Monday, January 16, 2012

Pepper Poppers

People from Texas love jalepenos (chile peppers) and this recipe is one of my family's favorites. We tend to eat this more in the  warmer months, but if the grill is on - put some of these on the grill. If you have any leftovers, I'll be shocked!

24 big jalepenos or so (stems removed and cut in half - make a little boat)
1-2 tbsp. EVOO
1 onion chopped finely
1 large clove garlic chopped finely
1 pounds sausage (we like Italian Sausage best, but pork breakfast sausage is good too)
1-8 oz. pkg. cream cheese (low-fat if you like)
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese 
1/4 cup shredded monterrey/cheddar mix cheese (optional)

Other things you will need:
Latex gloves
Pepper corer (Where to buy Pepper Corer) or small utility knife 
Sheet Pan / Cookie Sheet 
Non-stick Spray
Tongs with long handles

Heat pan, and then add EVOO.  When you smell the aroma from the olive oil, add the onion and saute until  translucent. Add garlic and cook a minute or so longer.  Put onion/garlic mixture in a medium bowl to cool.  Add a little more EVOO to the pan for the sausage  (if needed), once oil is warm, add the sausage and cook on medium to medium low heat until done (no pink).  Break into small pieces as you cook.  Big chunks of meat don't fit in the jalepeno boats very well. 

Once meat is cooked remove from pan and add to bowl of onions. Let onion/sausage mixture cool to room temperature. 

While waiting for the meat too cool, prepare the peppers.   I suggest wearing latex gloves to protect your hands. Cut the stems off and cut the pepper in half lengthwise.  If you remove the seeds and white membrane lining, you will drastically reduce the natural heat from the peppers. If you like more heat - add some seeds to the meat mixture.

Don't forget your latex gloves.....Then remove white membrane and seeds.

Use tool or small knife to make this job easier.
A clean pepper boat has been created and is ready to be stuffed.
** My compost bowl is shown in the pictures above.  All of my vegetable scraps and eggs shells are placed in this bowl and added to my compost bin or fed to my chickens.  Just a side note in case you wondering what is in my bowl and why.

Back to the recipe now....

Once meat mixture is cooled add the cream cheese and other cheeses and stir until all are incorporated well.  If you add too soon - the shredded cheese will melt. You don't want it to melt yet.

Meat, onion, garlic, cheese mixture

Place a piece of foil on your sheet pan.  Get a small spoon and fill each pepper boat with a generous amount of the meat /cheese mixture and place each pepper on the sheet pan or cookie sheet.  This will be an easy way to carry to the grill.  

If the grill isn't already hot, heat now to at least 400 degrees.

Tear another piece of foil the same size as the sheet pan.  Spray with non-stick spray before you get to the grill. Place that piece of foil on the grill rack. Now use long handled tongs to place each pepper on the foil. If you don't put foil on the grill rack, your cheese may fall out of the pepper and fall into the flame.  I use foil so I can save any cheese that comes out and to keep the flames from flaring up. Close the lid of the grill and cook for 5 minutes.  Raise lid and check progress. When cheese is melted and peppers are black on the bottom (roasted), the pepper poppers are ready.  This usually takes 8-10 minutes.   Hopefully you can get your pepper poppers placed on a serving tray before everyone starts eating them. 

Notice in the picture above the black pepper turned over.  It has been roasted and will not be as hot as a raw chile pepper. Roasting peppers makes them sweeter!  

Serve as soon as possible after you take them off the grill.


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