Stuffed Chilis

Stuffed peppers re works of the gods. As I kid, I didn't know how good I had it, and found stuffed peppers and cabbage at the bottom of my dinner wish list. Now I see them for what they really are: self contained, delicious dinners of homemade convenience. Grab and go. I've even made a chicken philly version and swapped rice for quinoa another time.

I won't pretend I knew what I was getting into here. You see, I've had green chilis before, but in dishes or dips. You know, like with those canned green chilis that are a key component of a good Super Bowl party cheese dip. Those ain't shit. I mean it! While I thought I was buying a banana shaped bell pepper, I later found out I was carrying out little spice grenades.


They were on sale because apparently the devil had a good crop this season and the grocery had a plethora. So, I grabbed a pound. Being that I am fairly new to this whole grilling thing, I decided to throw some chicken breasts on and thought these would be a good side item.

Being that I thought I was handling some sweet, innocent little banana peppers, I bare handedly cut em open  with a big slice down the side, clipped off the stem, and scooped out the seeds. I noticed my eyes stinging a bit in the air above these bad boys, so I had a feeling my expectations may not match reality here.

You see, I typically am a little neurotic when it comes to pepper slicin' and dicin'. I had an utterly horrible experience slicing up jalapenos once. I cut several into pieces, scooping out the seeds and everything with my fingers. It started to burn a little bit, which I blew off, until it grew into a pain so great it felt like my hand was stuck in a fire. Over the next 6 hours, I tried everything (quite literally) to get that capsaicin out of my skin. Milk, vinegar, yogurt, scrubbing with hot water...even Orajel. The only thing that helped was ice water. So for that entire 6 hour period, I kept my hands in ice, changing it out every few minutes. In case you were wondering, I use gloves now for even a single jalapeno dish. I have zero shame.


I made a super basic filling by combining cooked black beans, salsa, some shredded cheese, and cumin.


I topped it off with shredded monterey jack.



Since peppers are curved, I made a little tray with foil to keep them standing up on the grill. This was a new grill and I wasn't about to scrub melted cheese out of the inside of it.


I threw em on the grill and let them cook for a good 30 minutes, since I put the chicken on just after and chicken goes on a lower heat. I had the grill at about 400 degrees.


They were good and soft by the time they came off the grill, though if a crispier pepper is preferred, removing them after 20 minutes is ideal. The beans are already cooked, so it's mostly a matter of melting the cheese and cooking the peppers.

But enough about the cooking part. I finished up my chicken (a very tasty lime-cumin seasoned variety), cut into one of these peppers, and chowed down. HOLY. MOLY. Listen, I love peppers. I love jalapenos and am undeterred by ghost pepper sauces. I'd even try the infamous Carolina Reaper (ok, a small piece). But at least I know what I'm getting into with those. But these were unexpectedly fiery. Good, spicy, but they hit me like a bag of bricks. I knew eating all 4 would be an unobtainable goal, so I dropped some off with my family to let them get a try in. My pepper loving dad? Loved em. Maybe they got weaker overnight?! My tale remains the same. Green chilis are hot!

Stuffed Chilis Recipe

Ingredients:

4 green chili peppers
8 ounces cooked black beans (about half of a standard 15 ounce can)
2 tablespoons salsa
1/2 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

Instructions:

Preheat grill or oven to 400 degrees F. Slice peppers lengthwise on one side and cut off stems. Scoop out seeds. In a small bowl, mix beans, salsa, about half the cheese, cumin, and salt. Spoon into each pepper, then top with remaining shredded cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, until peppers are soft.

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