Today we bring you a special guest post from Mike Hultquist. Mike’s a screenwriter, novelist and food writer obsessed with chili peppers. You can find all sorts of chili pepper recipes and more at www.chilipeppermadness.com. His latest cookbook is “Jalapeno Poppers and Other Stuffed Chili Peppers”, available at Amazon.com and BN.com. Enjoy,
- JB Mays
You can fire up the grill all season long for all the meat you crave, but over at Chili Pepper Madness, we’re grilling up something different – stuffed chili peppers. You might not automatically consider the grill for whipping up stuffed pepper recipes, but in reality, your grill is the perfect tool.
Consider the iconic stuffed pepper, the jalapeno popper – a jalapeno pepper stuffed with cream cheese, often wrapped in bacon. They are amazing on the grill, but that is only the beginning.
There are many ways to approach a stuffed chili pepper recipe. The variations are endless. Chili peppers are the perfect vessels for unique meals because they have a lot of flavor, offer heat like no other, and are hollow, which simply beg for a delicious stuffing.
Consider also that you have a wide variety of chili pepper types available to you with a huge range of sizes and heat levels. Larger peppers like the mild bell, deep flavored poblano, or the enormous New Mexico Big Jim are great for main courses. One stuffed pepper alone will make for a full meal. Smaller peppers like jalapenos or padron de pimientos make for ideal appetizers or side dishes. You can also stuff bite sized peppers like Scotch Bonnets or habaneros to use as topping or hors d’oeuvres, but only if you can take the heat from those hotter peppers.
What I personally like about the grill is the ease of roasting the peppers. You don’t have to roast your peppers to stuff them, but roasting changes the pepper flavor and texture from garden fresh and crunchy to slightly smoky and velvety smooth. Roasting peppers on the grill is easy. Here’s how.
Basic Steps for Roasting Chili Peppers
1. Heat your grill to medium heat. You can use gas or charcoal. Charcoal will bring you more smoky flavor, but you can use wood chips in a smoke tray on your gas grill to achieve similar results.
2. Set the peppers on the grill and cover. You can brush the peppers with vegetable oil before starting if you’d like, but it is not necessary. Avoid olive oil, as it burns easily.
3. Grill the peppers about 10 minutes, or until the bottom side begins to blacken. Flip and grill another 10 minutes. The time will vary by the pepper, depending on the pepper thickness and surface area. What you are looking for here is charred and blackened pepper skins. Just keep an eye on the peppers and adjust times as needed, and flip them as often as needed.
4. Transfer the peppers to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. The steam within will help loosen the pepper skins, making them easy to remove.
5. Once cooled, peel away the skins with your fingers. Use a towel or a peeler for any tough skins.
Your peppers are now ready for stuffing. I’ve included a couple different recipes here for you to try.