By all means, use only jalapeño peppers for this recipe. I went to 2 different grocery stores when I made this particular batch and was only able to find 5 jalapeño peppers and so I subbed in whatever small hot peppers I could find. Although I roasted the peppers to help take out some of their heat, my guests still found the jalapeños overwhelmingly spicy (although I preferred them, so knowing your audience is helpful here). I like the reliability of cheddar when it comes to these peppers, but use any cheese that sounds good to you. I specify full fat cream cheese because I find that low fat versions tend to have a gritty texture when heated, and if you’re wrapping these in bacon I feel like the whole low fat idea becomes moot anyway. The most time consuming part of this recipe comes from hollowing out the peppers and removing the seeds, the stuffing and wrapping part goes by quickly in comparison. I’m always trying to convince myself I don’t need to wear gloves when I cut up hot peppers but after several fiery eyeball incidents I’ve resigned myself to a pair of rubber gloves reserved just for this purpose. Serve something ice cold to drink with these, I suggest a really cold light tasting beer or giving rosé slushies a try.
bacon wrapped stuffed hot peppers:
16 small hot peppers of your choice
8 oz. full fat cream cheese, softened at room temperature
2 oz. sharp cheddar, shredded
1 bunch of scallions, things sliced (both white and green parts)
1 medium-sized tomato with the seeds removed, cut into a very fine dice
About 2 Tbsp. worth of fresh sage, cut into fine ribbons
Juice of 1 lime
Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
16 slices of bacon, sliced in half lengthwise
Cilantro or parsley for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prep the hot peppers by cutting them in half lengthwise, carefully removing the seeds without destroying the shape of the pepper – you’re aiming for little pepper boats. Roast the peppers cut side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet for about a half hour. Allow them to cool to room temperature, leaving the oven on if you’re making the peppers right away.
- Combine the cream cheese, cheddar, scallions, diced tomato, fresh sage, lime juice, kosher, and freshly cracked black pepper to taste. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until thoroughly mixed.
- Using 2 teaspoons, carefully stuff each pepper with the cream cheese mixture. I find that I usually have to reallocate some odds and ends once I’m finished, but you should have enough to generously fill each of the peppers.
- Carefully wrap each stuffed pepper with half a slice of bacon, being careful not to pull too tightly as the bacon will shrink as it’s heated. Arrange them on the same parchment-lined baking sheet that you used before, making sure there’s space between each pepper.
- Return the bacon wrapped peppers to the oven and cook for 30-40 minutes. Serve while still hot garnished with the parsley or cilantro, ideally with cold beer, and watch how quickly they disappear. In fact, you’ll probably be kicking yourself for not doubling the recipe so make note for any future stuffed hot pepper endeavours.
From Russia, with love.
Motorama – Ghost