Green Risotto with poblano cream and chicken wings

April 16, 2010  •  Category:


I love Mexican telenovelas! I mean what could be better than watching    Fernando Colunga riding his horse, getting in sword fights and saving his damsel in distress? In Lebanon,  they  are dubbed in Arabic  which spoils the fun, but in the US, you get them in the original version; so,  if you are trying to learn Spanish, park yourself in front of Latino TV; of course, the males in your entourage will pooh-pooh this! (don’t pay attention).

I discovered poblano cream through my Mexican friend Conchis  De la Fuentes; Conchis made a pasta dish with poblano cream: heavenly! One of those things that you taste once and never forget!  Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants in Dallas  do not have dishes with poblano cream  on the menu for some reason, but it is a classic of Mexican cuisine and usually used as a topping for baked chicken.  Here I incorporated the poblano cream in a  risotto, instead of the pasta that Conchis uses; and since in Mexico poblano cream is served with chicken, I made Lebanese chicken wings instead.

What is poblano cream anyway?

Poblanos roasted, seeded and pureed with chicken broth and cream.

The arborio is courtesy of a Texas rice grower and of excellent quality.

INGREDIENTS: 6 servings

  • 300 g of arborio rice (1 and 3/4 cups)
  • 2 small onions, one for the risotto and one for the poblano  cream
  • olive oil
  • 3/4 cup of grated parmesan
  • 1/2 cup of mascarpone or any creamy white  cheese (I used fromage blanc); you could use a white cheese spread
  • chicken broth, as needed
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • 8 ounces of boneless chicken wings
  • 4 large  poblano peppers
  • scant cup of whipping cream
  • cilantro pesto for the wings (optional): use some garlic, cilantro and olive oil


I made this dish in three steps, over several days, a little bit each time; everything can be done ahead, including the risotto!

First Step: Making the poblano cream (can be made ahead and frozen)

  1. Place the poblanos on a foil-lined cookie sheet and broil them, turning them till the skins are totally blistered and black.
  2. Immediately drop them in a plastic bag in which you have poured a couple of tablespoons of oil. Close the bag tightly and wrap in a kitchen towel and let it sit on the counter for 30 minutes or so.
  3. Open the bag and take each pepper and skin it and deseed it over the sink  and running tap water. Drop the peppers in a blender or food processor.
  4. In a small skillet, heat a bit of oil, add an onion cut in quarters and fry till golden. Add the chicken broth and cook for 20 minutes. Add the cream, salt and pepper. Drop the mixture in the blender and puree the poblanos with this mixture. Taste. Add more cream if you like it creamier, adjusting the seasoning as you go.  Cook the poblano sauce in the saucepan for 15 minutes or so; either use right away or freeze.

Second Step: Making the chicken wings:

  1. Heat some olive oil, drop the mashed garlic and chopped cilantro, fry for 15 seconds; throw in the wings, brown them a bit and add some chicken broth or water.
  2. Cover the pot and cook for 30 minutes on low simmer. Set aside.

Third Step:Making the risotto:

  1. Set all the ingredients close by: risotto, onion,white wine, chicken broth, poblano cream, white cheese, parmesan, salt & pepper, olive oil. Heat some olive oil in a pot, add the onion and fry till  light golden; add the risotto and stir-fry till translucent. Add the white wine and cook for a few minutes, stirring till almost evaporated; add the chicken broth one ladle at a time till the risotto is halfway cooked, but still hard in the middle (taste a couple of grains).
  2. Add the poblano cream and keep stirring, adding more chicken broth, if needed, until the risotto is compact and cooked through but al dente, still firm.
  3. Finally, incorporate the white cheese or mascarpone keeping the risotto on the stove over very low heat, to melt the cheese, and add the parmesan at the end; taste and adjust seasoning. Serve with the chicken wings.

NOTE: How can you tell if the risotto is ready? Take a wooden spoon and stir big waves of risotto in the pot; the rice should pull easily and follow the movement of the spoon; of course, taste it often!

The poblano cream will be fine in the fridge for a couple of days, otherwise, freeze it.

