Monday, January 26, 2015

Cheesy Anaheim Peppers Wrapped in Prosciutto

Have I mentioned how much I love the Anaheim pepper?  It is a long, beautifully green chilli pepper with a mild and slight fruity flavor.  They are a fantastic substitute for the jalapeno if you do not like spicy things. The Anaheim tastes amazing in just about anything from salads to chili.  However, my favorite way to prepare them is to stuff them with a mix of cream cheese and shredded cheese, then wrap them in prosciutto and grill them.  The cheese becomes ooey-gooey and the prosciutto crisps up fantastically and flavors the pepper.  The actual pepper softens up a bit and becomes slightly sweet and delicious.  This is a perfect appetizer to serve at parties because they appeal to everyone, even if they are not a spice fan.  The Anaheim pepper can be rather large, so they are little easier to work with than a smaller pepper.  And because they are larger, you do not have to make as many; one per person is usually plenty. The best part is they are low-carb, super easy to make and completely versatile.  You can swap bacon for the prosciutto, goat cheese for the cream cheese and you can bake them in an oven if you don't have access to a grill.  However you make them, just make them.  They are unbelievably delicious, easy and a real crowd-pleaser.  They also go perfect with beer and football...

This is what you need:

1 lb Anaheim Peppers ( I used 6 large peppers for this recipe)
1 block of room temperature Cream Cheese (you can use reduced fat)
3/4 cup of Shredded Cheese (whatever you have)
1 package or 12 slices of Prosciutto
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
Toothpicks if needed

This is what you do:
Mix the cream cheese, shredded cheese and all the spices together to make the filling. Slice the top of the pepper off at about 1-2 inches from the top and remove the seeds.  Stuff each pepper and place the tops back on.  Roll the pepper with 1 or 2 pieces of prosciutto to secure the top and cover the pepper.  If the top of the pepper seems loose, secure with a toothpick or two.  Grill on medium heat for 6-7 minutes per side or roast at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes.
Prep Time- 10 minutes
Cook Time- 10-15 minutes
Serves- 1 pepper per person

First thing to do is get the cheese filling ready.  It is much easier to do if the cream cheese is room temperature, so if you know you are making these ahead of time, take it out of the refrigerator a couple hours before.  Add the cream cheese, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp of pepper, 1/2 tsp of garlic powder and if you want to add a little spice, 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes to a bowl and mix.

I add the red pepper flakes for some heat because while the Anaheim is delicious, it is not a spicy pepper.  
Once the cream cheese and spices is mixed, add the shredded cheese and mix all together.  Use whatever you prefer.  My favorite for this recipe is cheddar because it adds a nice flavor contrast, but use what you like!
I only had mozzarella today, and it turned out wonderful.

Once the filling is good to go, get your peppers ready.  Wash and rinse and then slice the top off, at about 1-2 inches down.  The reason for this is because the seeds are at the top of the pepper so it makes is easier to remove them.  It also creates a long pepper tube that is just waiting to be filled with cheese. 
 Save the tops, so we can seal the pepper to keep the cheese from escaping.
 All the seeds right there.  There may be seeds in the top of the pepper, so remove those too.
 Grab and pull. 
The perfect vessel for cheese.

Next, just take a butter knife or spoon and fill them with the cheese mixture as evenly as possible.

Then put the lid on and start to roll them in prosciutto.  Make sure the prosciutto is sealing the lid to the rest of the pepper.
 I use 2 slices of prosciutto for obvious reasons.  (Deliciousness).
Prosciutto and peppers sealed and secured.  If the tops of your peppers feel lose, secure with toothpicks.  
Now they are ready for the grill or oven.  If grilling, cook for about 6-7 minutes per side.  If baking, cook on a baking sheet at 400 for 10-15 minutes.  Keep an eye on them and when the prosciutto is crisped up and the pepper is looking a bit charred and roasted, they are ready.
 Can we take a moment to admire these?

After they are done cooking, let them sit for a couple minutes before eating them.  The cheese will be very hot and oozy.  And amazing, obviously.
 Don't forget to remove the toothpicks before serving.
 I promise you, these will not last long on any table.

I sure hope you give these a shot.  My husband and I are obsessed with them and will eat the whole plate between us, often fighting over the last one.  Let me know what you think!