Fall is here in the ‘Burgh which means we have an abundance of banana peppers! Today I’m taking the classic stuffed banana pepper and putting an Italian spin on the meat filling and using my Spicy Banana Pepper sauce as well! Perfect for dinner now and dinner later (freezer-friendly!)
Oh Fall how I love you. The cooler weather, hoodies, farmer’s markets with Fall fruits and vegetables and comfort food. For me I’m all about “stocking up” for the winter food-wise. I’ll make huge batches of soups or chili for both dinner and the freezer. Pans of lasagna or stuffed shells make great freezer meals and then stuffed “stuff”. Growing up this time of year, early October was our “busy” season in the house. Mom was a canning madwoman between apple sauce, apple chutney, 87 million stuffed cabbages and pretty much everything else she could stuff. She’d regular stuffed green peppers (which I HATED – still do actually) for the family and my one brother she’d make stuffed banana peppers.
First, I cannot stand green peppers. They taste complete different from red/orange/yellow peppers.. they are more bitter. And of course Mom never grew the ‘fancy’ peppers. LOL And for the banana peppers my brother would get those from a neighbor and only he would eat them. I never had them as I was a wuss and thought they were hot. Yeah I know, idiot. LOL
It wasn’t until years later did I try one at a restaurant and was like “Whoa! These are awesome!”. Now it did take me a few tries to get the heat level right as I will tell you this, the first time I made them they were so hot that I actually had a blister form in the roof of my mouth!
That is not these. *smile*
No these stuffed banana peppers will not make you spew fire (from either end lol) but they do have some heat, naturally from the pepper itself as well as some of the filling ingredients. I’ll be honest, I actually like these peppers better than my traditional hot sausage stuffed peppers. These have a more well-rounded flavor profile. Both recipes freeze beautifully but I would go with these for say a football party or even holiday party. These tend to appeal to more people.
Plus let’s get real here for a minute.
That Spicy Banana Pepper Sauce is AMAZING! I am over the moon in love with the sauce!
When I made these our accountant was at the house helping Mr. Fantabulous with some of the remodeling. Does your account help you? Yeah, it’s not something that is typical of most people’s accountants but we’re fortunate as he’s also a really good friend AND he loves my cooking. The man is a bigger chocolate freak than anyone I’ve ever met. I mean he once ate an entire triple layer pan of brownies filled with chocolate chunks, ganache, chocolate buttercream and each brownie stack was dipped in melted chocolate! He ate the WHOLE THING! I mean I love chocolate but that was even too much for me!
Anyway that day I whipped up a batch of these and OMG he went nuts over these. Like the tray you see below, he ate almost the entire tray (and no, he’s not a bigger guy either!). The few leftovers I had he took them home. And every time after that when we’d see him I’d give him a tray of frozen peppers (plus something chocolate extreme).
So next time you’re at the farmer’s market or your neighbor asks if you want some banana peppers, get them and whip up a couple batches of this – one for dinner and one for the freezer! These definitely will not disappoint!
- 10-14 banana peppers
- 1lb ground pork
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef (80/20)
- 1/2 pound loose Italian hot sausage
- 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
- 1 1/2 Tbl garlic, minced (~5 cloves)
- 1 Tbl oregano
- 1/2 Tbl parsley
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1/2 cup tomato puree
- 1 1/4 cups grated mozzarella cheese, divided
- 3 slices bread, torn into pieces
- 1/4 cup milk
- 2 Xl eggs
- 3 – 3 1/2 cups Spicy Banana Pepper Sauce (or favorite marinara)
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Cut the tops off the peppers and set them aside (throwing away the stem itself reserving the tops for another use). Wearing rubber/plastic gloves, take a knife and chop off the top of the peppers and run the knife on the top about 1/4” from the tip to the top of the pepper. You do not want to split them in half; you want the pepper whole. Remove the rib and seeds; discard.
- In a small bowl add the milk and bread. Press the bread down to ensure all of the pieces are wet. Let sit for 2 minutes.
- In a large bowl combine the pork, beef, sausage, onion, garlic, oregano, parsley, pepper, salt, red pepper flakes, tomato paste, tomato puree, eggs, 3/4 cup of cheese and milk/bread mixture. Gently mix just to combine. The mixture should be wet but hold a shape
- Using a large piping bag or plastic bag filled with the meat mixture (with large hole cut in the corner) pipe the mixture into the peppers. Fill the peppers up completely taking the meat to the tips of the peppers.
- In a large baking dish ladle half of the Spicy Banana Pepper Sauce on the bottom. Lay each pepper down into the sauce. If needed make another row of peppers with sauce in between the layers or use a second tray. Spoon the rest of the sauce over top of the peppers.
- Cover with foil tightly and bake for 40-50 minutes or until the pepper is tender and the temperature reads 165F inside the meat.
- Remove the foil, add the rest of the cheese over top of the peppers and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes or until melted.
- Store any leftovers in the fridge.
I cook mine then freeze them. Some folks freeze raw. I don’t care for the way the pepper turns when it’s frozen raw. It gets an almost slimy texture.
To freeze, once baked and cooled put some Spicy Banana Pepper Sauce in a freezer pan, add the cooked (cooled) peppers, top with some more sauce and double wrap in plastic then foil. Freeze for up to 3 months.
To cook later on, unwrap to remove the plastic wrap, re-cover with foil and stick the cold pan in the oven. Set the oven to 350F and bake for 30 minutes or until the center is hot.