Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Peppers Galore

Jason grew a lot of peppers this year.  Truth be told, I'm not a huge pepper fan, particularly of the bell pepper variety.  I have tried many, many times to like bell peppers and I just can't do it.

Nevertheless, we have a lot of peppers to get through in the next couple of weeks.  I most wanted to make Jason something with the caballero peppers that he grew and which he loves but that I do not like at all.  They're a good size for stuffing and I figured I could knock some of those out of our supply with a good dinner recipe using lots of peppers.  After asking my Facebook friends (particularly those from Tucson) for a chile relleno recipe, I realized that, wow, chile rellenos are complicated and time-consuming!

So I came up with my own spicy stuffed peppers recipe with meatballs and more peppers!  In the crock pot!

  • 6-7 caballero peppers (can also use bell pepper or any other pepper that is stuffable.  The caballero peppers are kind of small (3 inches long by 2 inches wide) so if you're using big bell peppers, 1-3 should suffice for this recipe)
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/2 C bread crumbs
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped small
  • 5-6 banana peppers and/or parker peppers, seeds removed and chopped small
  • 2 T cumin
  • 4 T chili powder
  • 2 t salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 15 oz can no salt added diced tomatoes (can also use fresh tomatoes, but I'm saving ours for caprese salad and homemade tomato sauce)
  • 1 15 oz can tomato sauce

Cut off the tops and bottoms of the caballero peppers and remove all seeds.  The bottoms are cut off so that the peppers can stand up in the crock pot.

Mix together ground beef, bread crumbs, onion, about 2/3 of your chopped peppers, 1 1/2 T cumin, 2 T chili powder, 1 t salt, and eggs.  Probably easiest to mix with your hands.

Stuff the caballero peppers with beef mixture.  Roll the rest of the beef mixture into meatballs, about 2 inches in diameter.

In a separate bowl mix together diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, rest of the chopped peppers, 1/2 T cumin, 2 T chili powder and 1 t salt.  Taste and/or smell to make sure that the strongest flavors are the cumin and chili powder, not the tomatoes, otherwise you're just making slightly Mexican spaghetti sauce.  Add more cumin and chili powder as needed. 

Pour tomato mixture into the crock pot and spread evenly.  Place the stuffed peppers on end in the crock pot, then fill in the rest of the space with a layer of meatballs.  Cook on low for 8 hours.

We ate this for dinner last night and I ate leftover meatballs for lunch today.  Jason got his stuffed peppers, and I got some yummy meatballs.  Win win.

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