Maui Girl Cooks

“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.” Luciano Pavarotti

Chiles Stuffed with Crusty Beans

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Growing up, I remember having stuffed green peppers for dinner fairly frequently.  Stuffed peppers weren’t one of my favorite dinners, because I wasn’t a fan of the stuffing {or meatloaf either}, which was probably just ground beef with onions and seasonings.  Mashed potatoes were always one of the accompaniments, and they were always a hit with me.  Who doesn’t love mashed potatoes?  I remember making a deal with my mom on Stuffed Pepper Nights. . . I gave her my stuffing, and she gave me her green pepper case.  Score!  I love peppers, and green peppers are my favorite, even though red, yellow and orange are supposed to be healthier.  Green peppers rank high on my list of favorite vegetables, in cooked or raw form.  They have a wonderful green flavor that I love.  On a hot day, a refreshing snack is half a cold green pepper sprinkled with sea salt; when you bite into the pepper, cool spray mists your face and it tastes oh so delicious . . .and then you eat the other half!

I have been making my own version of stuffed peppers, using chiles from the Upcountry Farmers Market.  I’m not sure of the variety, but they are a sweet pepper, so no worries if you aren’t into a good mouth burn, which I happen to love.  You can use any chiles you like; poblanos are a particular favorite of ours.  The stuffing here is not meat, but what we call Crusty Beans.

I would describe the texture of kidney and black beans to be moist and creamy.  Once they are cooked up as Crusty Beans, while still moist on the inside, the outside has a bit of crust, from cumin and chili powder; they are delicious.  Even though I prefer cooking dry beans, canned beans make this delicious dish quick and easy to make.  Crusty Beans are great for any meal, and are a fabulous accompaniment for eggs and toast, if you aren’t stuffing them into peppers.

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Crusty Beans

2 15-oz. can kidney or black beans, rinsed and drained {or about 2 cups cooked and drained beans}

1/2 medium onion, diced about 3/4 cup

5 cloves garlic, minced

Olive oil 4 T

Butter 2 T

Ground cumin 6 t

Chili powder 3 t {click here if you’d like to try my homemade chili powder}

Red pepper flakes 1/2 T or 1 minced jalapeño

Salt

Pepper

Over medium-medium high heat sauté beans, cumin and chili powder for about 5”.  Add onions, garlic & jalapeños.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5” more.  The onions will still have a bit of crunch to them, because they were added after the beans were sautéed.

Makes 4-6 generous servings.

Now let’s talk about the peppers.  Select a pepper that you like, that has room for some stuffing.  You will need a lot of Crusty Beans if you decide to stuff them into bell peppers, but poblanos or the sweet peppers shown here take about 2-3 tbsp of filling.

Raw Sweet Peppers

Chiles Stuffed with Crusty Beans

8 chiles {poblanos, sweet long peppers, or other variety}

Sea salt

Crusty Beans

Soft goat cheese {or another good melting cheese that you like}

Minced jalapeño for garnish, if desired

Preheat broiler to high.  Adjust oven rack to second position from the top.  Wash and dry the peppers, and place them on a foil lined baking sheet.  There is no need for oil or seasoning for this step.  Broil peppers, turning when each side gets charred.  You can position peppers right next to each other to prevent them from rolling over, if necessary, so all sides can get charred.  When all sides are charred, remove baking sheet from the oven and fold the peppers up in the foil for about 15”.  The peppers will steam and the skins will loosen up for easy removal.  The peppers will be delicious, but the skins are papery and not pleasant to eat, so you will want to remove them when they are cool.

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Once the skins have been removed, cut peppers on one side from the pointy end to the stem end {leave the stem end on}; kitchen shears are great for this.  They can be a little slippery, but just take your time.  Remove the seeds and membrane from the peppers; if you carefully snip the stringy white membrane close to the stem, it is more easily removed.  A few seeds won’t hurt, but try to get most of them.  I have heard conflicting opinions on whether the seeds should be removed by running the peppers under water, which certainly makes quick work of this task.  For years, I avoided rinsing the peppers, but the last couple of times I’ve made them, I let the water do most of the work, and the peppers tasted great.

Sprinkle the insides of the peppers with a little sea salt.  Now it’s time to stuff your peppers! The roasted peppers are fragile, so be careful not to tear them while stuffing.  I’m ok with overstuffed peppers; it’s fine if you can’t close the peppers.  Spray an 8×8 baking dish with pan spray. Nestle the unstuffed peppers together in the dish, stuff them and then cover the dish with foil.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and sprinkle liberally with goat cheese.  Bake for another 10 minutes so the cheese is soft.  Shower with minced jalapeño and eat hot.

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Click here for some info on the health benefits of peppers!

Bon appetit!

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