It’s amazing how one person’s spicy is another person’s mild, yet that’s the reaction two people had about the stuffed peppers I served. I was even surprised at the difference in how they had assessed the heat intensity between the different variations of stuffed banana peppers and how those opinions differed from person to person.
As I mentioned in my post earlier this week, Taste Testing is Not Child’s Play, I made three variations of stuffed banana peppers: one stuffed with hot Italian sausage and ricotta cheese; one with ground beef and rice; and one with ground beef and quinoa. My friend David’s Tio Bernardo from Buenos Aires found the ground beef varietals to be too spicy, preferring the “milder” peppers stuffed with the sausage. However my friend the gardener found that the stuffed banana peppers with sausage had, in his words, a “kick” to them. His preference, like Tio Bernardo, was for the peppers stuffed with the sausage. Unlike Tio, he liked them because of the kick where Tio preferred them because he found them to be mild compared to the ones stuffed with ground beef. Frankly, the gardener’s assessment was what I had anticipated would be the universal reaction. Yet it wasn’t.
When I relayed the story of Tio Bernardo’s reaction to the stuffed peppers, my friend reminded me that he had planted sweet and hot banana peppers. So it was possible that the milder stuffing was laid within the hotter pepper.
Hmm, so it’s possible to have six options for the banana stuffed peppers when you factor in that there are two types of peppers to work with. For now, I will leave you with the two variations for the ground beef stuffing.
Banana Peppers Stuffed with Ground Beef Two Ways
10-15 banana peppers (depending on size)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup carrots, diced
¾ cup red pepper, diced
½ teaspoon garam masala
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ tablespoon salt
½ teaspoon black ground pepper
1 cup cooked rice or cooked quinoa (cook according to package instructions)
½ tablespoon thyme, minced finely
¾ cup panko bread crumbs
- Adjust oven rack to the center. Preheat oven to 400° F.
- Deseed the banana peppers removing the tops. Cut a slit along the length of each pepper and set aside.
- Place a large sauté pan on the stove over medium-high heat. Once it gets hot enough, about five minutes, add the olive oil.
- Heat the olive oil for three minutes and then add the ground beef. Stir occasionally, breaking the clumps of meat, five minutes.
- Remove from stove and pour mixture into a fine mesh strainer to drain the fat. Return meat to pan.
- Add the onions and garlic. Stir occasionally for five minutes.
- Add carrots and red pepper. Cook for an additional three minutes.
- Add cayenne pepper, garam masala, salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
- Add rice or quinoa to the ground beef mixture and stir till combined.
- In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs with the herbs.
- Place the peppers in 15 x 10 x 2 baking dish. Fill each pepper with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the ground beef filling (depending on the pepper size).
- Sprinkle each stuffed pepper with bread crumb mixture. Bake in oven for 20 minutes.