Roasted Turkey + Poblano Cheese and Rice Casserole

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A herby green paste-rubbed roasted turkey served over a gooey poblano cheese and rice casserole.

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Whole turkey

The star of the show is the turkey, whether it is whole or pieces is up to you. For this recipe it’s best to use turkey with the skin on. The skin helps hold the green paste onto the meat without it moving or sliding off. This recipe can be made featuring any kind of poultry, turkey being a large bird requires a lot of green paste, reducing the amount for a smaller bird.

Green paste

Green onions,thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, garlic bulbs with the wrapper , sage and tarragon are all super aromatic herbs that combine to result in a super savory turkey. Use as much or as little of the herbs you have on hand.

Poblano Peppers

Poblano has a nice bite of heat and it has the crunch of bell pepper without any sweetness. Poblano act as broccoli would if this was the classic “ broccoli rice and cheese” so you want pieces large enough to bite can add crunch to the creamy rice but not too large its stands out against the rice. Poblanos are ideal because you can use enough to litter the casserole without making the dish super hot. For some added heat include a small amount of your favorite spicy pepper on top of the crisp poblano.


This recipe is meant to be kept simple. Use whatever white rice you have on hand whether its long grain, jasmine or basmati.

Cream cheese, Cream and Butter

Cream cheese, cream and butter add a heavy richness to the dish, the cream cheese will help thicken the cream and the butter add a buttery richness to the rice casserole dish.

Tips and Tricks Roasted Turkey + Poblano Cheese and Rice Casserole

making the green paste

making the green paste is the easiest thing about this recipe. you simply place all the ingredients into the blender garlic bulb husk and all then blend till smooth. the blender will help break down the fibers and the long cook on the turkey will take care of the rest.

stuffing the green paste in the turkey

the key to stuffing the turkey skin is starting with a completely defrosted turkey. once defrosted use your hand to separate the skin from the flesh slowly all the way towards the breast. make sure the skin is loosened before taking a handful of green paste. once the skin is separated rub all the green paste under the skin all over the turkey. make sure to run some on the inside of the cavity. any remaining can be rubbed on the outside of the turkey. it will brown as it cooks.

making the poblano rice and cheese

making the poblano rice and cheese starts by using pre cooked rice, and settling in a pan with butter-sweated poblano, garlic and cilantro. once the rice is tossed it is folded into a rich cream cheese and cheddar cheese sauce .

heat levels.

poblano rice and cheese is broccoli rice and cheese. poblanos are the ideal pepper because they aren’t sweet and mild like a bell pepper but aren’t hot enough to make the dish overwhelmingly hot. the peppers also add crunch so you want to have enough to add texture to the casserole. if you want the casserole spicier build off of the poblano and add to it you can even spice it up with minced jalapeños or habaneros.

keep the husk on the garlic

when making a recipe where an aromatic herb paste is to be blended and then cooked for an extended period of time, leave the husk on the garlic. it actually has some health benefits like antiviral and antifungal properties; it’s also rich in minerals. It also saves time. simply give the garlic a whack, remove the hardened stem in the middle and toss the rest of the bulb in to blend.


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Roasted Turkey + Poblano Cheese and Rice Casserole

Roasted Turkey + Poblano Cheese and Rice Casserole
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  • One 15lb turkey, defrosted
  • Green paste
  • 6 green onions, hard middle part removed
  • 2 Celery Stalks
  • 2 garlic bulbs whole
  • 1/2c Parsley
  • 1Tb Rosemary
  • 2Tb Thyme
  • 2Tb Sage
  • 1Tb Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1Tb Black Pepper
  • 5 Bay Leaves
  • 1Tb Salt
  • 1/2c Olive Oil
  • 2Tb White vinegar
  • Poblano Rice & Cheese
  • 2TB Butter
  • 2 Poblano, diced
  • 2Tb Cilantro, minced
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 2c White Rice, cooked
  • 4oz Cream cheese
  • 2- 3c Cheddar cheese
  • 2c Half and Half
  • 1tsp Cayenne
  • 1tsp Black Pepper
  • 2tsp Salt
  • 1tsp Mustard Powder
  • 1Tb Garlic Powder
  • 1tsp Onion Powder


  • To make the green paste, combine everything into the blender- stems and all. Blend till smooth for about one minute. Once the paste is smoothed prep the turkey.
  • Remove the skin from the flesh of the turkey so its somewhat separated. Season the meat and cavity with salt and pepper. Rub the entire turkey under the skin with green paste. Roast at 350F for 2 hours increase to 375F for the remaining 3-4 hours until the internal temperature reaches 165F.
  • Prepare the poblano rice and cheese ahead of time to bake in the last hour with the turkey.
  • To start in a hot cast iron pan add in butter, once butter is melted add in poblanos and garlic.
  • Sweat for about 3 minutes till you can start to smell the poblano and garlic.
  • Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  • Pour in half and half along with the cream cheese and bring the half and to a light simmer, melting the cream cheese. Allow to simmer till the half and half is lightly thicken. If its not thick enough add more cream cheese.
  • Season with cayenne, cilantro, peppers, salt, garlic and onion powder.
  • Add in the cook rice along with cheddar cheese and toss together.
  • You can place additional cheese on top before baking. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes till bubbly.
  • Once the turkey is done allow for it to rest for 30 minutes. Serve over the poblano rice and cheese.
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