Saturday, August 27, 2011

Back with a bite: Stuffed Peppers with Cheddar Cilantro Sauce

After a short hiatus (and much needed vacation), we're back! So let's jump right in!

I love peppers; especially when they're stuffed with delicious fillings. Cultures all over the world utilize peppers in this way. In Italy, bell peppers are stuffed with tomatoes, basil and garlic. In Greece, pepperoncinis are packed with capers, fish and mint. And in Mexico, poblanos are stuffed with pork, adobo and chili sauce.

Taking some inspiration from these dishes, this recipe is a mish mash of awesome. It can be made with bell peppers or poblanos depending on your desired heat level. And topping it off with a creamy cheddar sauce just makes it THAT much better.

Stuffed Peppers with Cheddar Cilantro Sauce


4 medium sized peppers
1/2 pound ground turkey (dark meat)
½ cup yellow onion, diced
1/2 cup roasted red pepper, diced
1 fresh jalapeno, minced with seeds (without seeds for less heat)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
½ tablespoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sharp cheddar, finely shredded

Heat a griddle or grill on high heat. Cut the tops off the peppers, seed and core them, and place them open side down on the griddle. Pour about 4 tablespoons of water on the hot griddle every couple of minutes to add some steam to the cooking process.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, add olive oil and saute onion until slightly transparent. Add jalapeno, cumin, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper and ground turkey. Cook until browned and add red pepper.

In a saucepan, melt butter over low heat until bubbling slightly. Add flour and stir continuously until it forms a creamy paste. (This is also known as a roux.) Slowly add milk, stirring constantly. Add nutmeg and cheese while stirring and remove from heat once it has reached a thick consistency. Stir in fresh cilantro. Salt and pepper to taste.

Once peppers are fully grilled, stuff with ground turkey mixture. Serve with rice and pour cheese sauce over the peppers.

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