Sometimes, I like to smoke.

Every now and then, I like to smoke.  Cook food in a smoker with wood chips, that is.  Yesterday was a beautiful and sunny fall day, perfect for putting something yummy to eat on the smoker, like stuffed jalapeno and sweet banana peppers.  I had a couple dozen jalapeno peppers that survived in the garden and I found some sweet and mild banana and gypsy peppers at the Crystal City Farmer’s Market this week.  Aside from being grown in my own back yard, there is nothing better than finding fresh, local produce.  You know that the vegetable has been picked within a day or so, making it super fresh and I got these peppers for just a few dollars.  It’s was a win win deal! 

Here is how I made these tasty stuffed peppers:

Stuffed Jalapeno & Banana Peppers:

  • 20 small jalapenos
  • 20 or so banana, gypsy, or small sweet peppers
  • 1 pound of pork sausage (I used half Italian and Half Hot Sausage)
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • a small bunch of parsley (about 2 Tablespoons), chopped (if using dry- 1 to 2 teaspoons full)
  • olive oil
  • Freshly cracked black pepper and seasoned salt-to taste
  • bacon (optional)

Clean, slice a small piece of the side pepper off, remove seeds and ribs from peppers.  *Use gloves for the jalapenos or hot peppers*  (keep the part of the pepper that you sliced off, it is good for many uses)  I used a sharp serrated knife and a strawberry huller.

In large skillet, cook sausage and diced onions until sausage is browned. 

In large bowl, add cooked sausage mixture, bread crumbs, cheese,  parsley, seasoned salt and pepper.  Mix well.  Mixture should be a bit dry or crumbly at this point. 

Add one tablespoon of olive oil to mixture, check to see if mixture will form a ball on its own.  If so, it is ready to stuff, if not, add a bit more olive oil until mixture can hold together.

Using your hands or a very small (teaspoon scoop), put stuffing into peppers. 

Optional- wrap a small piece of bacon around pepper and fasten with toothpick.  Bacon is never a bad choice, in my opinion.  People that do not like bacon are questionable in my book. 🙂  Remember, moderation. 

At this point, the peppers are ready to be cooked, or placed on a tray in the refrigerator until ready to cook. 

Place on preheated smoker with wood chips (I used hickory wood chips) and smoke for 1 to 1 and 1/2 hours. 

Remove from smoker when done and serve hot or room temp.

*Want a vegetarian version of these?  You could substitute sautéed mushrooms, diced pepper pieces (that you were saving anyway), and shredded or diced squash, instead of sausage.

*You don’t have to own a smoker to make these.  You can bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-45 minutes, until cooked through, or cook indirectly on your grill. ( Add a handful of soaked woodchips to a pouch of foil with some holes poked in it to make a little smoker for your grill.  Place the foil pouch over the heat).

*Use whatever kind of cheese that you have on hand, or that you like.

*Use any kind of bulk sausage that you like.  I just happened to have Italian and Hot sausage on hand.

*Use a milder wood chip like apple, cherry or, pecan, if you like.

Hickory wood just happens to be my favorite. 

I kept the ingredients mild because I really wanted the taste of the peppers to come through.  As you can see, this recipe is just the basis for your palate and imagination.

 

I took the peppers with me to a party yesterday evening and I do believe that the peppers were enjoyed by all.  Good times.

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