Saturday, December 14, 2013

Rock You All Night Long Bacon Wrapped Chili Rellenos

Now that I've stuffed everything but my bra this past week, I promise you that this will be the last "stuffed" vegetable recipe for at least a couple of weeks. And you know what? Lucky, lucky you that I've saved the best for last. I think it's pretty obvious why it's the best, isn't it? I mean, wouldn't you eat your dog's chew toy if it was wrapped in bacon?

Before you automatically label this as an unhealthy recipe, consider that the bacon used is center cut bacon, which is comparable to turkey bacon in fat grams and calories. It is also less processed. The base for the filling is cannellini beans and a little reduced-fat cream cheese and 2% sharp cheddar cheese. Aren't we now talking about something that might be considered semi-healthy, especially if eaten in moderation? Am I trying too hard to sell this recipe? If it appears that way, I apologize, because one bite of these bacon-wrapped stuffed Anaheim peppers is going to knock your socks off. Now give your dog back his chew toy.

Sweet and Spicy Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Anaheim Peppers

6-8 Anaheim chili peppers
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes in oil (including the oil)
1/2 onions, coarsely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
kosher salt and pepper
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 (15.5 ounce) can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
2 TBSP plus 1 tsp chili powder, divided
3 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese
1/2 cup 2% shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 green onions, green parts only, diced
6-8 slices of center cut bacon
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Heat a large pot of water to boiling. Add chili peppers and boil for 4 minutes. Remove peppers from pot and allow to cool.

In a large skillet add the sundried tomatoes in oil, onion and garlic. Season with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes and saute over medium heat for 4-5 minutes or just until onions start to soften. Remove from heat and let cool.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spray rack (I used my cooling rack) with cooking spray and place on baking sheet.

In bowl of food processor fitted with metal blade pour the sundried tomato and onion mixture. Pulse until finely minced. Add the cannellini beans, salt, pepper, cumin, oregano and 1 tsp of the chili powder. Process until smooth. Add the cream cheese and process until smooth. Remove mixture to a small bowl and stir in the shredded cheddar cheese and diced green onions. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if needed. Set aside.

Take each chili pepper and carefully make a slit from the top of the pepper almost to the bottom point. Remove seeds. (I just rinsed the peppers under running water and they came out nicely.)

Place the brown sugar, the remaining chili powder and the cayenne pepper in a pie pan or other shallow dish. Whisk well to combine. Set aside.

Take each prepared chili and stuff with 2-3 tablespoons of bean and cheese mixture, depending on the size of the pepper. Wrap the pepper with the bacon, starting the bacon on the side opposite the stuffing slit and ending on the same side. Roll the bacon wrapped pepper in the brown sugar mixture and place the pepper, stuffing side up, on the prepared baking rack. The ends of the bacon should now be on the bottom of the pepper, thus eliminating the need to use toothpicks to hold the bacon to the pepper.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until bacon is crispy and pepper is tender.

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