she grew up in New Mexico and these chili peppers were one of the things that she missed the most. She used to make and sell chiles rellenos for extra cash while she was in college; and I’ve heard from family members that hers were really good. So, even though I didn’t grown up eating them, there must be something in my genes that made me love these peppers from the first bite.
Recipe for homemade empanada dough
Most recipes for poblanos usually involve roasting them and then peeling off the skin. The poblano chiles can be roasted in the oven, on the grill, or on a gas stovetop. If the weather permits it’s best to grill them since it keep the fumes outside. The fumes from roasting poblanos in the oven or on stove can be very strong – I was telling my mom that roasting poblanos reminded me of the student protests/clashes with the police when I lived in Loja. These protests would take place every once in a while and would usually involve the police dispersing the students with the use of tear gas – if you happened to be out when this occurred, you would either rush home, or take refuge in a friend’s house, or even inside the nearest random store (which would close the doors) – depending on how close you were to the main plaza you would usually smell or feel slight effects from the gas.
I also suggest using gloves when peeling the roasted poblanos, and if you wear contacts (like me) don’t make the mistake of not using gloves – it will be very painful when you touch your eyes to remove your contacts that night. The roasted and peeled strips of poblano peppers are also known as rajas, which translates literally as strips. Rajas can be used in quesadillas, tacos, sauces, salads, soups, and obviously empanadas.
For these cheesy poblano empanadas, I used a mix of queso fresco, oaxaca cheese, and goat cheese. You can use the exact same mix or adjust it based on what you have available and the types of cheeses that you prefer. I recommend using at least one crumbly cheese, like queso fresco, goat cheese, feta, or cotija; and at least one type of cheese that melts nicely, like oaxaca, mozzarella, monterrey jack or quesillo. I served these poblano and cheese empanadas with a creamy yogurt chipotle sauce.
Step by step preparation photos for roasted poblano (rajas) and cheese filled empanadas