Monday, April 29, 2013

Stuffed Jalapeño and Sweet Peppers

Once again, I was inspired by one of Ravenous Couple's photos--this one was Jalapeño Poppers in a Blanket. Check out the photo with the proceeding link--it looks so good, doesn't it? The key to cooking, though, is to make the dish to your taste. I am not a crust/bread lover, so after a couple of attempts making the stuffed peppers with puff pastry and also phyllo dough, I ended up with a topping of panko bread crumbs as my favorite.

 I liked just a bit of crunch on top with the panko bread crumbs.

 This is the stuffed jalapeño with phyllo dough. It was nice and crispy, but I don't have a lot of experience with phyllo sheets and it seemed like a lot of trouble.

I used a smaller piece of puff pastry than Ravenous Couple did in their recipe. Mine may not have puffed thoroughly because I may have stretched it a little while wrapping the peppers. I also added vegetables to the filling--the bacon and cream cheese alone was too rich for me, so I added chopped spinach, water chestnuts, onion and mushrooms to the cream cheese.


Stuffed Jalapeños and Sweet Peppers

Ingredients:

1/2 lb. jalapeño peppers
1/2 lb. sweet mini peppers
4 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled
8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1-10 oz. bag frozen chopped spinach, thawed & squeezed
1-8 oz. can sliced water chestnuts, diced
1/2 cup onion, diced
2 cups diced mushrooms
4 heads roasted garlic, skins removed

1 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs mixed with 2 tablespoons melted butter
or
phyllo dough sheets or puff pastry

optional: 1 cup crumbled/grated queso fresco or jalapeño jack cheese

Straight jalapeños with a nice stem work well, although the stem is a little too tough to eat--makes the finished product look pretty, though. The sweet mini peppers work great for those that don't like spicy food. Cut them in half, trying to also cut the stem in half.

For the jalapeños, the seeds and the membranes inside are hot. I wanted a little heat, so I left most of the membrane but removed the seeds. With the sweet mini peppers, I removed all the insides, which left a nice pocket to fill.

If you are feeding vegetarians or simply want to eat lighter, I used a package of Morningstar Farms frozen sausage patties instead of bacon for one batch of stuffed peppers. I thawed the patties, then roughly chopped them and pulsed them in the food processor until they resembled sausage crumbles. My husband, nor my parents, could tell it wasn't meat--the cream cheese makes it rich enough. If you're using bacon, cook, crumble  and set aside.

Whenever I roast garlic, I always make more than the recipe calls for, and keep it in the refrigerator to use in other recipes. Make roasted garlic by cutting the tops off whole heads of garlic, drizzling them with olive oil, wrapping them in foil and bake in a 400ºF oven for 45 minutes or until a bit caramelized. Cool, remove skins and set aside.

Saute the diced onions and mushrooms in 2 teaspoons olive oil until wilted, let cool and set aside.

Squeeze the spinach to remove excess water and add to a bowl along with the cooked onions & mushrooms, water chestnuts, softened cream cheese and garlic from 2 cloves of roasted garlic. Add the cooked bacon or sausage. Mix well. Season with freshly ground pepper and a little bit of salt if desired. The filling should be a little on the stiff side, it makes the peppers easier to fill. I think the cream cheese should be more of a binder than the main filler, but make it to your tastes. You can make the recipe a day ahead to this point and refrigerate.

Fill the peppers and add a clove of roasted garlic to each one.

Then add your topping--buttered panko bread crumbs, phyllo dough (if you don't like the richness of using butter, use an olive oil spray) or puff pastry (being careful not to stretch the dough). Top phyllo or puff pastry with a little cheese if desired.

If you're using puff pastry, add the cheese in the last 10 minutes of baking--the cheese will brown first and you'll want enough time for the pastry to properly bake--mine looks a little underdone here, but the cheese is nicely browned.

Bake in 400ºF oven for 30-40 minutes or until breadcrumbs are lightly browned. It takes about the same amount of baking time for the phyllo or puff pastry too.

Itadakimasu!



***


We haven't had any Rachel pics in awhile--look how she's grown!

This weekend she bonded with her grandpa--he got the biggest smiles!

Gary's fun--he takes Rachel out to the courtyard to play.

 Rachel likes to swing.

She liked the rocking horse.

 Karen's friend Wendy came to visit with her two children.

 This is Colin.

And this is Claire. Claire is a bit of a dare-devil--she took the little rocking horse to the top of the slide and slid down!

 Claire has a lot of energy. I wish I had her energy!

Look! No hands!

 Clair loves roller coasters. Not just little ones, but BIG ones, too! Claire just turned FOUR!

 These two are all smiles!

 Gary tossed the ball and Rachel giggled and giggled.

 No, Gary, those aren't your toys! They belong to a little boy that lives in the courtyard also named Gary! We had a fun morning with Wendy, Claire and Colin. Thank you, Wendy, for coming to visit!

For dinner, Karen and Mitchell made us a gourmet feast! Gordon and Amy joined us for dinner--it's always so nice to see them. Sorry you are out-of-focus, Amy! I am working on my depth-of-field to get better and was unsuccessful here--I should have had Amy go around to the other side and stand between Gordon & Karen so she could be on the same focal plane as the others. Or, I could have closed down the aperture to get a better depth-of-field. I need more practice. You might remember Gordon & Amy from my Cinnamon Rolls Post.

Thank you, Karen, Mitchell, Amy, Gordon--and of course Rachel--for a delicious dinner and a fun weekend!


***




Stuffed Jalapeños and Sweet Peppers

Ingredients:

1/2 lb. jalapeño peppers
1/2 lb. sweet mini peppers
4 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled
8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1-10 oz. bag frozen chopped spinach, thawed & squeezed 
1-8 oz. can sliced water chestnuts, diced
1/2 cup onion, diced
2 cups diced mushrooms
4 heads roasted garlic, skins removed

1 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs mixed with 2 tablespoons melted butter 
or
phyllo dough sheets or puff pastry

1. Roast garlic by slicing off a bit of the top of each head, drizzling olive oil over the heads, wrapping them in foil and baking in a 400ºF oven for 45 minutes or until soft and a little caramelized. Cool and remove skins.
2. Cook bacon strips until crisp, crumble and set aside. 
3. Cook diced onions and mushrooms until wilted, about 10 minutes over medium heat. Cool and set aside.
4. Thaw and squeeze spinach and soften cream cheese. Mix together with onions & mushrooms mixture, bacon and 2 heads of roasted garlic. Season with freshly ground pepper and salt (if desired).
5. Slice peppers in half, remove seeds and membranes (if desired) and stuff.
6. Top with panko breadcrumbs (mixed with melted butter or olive oil), phyllo dough squares or puff pastry.
7. Bake at 400ºF oven for 30-40 minutes or until topping is lightly browned and peppers begin to wilt.

5 comments:

  1. The ones with puff pastry around them look like they're wearing dresses. Love it. Can't wait to try the recipe! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Those are some tasty looking stuffed peppers!

    ReplyDelete