The risotto can be cooked half-way one day and all the way the next day; don’t believe people who say you have to cook it standing on the stove for the entire time: you can cook it 15 minutes, cool it and refrigerate it; the next day, continue the operation till it is done.


38 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Hannah says:

    I am even more envious than normal right now. Not only do we not have access to any Spanish telenovelas in Australia, I’ve never seen poblanos in Canberra, either. A spicy creamy risotto sounds so comforting right now… guess I’ll just have to make a normal veggie one and douse it in tabasco sauce 😛

  2. Rosa says:

    That dish is terrific! I bet it tastes so good!



  3. Conor @ HoldtheBeef says:

    You’re so good with your recipes – of course they look delicious, but you also give all the little tips and tricks you might want to know 🙂

    I am so with you on dubbing spoiling the fun! In Australia we are lucky that foreign films/shows are given subtitles so you can still hear the original voices.

  4. SYLVIA says:

    This wonderfull green risotto looks so lovely. Your recipes are very homey, earthy, yet so very elegant. Thank you for all these fabulous impressive recipes that you share with us. You rock Joumanna!!!!!! May you always reap the rewards of your kindness.

  5. Marie says:

    This sounds amazing and so out of the norm, love the poblano cream!

  6. Pj says:

    looks so delicious.. Pobalano cream is new to me but looking at the ingredients I can tell it must be so tasty!

  7. Cara says:

    That poblano cream sauce sounds delicious! So many wonderful possibilities with that.

  8. The Nervous Cook says:

    Oh my goodness, this looks wonderful. New idea for this weekend’s cooking project! Thank you!

  9. Mimi says:

    I made a chicken with poblano cream sauce and it was fantastic. When I started seeds for my garden this year I planted poblano chilies, so I’ll be needing this recipe soon.

  10. melrose says:

    Looks great:) your risotto. I am still coping with German (and English:)), but I would like to learn Spanish and Portuguese. Main obstacle is my laziness:))

  11. recettes gourmandes says:

    merci de votre visite et très contente de découvrir ton blog avec toutes ses recettes aussi bonne les unes que les autres et je reviendrai souvent te voir et découvrir les recettes .
    thanks à lot. à très bientôt.

  12. Sweet Faery says:

    I love risottos but this one looks particularly delicious. And the colour… wow! Thanks for your comment on my website. Have a nice day 🙂

  13. Sushma Mallya says:

    Heard a lot abt risotto but never tried it out myself….but this looks tempting and sure must be delicious to try out using your recipe, sounds great…have a great weekend, take care

  14. Océane says:

    un risotto très crémeux et vert pour une couleur flashy, j’adore

  15. peter says:

    I love Poblanos….mildly hot and very flavourful. If I place an order, you deliver (please!)?

  16. MaryMoh says:

    Beautiful green…looks healthy and delicious.

  17. pierre says:

    ton risotto printanier me fait bien envie ! bizz de Paris

  18. deana says:

    I worked on the pilot to Ugly Betty. One of the producers was the gorgeous Salma Hayak who did an unannounced walk-on. The highpoint of the show was her recreation of a catfight from a telenovella that was shown on a tv set in the episode. We all stuck around and almost died laughing. She was brilliant!!! I can see learning Spanish this way if you are very quick! I should check out the originals again. As for food… great idea to use poblano cream… it is such a rich ingredient that is perfect for risotto. Love those wings too.. thanks!!

  19. Jean says:

    I completely agree that the risotto can be half cooked ahead of time. This was actually confirmed to me my the head chef at Hayman Island in Australia… during one their cooking classes. The recipe looks great, I will try it with some of the varieties of pepper we find here in Singapore (but i’ll probably stick to butter to mantecare the risotto…)
    Btw, Marie can’t wait to try her wrist cookie bracelets this summer!

  20. fimère says:

    tes photos me mettent vraiment en appétit, ton risotto a une texture crémeuse comme je les aime, c’est parfait pour moi
    bonne journée

  21. Priya says:

    Green risotto looks absolutely delicious and divine..

