Crispy Sweet Pepper Poppers Stuffed with Cream Cheese and Broccoli

Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser Yield:  12 servings (12 peppers total)
Prep Time:  30 minutes Cook Time:  15 minutes

Crispy Sweet Pepper Poppers Stuffed with Cream Cheese and Broccoli

These pepper poppers are mild, creamy and crunchy. They’re a perfect dairy appetizer for the whole family.

Ingredients

1 (11.5-ounce) container whipped cream cheese, preferably TempTee

½ head broccoli, florets and peeled stems, minced (about 2 cups)

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced, any green centers discarded

1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley or cilantro, minced (about ½ cup)

1 cup canola oil

1 cup olive oil

12 small, thin, 3- to 4-inch-long baby red, yellow and/or orange bell peppers or cubanelle peppers

4 eggs

2 cups matzo meal or fine breadcrumbs

1½ teaspoons kosher salt

1½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon ground dried guajillo or ancho chili

1 tablespoon granulated garlic

½ tablespoon ground cumin

Instructions

  1. Make the filling:  Combine the cream cheese, broccoli, garlic, and parsley  into a large mixing bowl and mix until completely blended. Set aside.
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Line another baking sheet with paper towels. Pour the oils into a deep saucepan and set over medium-low heat while you prepare the peppers.
  3. Scrape the outside of the peppers with edge of a sharp knife. Cut off the stem ends and cut out the seeds and pith, leaving a cavity big enough to stuff. Set aside.
  4. Set up a breading station: Lightly beat the eggs in a shallow bowl. Pour the matzo meal or breadcrumbs, salt, black pepper, chili powder, granulated garlic, and cumin into another shallow bowl and stir well to combine. Position the bowls near the stove and place the towel-lined baking sheet nearby.
  5. Stuff the peppers with the cream cheese mixture. Dip a stuffed pepper into the eggs and then into the matzo meal mixture, turning to coat; then dip again into the eggs and the matzo meal mixture. Place the coated stuffed pepper onto the parchment-lined baking sheet while you repeat the process with the rest.
  6. Raise the heat to high and allow the oil to warm to 365°F on a frying or candy thermometer. (If you don’t have a thermometer, carefully drop a single drop of water or a pinch of the matzo meal mixture into the oil; it will sizzle but not immediately burn.) With tongs, carefully place 3 peppers into the oil, making sure that when you let go, you turn the peppers away from you to avoid splattering the hot oil. Cook for 2 to 4 minutes, until brown on the bottom and sides (which will be covered with oil), and turn with tongs, allowing pepper to fully brown, until crispy. Remove from the oil with tongs and place on the paper towel-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining peppers. Serve immediately, with Avocado, Tomatillo, Pine Nut, and Parsley Pesto, if desired.

Kitchen Tips

  1. Like it hot, hot, hot? Try it with jalapeños. Or for those at your table who say jalapeño is not hot enough, try the 40-times-hotter Scotch bonnet pepper. No matter which hot pepper you use, wear a pair of gloves during the prep. Remove all the seeds and white ribs completely, and be careful not to touch your eyes or nose because the chemicals that make them so delightfully hot to eat can be painful if even a tiny bit from your fingertips gets into your eyes.
  2. You will have no leftovers, I can assure you, but just in case, these are great chopped up and added to a frittata.

 

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