Saturday, September 01, 2012

Poppin' peppers

These cheery little peppers grow side-by-side in our garden but you wouldn't want to get them confused. The smooth one on the right is a dwarf sweet pepper, like a tiny orange pimento with just enough piquancy to remind you that it's a pepper. The wrinkly one on the left--the one that looks like it's smiling at you--is a ripe habanero, hot enough to make your hands tingle when you pick 'em. The one on the right would be great chopped in a salad, or you can just pop it into your mouth for a crunchy snack. If you tried that with the habanero, steam would come out of your ears and your lips would melt right off your face.
We plant the habanero every year but this is the first time for the dwarf sweet peppers, which suddenly produced a pile of peppers demanding attention. I've never stuffed a pepper that small but why not give it a try? So I sauteed some onions, garlic, one small chopped habanero, and one chopped pimento pepper, added ripe peeled tomatoes and seasonings, simmered until it got plenty saucy, and then combined it with cooked rice and browned sausage. I filled each pepper with a tiny spoonful of stuffing, topped 'em with parmesan cheese, and baked for 30 minutes at 350.

The result? They look cute as a button and taste cute too, if you know what I mean. They're much like ordinary stuffed peppers except you can pop 'em into your mouth whole--which could be a mistake if you don't let them cool a bit first. Best of all, they're still growing. I put the leftover stuffing in the freezer so that next time a pile of tiny orange peppers shows up in my kitchen, I'll be ready to roll.

Just as long as they're the right peppers. The wrong ones would hurt.

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