This vegetarian Mexican favorite is kicked up a notch with crunchy California walnuts and served with a Creamy Walnut Sauce.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion (about 5 ounces)
- 6 ounces sliced mushrooms (about 2 cups)
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme OR 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 cups yellow or white corn kernels, fresh or frozen (no need to thaw)
- 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 16 fresh pasilla chiles (about 3-inches long), roasted and peeled * OR 3, 7-ounce cans roasted whole green chiles
- 4 ounces coarsely grated extra firm tofu (about 1 cup)
- 2 ounces grated Monterey Jack cheese (about 1/2 cup)
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) chopped California walnuts
- Creamy Walnut Sauce
- Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
- Roughly chopped California walnuts, for garnish
- In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 3 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the corn, bell pepper, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper; cook, stirring frequently, until the peppers are tender, about 4 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro. Set aside to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Generously coat a large glass or enameled baking pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
- Using a sharp paring knife, remove the core of the pepper from the stem end and using your fingers, gently pull out the seeds and ribs, taking care to keep the chile whole. (A slight split in the flesh is ok, but the presentation is prettiest if the chiles are stuffed whole.) Set on paper towels to drain.
- When the mushroom and corn mixture is cool, add the tofu, Jack cheese, and walnuts; mix well. Gently spoon about 1/4 cup of the filling into each chile; using your fingers, carefully stuff the filling down into the chile. Using your hands, gently mold the top edge of the chile to enclose the filling.
- Transfer the stuffed chiles to the prepared baking dish. Bake, until the filling is hot, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve with a generous spoonful of the Creamy Walnut Sauce and garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and a sprinkling of chopped California walnuts.
*To roast fresh chiles: Coat them lightly in olive oil and place chiles on an open flame, such as a gas stove burner, charcoal or gas grill (if no open flame is available, putting the chiles on a pan in a broiler will also work). Directly on the flame, rotate each chile until the skin blackens and blisters from the heat. After the chile is completely blackened, place in a bowl and cover, or in a paper bag and close it, to allow the chile to steam. After 15 to 20 minutes the skin should easily peel off.