Baby Sweet Peppers with Quinoa and Chorizo

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If you follow us on Instagram (me; danny) you may have noticed that we recently took a road trip through the South. We spent a night in Savannah before hanging out in Charleston for the rest of the weekend. I’ll have photos up soon, hopefully with a recipe for grits. For now, I have these baby sweet peppers we shared just before vacation.

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I couldn’t resist these small sweet peppers at the market. Roasting them softens their edges and concentrates their sweetness. Stuffing them with quinoa, chorizo, and cotija cheese just seemed like the right thing to do. This makes for a great little appetizer or a light dinner for happy hour at home. Or loco hour, as a sign in South Carolina called it.

I also roasted a couple of poblanos, which used up the rest of the quinoa mixture. The poblanos were also delicious but packed a lot more heat than those little orange and yellow ones. So much heat that I later regretted not wearing gloves while handling them. Between my index finger and thumb, it burned like hell. I tried dipping my hand in milk. Vodka. Absinthe. Half and half. Vaseline. None of it quite worked. Only sleep, which was hard to come by, eventually helped. So, wear gloves when preparing those peppers! Poblanos are not as sleepy as they seem.

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baby sweet peppers with quinoa and chorizo

You can use any sweet pepper you like, but I liked these for their smaller size and portability. Adding two poblanos into the mix added heat and used up the rest of the quinoa and chorizo mixture. 

10 small sweet peppers (about 4 inches long), halved lengthwise and seeds removed
2 poblano peppers, also halved lengthwise and seeds removed but using them is optional
extra-virgin olive oil
salt
pepper
2 links fresh chorizo, casing removed
1 shallot, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup cooked quinoa
a handful of cilantro, roughly chopped
1/4 cup crumbled cotija cheese, plus more for the end
juice of 1 lime

Heat oven to 375°F. Arrange peppers on a large baking sheet. Drizzle peppers with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake until softened and charred at the edges, 25 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a skillet to medium- high heat. Saute the crumbled chorizo until cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chorizo to a bowl or plate. Add the shallot to the skillet and reduce the heat to medium low. Saute for 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute. Stir the chorizo back in and take it off the heat.

In a medium bowl, toss together the quinoa, chorizo mixture, cilantro, cotija cheese, and fresh lime juice. Taste and season with salt if necessary.

Use a small spoon to stuff the peppers with the quinoa mixture. Sprinkle with extra cheese. Pop the baking sheet back into the oven under the broiler setting for a minute or so, just long enough to slightly melt or brown the cheese. Serve.

Serves 2 to 3.

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