Monday, September 23, 2013

Mini Sweet Peppers Stuffed with Chicken, Goat Cheese and Sun-dried Tomatoes

Sometimes you want or rather crave a big plate of baked, cheesy, saucy goodness that generally comes from a baked pasta dish, but you don't want the overload of carbs that go with it. My Mini Sweet Peppers Stuffed with Chicken, Goat Cheese and Sun-dried Tomatoes tackles that craving head-on without weighing you down with carbs. The mini peppers are sweet, the chicken filling is creamy and gets a nice zip from the green onions and a tang from the goat cheese. They are baked in a cheese sauce that incorporates just a bit of the filling and then sprinkled with gruyere cheese. It satisfies that craving and doesn't leave you feeling ... stuffed.

Serves 4

For the stuffing:
1 pound of chicken breast (raw), cut in small chunks or you may use ground chicken
6 green onions, white and green parts, roughly chopped
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
2 ounces goat cheese
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
10-15 mini sweet peppers

Remove tops of each pepper, remove seeds and veins. Set aside. Place the chicken breast chunks in the bowl of a food processor. (If using a mini food processor work in batches). Process until it is almost a smooth paste. Set aside.
Do the same for the green onions and sun-dried tomatoes. Add to chicken.
Add the remaining ingredients except for the peppers, to the chicken. Mix well so that all the ingredients are well incorporated. Set aside 1 cup of the filling. Using a piping tip and bag or a heavy duty zip bag, with a corner snipped off, generously fill each pepper. Lay the peppers, in rows, in an 8x8 greased baking dish.

For the sauce and assembly:
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup milk (avoid using skim milk)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 cup of reserved chicken filling
2 ounces room temperature goat cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
Pepper to taste
1/2 cup gruyere cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a sauce over medium heat melt the butter and then add the flour. Stirring well to incorporate, cook for 2-3 minutes, lower heat to avoid scorching. Slowly whisk in milk, until the roux - flour and butter mixture - is incorporated. As milk starts to thicken, add in all the remaining ingredients except the gruyere cheese.
Once sauce is thickened, pour over the stuffed mini peppers. Sprinkle the top with the gruyere cheese. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool 10 minutes to allow the sauce and cheese to firm up just a bit.

Serve with egg noodles, steamed green beans or a light romaine and arugula salad and a glass of white wine. ENJOY!

Recipe tips:
This tip came from a reader.  If you like a crunchy crust run it under the broiler for a minute or two. Do be sure to keep any eye on it to avoid burning.

4 comments:

  1. I don't usually like sweet peppers, but this recipe looks amazing! Will definitely have to try.

    This may be a dumb question, but should the chicken be raw, or cooked already when you put it in the food processor?

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    Replies
    1. I think you will like this recipe, it really is super delicious!
      The chicken should be raw to make the "paste" that will be piped into the peppers.
      Thank you for asking this question, I am going edit my recipe to reflect that it should be raw to avoid any confusion.
      Thank you for stopping by and commenting!

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    2. Thank you for clarifying. Just tried it! I absolutely adore it, the sharpness of the goat cheese pairs perfectly with the peppers.

      Some (hopefully) helpful notes: I crammed those peppers full of the stuffing, and the filling turned out a tiny bit dry. I think it might have been because I packed it in so hard. Loose packing is probably best (like you have in your pictures). Also, if you can buy ground chicken at your grocery store, it'll probably save some prep time rather than having to grind up the chicken yourself.

      As a last note, if you're a fan of crispy crusts, turning the oven on "broil" for the last minute or two gives the gruyere a lovely brown crunch.

      Thanks again for posting the recipe, it's definitely in my regular rotation now. You've officially converted a pepper-hater.

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    3. Hi! I am so happy that you enjoyed it so much and that you are now a converted pepper lover :-D!
      Packing the stuffing in too tightly will produce a dryer filling. This is why I recommend piping it in. That seems to make the filling more "fluffy" as it goes into the pepper. Also as the peppers cook, some of the juices seep into the stuffing and add extra moisture. If it's packed too tight you lose that extra moisture and flavor. Good tip on using ground chicken and also the crisping of the crust. I will actually be incorporating your suggestions into the recipe.
      Thank you once again for commenting and stopping by!

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