While much of the summer garden is wilting off and ready to be pulled out, the pepper plants are still producing prolifically. I’ve canned, frozen and dehydrated a good stash for use this winter and we’ve used diced peppers in cooking a variety of dishes, but I wanted to do something different while we still have a good flow of peppers. I wanted to stuff some.
Normally, stuffed peppers involve bell peppers and a rice/meat/tomato stuffing. But getting enough bell peppers that are properly shaped, the right size and ready to pick all at the same time to make a double batch of stuffed peppers can be tricky from a home garden. This is enough work that I like to do a double batch so I can freeze half of it for a quick, easy meal another time. This recipe is a little different from your “usual” stuffed pepper recipe.
What You Will Need
- Two or three ripe banana peppers per serving. (This recipe will stuff 25 -30 avg. banana peppers)
- 1 pound of ground turkey (you can use ground beef if you prefer, we like the turkey because it has almost no fat content)
- 1 pound of lean pork breakfast sausage. Hot or Medium, depending on your taste.
- ½ Tbsp fresh Oregano, minced
- 1 Tbsp fresh Thyme, minced
- 2 Tbsp fresh Basil, finely chopped
- 1 ½ cups chopped tomatoes
- 3/4 cups chopped onion
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 1 egg
- ½ cup shredded cheese
- 2 11”x13” baking pans
Prep the Peppers
Figure out how each pepper will lay best in a pan. Remove a slip along the “top” side of the pepper then cutting down just under the cap of the pepper. Do NOT cut the cap off. Poke your knife down carefully to separate the core from the stem, then cut the webbing to remove the core.
If you want your completed peppers soft, par-boil them now for 3 minutes. Stuff them raw for crisper peppers after baking.
Bag and refrigerate the slips you cut off; they’ll be great for dicing up in a salad or scrambled eggs. Compost the cores.
Note, I used primarily banana peppers, but also included a few Lipstick peppers, a couple of Cajun Belles (spicy) and a long skinny sweet bell pepper. All worked equally well.
In a large bowl, combine the turkey, sausage, onion, egg and bread crumbs. Mix until blended.
Reserve ¼ of each herb for the sauce, add the balance to the meat mix and mix through.
Stuff the peppers with the meat mix, packing the peppers full so no air pockets remain inside. Place the peppers in the baking dishes.
Coarsely chop the tomato and place in a small sauce pan. I used the oven roasted Roma tomatoes I’d made a few days earlier. Finely chop the reserved herbs and add to the sauce pan. Sweeten to taste with a little sugar or fresh Stevia from the garden. Cook the sauce until the tomatoes break down and the liquid thickens.
Spoon the sauce onto the peppers.
Bake uncovered in a 350° oven for 30 to 35 minutes, test to see that the meat has cooked through in the largest pepper. Top with shredded cheese and put back in the oven until cheese melts.
Serve and Save
Serve with a fruit and bread of choice. Two peppers constitutes a normal serving. Super-size if you must.
Place the unserved peppers in the freezer and freeze hard. Transfer into a vacuum seal bag, vacuum, seal and quickly return to the freezer. These will keep for months and be the basis for a quick dinner another time. Warm in the oven or microwave.
We very much enjoyed this different version of stuffed peppers, we hope you do too.