  22. Evel@CheapEthnicEatz says:

    I love risotto but do not make it enough. this recipe certainly makes it tempting to break out my Arborio rice.

  23. Cathy at Wives with says:

    I love Mexican food and this dish looks incredibly delicious. All the ingredients are available here so I can try this soon. I can imagine how flavorful this is. Yum.

  24. Sarah Galvin (All Our Fingers in the Pie) says:

    I agree with your thoughts on risotto. It isn’t that mystical! The poblano looks like a great freezer recipe – make a large batch and freeze some for the future. Thanks for adding that note. I love that you are using the meat only from the chicken wings. I find it sweeter and moister than other white meat on the chicken. It is almost like dark meat.

  25. Lori Lynn says:

    WOW! Does your dish sound tasty! I use that same brand of rice.
    And I am making poblano cream too, but using cashew cream, instead of dairy.
    You really kicked “chicken and rice” up a notch!

  26. Stella says:

    Oh darn! I almost bought a few poblanos at the farmer’s market the other day, but I opted for a different vegetable. Now I wish I had just bought them. This sounds delicious, Joumana. Poblanos are so good any way they’re cooked!

  27. Julie says:

    Ça a l’air délicieux pour la grande fan de risotto que je suis, mais est-ce que c’est pas trop épicé? En tout cas, tu me donnes une super idée, j’essaierais peut-être avec une crème de poivron vert, je pense pas pouvoir trouver facilement des piments poblano ici!
    J’adore ta façon de détourner des plats typiques pour les cuisiner à ta façon et te les approprier 🙂
    Gros bisous Joumana!!

  28. Amy @ cookbookmaniac says:

    Your risotto looks so yummy and creamy. I love all things chilli, adding it to risotto is new to me but it sounds like a genius idea.

    I really dislike dubbing in foreign movies/tv shows. Except for Monkey Magic.

  29. Nadjibella says:

    On salive rien qu’en lisant la recette. Elle doit être sublime.
    A bientôt.

  30. The Gypsy Chef says:

    Looks wonderful. I’ve never heard of poblano cream, but I’m already loving it.
    BTW made your cookie bracelets. They are fabulous! The two birthday girls loved them. One was 18 and the other 8. They both wore them to school the next day.
    Thanks for the link, the trip looks terrific.

  31. heni says:

    Interesting how you combined different cusines in this dish Joumana! Never found aborio rice here but I should think this dish would work with long rice also – and use cubanelles instead of poblano since again none here – so i will be trying this recipe of yours out! every recipe i try i am so happy with – family loves them too!

  32. TastyTrix says:

    Hmmm, I may have to pretend that you made a typo there, and the poblano cream contains “veggie broth” not chicken … because I want to taste this!

  33. A Canadian Foodie says:

    This looks so yummy. Everything about it sounds yummy! I am trying to keep up with your posts. Wish you had a subscribe to new posts with e-mail plug in. Did I already tell you that? Mom’s 80th was yesterday and I DID NOT get to make the pistachio baskets… just too too much on the list. However, I did use the Sicilian pistachios to make little shortbread cookie boats – made up the recipe from something I had seen in the Harrod’s Food Floor at the Lebanese Bakery Corner I was telling you about. I think they turned out perfectly, and were still very labour intensive. The baskets will have to wait until they can have my undivided attention as I have no experience with anything similar – except Baklava… so, was too overwhelmed to try them in the midst of the makings.
    Thanks for this recipe, too!

  34. sweetlife says:

    oh novelas are just addicting..I love poblano funny I was just thinking of making some with pasta..great post


  35. Sandi says:

    thanks for your comments in my blog….you have a great blog and I will be back again. Have a great day!

  36. Michelle says:

    Poblano Cream sounds so good and something we would love! Actually just about anything with cream is wonderful!

  37. Not Quite Nigella says:

    Hehe I wish we got telenovas here! They always looks so dramatic and fun. I think I’ll have to search for the poblano cream as I don’t think I’ve seen it here but I do know of a South American grocery store 🙂

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