I first encountered cubanelle peppers at the farmers market in Bethany Beach, DE. I asked the farmer what to do with them and he was quick to reply – he told me to mix sausage with cream cheese, stuff them and bake them. I have since done this countless times but I wanted to re-create this simple execution in a new way, so here you have my Taco Spiced Stuffed Peppers. I used ground turkey because that’s what I had but you could go for beef or any other ground meat of your choice.
SHOPPING LIST: Cubanelle peppers, 1 lb. ground turkey meat, Siete spicy blanco cashew queso, whipped cream cheese, taco seasoning pack, white onion, chopped garlic, shredded Mexican cheese, olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika
First step is to dice half of your white onion. In a saucepan, add 1 tB. of olive oil and bring to medium heat. Add all of the diced onion and 1 tB. of chopped garlic and begin to sauté. Add 1/2 of your package of taco seasoning – I used an old school Old El Paso packet, Hot + Spicy edition – and then continue to sauté until your onions are good and fried. I’ve learned from Indian cooking that toasting your spices really brings out the flavors which is why I like to fry the onions WITH the taco seasoning.
In a mixing bowl, combine your fried onions and garlic with 1 lb. of ground turkey meat, 3 tB. of Siete Spicy Blanco Cashew Queso, 2 tB. of whipped cream cheese, and the remainder of your taco seasoning packet and mix well. You can TOTALLY substitute the siete brand queso for any cheese sauce – I am sure this would be bonkers delicious with Tostitos Salsa Con Queso instead or you could just use ALL cream cheese if that’s all you can get your hands on. Reserve your turkey filling and pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.
Take 5-6 cubanelle peppers and give them each a gentle slice down the middle – enough so you can get your hands inside the peppers and remove the seeds and the stems of each pepper. Then cover each pepper in olive oil, salt and pepper because it is VERY important to season you’re pepper. The vessel is just as important as the filling. Once your peppers are prepped, stuff each pepper with about 1/3 cup of the filling and pack them into a casserole dish. To finish, top the opening of each pepper with a generous topping of the Mexican shredded cheese blend and a sprinkle of paprika. After 45 minutes in the oven, your stuffed peppers will hopefully look like this:
Because your casserole dish will have a lot of rendered fat and juices, I chose to serve mine outside of the casserole dish but you could easily just serve your peppers right in the baking dish to make life easier. I gotta tell you something else though – I know this makes no logical sense but I ended up dipping mine in the leftover blue cheese dressing from the Grilled Buffalo Shrimp and it was NOT NOT DELICIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So if you’re following along and have that on-hand I would definitely recommend re-purposely that in this strange yet satisfying way.