Gentle Reader: While my maiden voyage into Stuffed Banana Peppers turned out well, I think it was due in part to the straight and gentle taper of the beauties I bought at the Farmer’s Market. I think that I would not have done as well with some of the wiry and twisted samples I’ve seen since.
I cut the peppers in half, cleaned out the seeds and stuffed them loosely with a mixture of ground beef (in western North Dakota that can only mean Angus), chopped onion, grated white cheddar cheese, KS&FGP (kosher salt and fresh ground pepper), and a pinch of garlic powder. I say stuff loosely because if the mixture is packed too tight, it does not cook completelty through before the outside is overdone and the stuffing tends to be hard as a rock. Baked at 350 for about 45 minutes. I also basted them with their own juices once while cooking and before serving. If you are keeping any as leftovers, be sure to save those precious juices.
I feasted on these and sent a couple next door to Joan Alice where they were a hit as well. The banana peppers were tangy and sweet–less acidic than red bell peppers and I would say have a brighter flavor. I’ll make this again and again. It was rich, satisfying and definately a comfort food. When I say something is “lick the dish good,” I do mean lick the dish and there are many a picture to prove it.
As a side note, I also use a similar mixture (minus the cheese) in my Stuffed Acorn Squash: Cut an acorn squash in half from stem to blossom end, scoop out and discard the strings and seeds, brush the squash with olive oil, sprinkle with KS&FGP. I like to bake these face down for about 15 minutes before stuffing and finishing off in the oven at 350 degrees.—usually an hour total time. Why not add the cheese? I guess because the squash is already so rich, the stuffing needs to be less rich as a counter-point to offset all the natural sugars.