Sweet Italian Pepper Poppers
Food and Drink

Excerpted from GUY FIERI FAMILY FOOD by Guy Fieri. Copyright © 2016 by Guy Fieri. Reprinted by permission of William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Sweet Italian Pepper Poppers

Time: 45 minutes Makes 4 to 6 servings


1 pound mini tricolor sweet Italian peppers*

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup minced sweet onion

1 teaspoon thyme leaves

2 teaspoons kosher salt

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups reserved pulled slow-roasted pork shoulder

1 cup reserved basmati rice pilaf

1 cup whipped cream cheese

1 cup Provolone cheese, grated

1 large egg, beaten

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes

5–6 turns freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

1 lime, cut into wedges

PREHEAT the oven to 375°F. 

TO PREPARE the peppers for stuffing, use a paring knife to cut out a lengthwise strip (about one-quarter of the pepper) to create a long opening. Repeat with the remaining peppers, reserving the pepper strips. Carefully remove the membranes and seeds from inside of each pepper, then arrange the peppers cut side up on a rimmed baking sheet. Dice the pepper strips and set aside.   

TO PREPARE the filling, in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil until hot. Add the diced peppers, onion, thyme, and 1 teaspoon of the salt and sauté until the onion is translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Set aside to cool. 

IN A LARGE BOWL, combine the pork, rice, cream cheese, cooled onion mixture, Provolone, egg, parsley, chili flakes, remaining salt, and the black pepper. Mix well.   

USING a teaspoon, stuff each pepper with a generous amount of the filling so it domes on top of the pepper. Sprinkle with the panko.   

BAKE until the panko and peppers are browned around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes. (Or, to make ahead, wrap the baking sheet with the unbaked stuffed peppers in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 1 day; bake for 15 to 17 minutes straight from the refrigerator.) Serve with lime wedges.

 *It’s easier than ever to find bags of mini sweet peppers in grocery stores these days, but if they’ve gone missing in your neighborhood, you can use four bell peppers in their place. Cut off the top quarter of each one instead of cutting a strip out and increase the baking time to 20 to 25 minutes.