Stuffed with blue cheese, chicken and celery, and simmered in a spicy Buffalo-inspired sauce, these petite peppers pull double duty as hearty entrée or delightfully sloppy hors d’oeuvre.
I like chicken wings as much as the next person, but what really gets me all hot and finger-licking is the combination of wing sauce and blue cheese. I’m a bit of a weirdo, however, and I hate creamy dressings. So things like burgers or pizzas with Buffalo sauce and blue-cheese crumbles always get my vote. Don’t even get me started on Buffalo-chicken pizzas with no blue cheese—I mean, seriously, no blue cheese?
I’ve enjoyed (okay, from time-to-time become obsessed with) incorporating this pungent flavor duo into meatballs, pastas, and various appetizers, but these stuffed peppers are definitely the new family favorite.
Use your favorite small, sweet peppers from your garden, or check your supermarket for the ones sold in colorful assortments in clear, plastic bags—they are often labeled “sweet ones” or “dulcetta” peppers. Large jalapenos are the right size, but sweeter peppers add a bit more balance and complexity.
The filling is pureed in the food processor and transferred to a piping bag for easy pepper-stuffing. After three hours in the slow cooker, the peppers are tender, and the filling is juicy and flavorful like little pepper-enrobed sausages.
Minimize waste by dicing up the pepper tops and adding them straight to the cooking water of quinoa or rice along with salt, pepper, and cumin seeds. Add black beans and top with the stuffed peppers and sauce for a spicy and satisfying supper.
Yield: Serves 10-12 as hors d’oeuvres or 6-8 as an entrée with sides.
Buffalo-Chicken-Stuffed Peppers Recipe• 1 cup chopped onion
• 1/2 cup chopped carrot
• 2/3 cup chopped celery
• Kosher salt and coarse black pepper
• 1 pound raw, boneless, skinless chicken
• 1 tbsp granulated garlic
• 1 tbsp dried basil
• 1 tbsp dried oregano
• 1 tsp dried thyme
• 4 oz crumbled blue cheese
• Approximately 20 small, sweet peppers, such as “dulcettas”
• 15 oz plain tomato sauce
• 4 tbsp butter
• 1 cup hot sauce (I used Frank’s)
1. Cook the onion, carrot, and celery in a large sauté pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a heatproof spatula, until the onion and celery begin to soften and brown, about 10 minutes.
2. Stir in 1/4 tsp salt, cover, and let sweat off the heat for 10 minutes.
3. Transfer the onion mixture, along with any browned bits and juices, to the food processor, along with chicken, 1 tbsp kosher salt, several cranks of black pepper, and remaining herbs and spices.
4. Process till smooth, pausing to scrape down the sides of the processor bowl as necessary.
5. Add the blue cheese and pulse several times to distribute. Let sit while you prepare the sauce and peppers. Alternatively, make the mixture up to 2 days ahead and store tightly covered in the fridge till ready to use.
6. Place the tomato sauce, butter, and hot sauce in the slow cooker and set to high.
7. Rinse the peppers, slice off the tops, and remove the cores and seeds.
8. Transfer the meat mixture to a piping bag and pipe the mixture into the peppers, sticking the tip of the bag as deep into the pepper as possible and lifting out slowly as you squeeze as much of the filling into each one as you can without bursting the pepper.
9. Gently stir the stuffed peppers to the sauce so that they are all coated. Cover and cook for 3 hours on high.
10. Serve with toothpicks and plenty of napkins as an hors d'oeuvre or over beans and grains as an entree.
Morgan Crumm is a mother, blogger, recipe-developer, and real-food advocate based in Dallas, TX. More of her work can be found at Being the Secret Ingredient, a blog about food, life, and love.
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