Put a pepper in every pot

Peter Piper is famous for picking peppers, but his are all pickled.
Peppers are colorful, flavorful and offer an amazing range of temperatures. Some like them hot, some like them cold. But there’s sure to be a pepper out there with your name on it.
Decide how much heat you like and go from there. One of my favorite peppers is the red bell. It’s readily available and has a sweet mild taste that almost everyone can enjoy.
But there are many more. Please try some of these recipes and decide for yourself which you like best.

Stuffed Banana Peppers
1 pound hot ground Italian Sausage, roasted and chopped fine
1/2 cup Locatelli Romano cheese
1/2 cup bread crumbs
Salt and pepper to taste
1 large egg
Olive oil to saute
4 banana peppers (Hungarian hots or mild as preferred)
1 cup marinara sauce, heated for service
Wedge dry ricotta cheese

Mix sausage, cheese, bread crumbs, salt and pepper, and egg together in mixing bowl. Season to taste. Adjust mixture with additional cheese and bread crumbs if too dry or moist — medium moisture for stuffing desired. Make a radial slice around the top of the banana pepper leaving the top intact. Pull back top and remove seeds if so desired. Gently stuff mixture into peppers. Place olive oil in hot saute pan. Gently place peppers in the pan and fry each side until browned. Place marinara sauce in middle of plate. Arrange peppers on top of marinara and grate the dry ricotta cheese on top of the hot peppers.

Chile Rellenos
6 poblano chiles, fresh
3/4 lb queso blanco, montery jack or ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons flour
3 eggs, separated
2 cups Canola oil
Sauce Ingredients:
1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 cup chicken broth

Place the chiles directly on the stove top burner until mostly blackened on each side.
Put the cooked chiles in a plastic vegetable grocery bag for 30 minutes. Toss them around a bit so that the bag doesn’t get a hole in it from the heat. Peel the blackened skin from the chiles with your fingers. It’s not important to get every bit of skin off.
Slice each chili on one side from stem to bottom. Remove most of the seeds and membranes. (If you like them really hot, omit this step).
Cut the cheese into 1/2 wide slices and as long as the chiles. Stuff the cheese into each chile.
Roll in flour. Beat the egg whites until stiff and gently fold in the yolks. (If doubling the recipe make two batches of stiffened egg as the eggs will fall quickly).
Drop chiles into egg batter and fluff it around them. Slide them into1 1/2” deep hot oil, one or two at a time until golden brown and turn to brown the other side.
Drain on paper towels. Place in baking dish and bake in oven for 350 degree oven for 15 minutes while preparing sauce.
Sauce Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and let simmer until the rellenos are done. Serve on the side or cover the rellenos with it at serving.

Pepper Steak
1 lb top round or sirloin steak, cut 1 inch thick
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup beef broth
1/4 cup light soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced thin
1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced thin
1 can chopped tomato, drained or 2 medium tomatoes blanched,peeled and cut into wedges
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water

Slice the beef into three-inch strips 1/4 inch wide. Heat one tablespoon oil in skillet on medium high and add onion and garlic, stirring until onion is tender, around four or five minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon. Add remaining oil and saute the beef until browned. Remove with a slotted spoon. Add the broth, soy sauce, sugar and ground pepper to the skillet, stir well.
Return beef, onion and garlic to skillet and simmer for 30 minutes. Add celery, bell pepper and tomatoes. Cover and cook until celery and peppers are crisp/tender-around five minutes. Dissolve the cornstarch in cold water. Stir into the skillet stirring constantly until thickened around two minutes.
Serve with rice.

Bell Pepper Soup with Sour Cream and Dill

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 large bell peppers (2 pounds), stem, ribs and seeds removed and discarded; flesh diced*
1 medium Yukon Gold potato (8 ounces), diced
1 small onion, roughly chopped (to yield 1 cup)
1/2 teaspoon salt; more to taste
Generous pinch red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups simmering vegetable or chicken stock; more if needed
Sour cream for garnish
4 small sprigs fresh dill weed

Red bell peppers will give the brightest color, but yellow or orange ones are just as delicious. In a cast-iron Dutch oven or a heavy stockpot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the peppers, potato, onion, salt, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring, for one to two minutes. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about one hour. Remove from heat.
Transfer to a blender or food processor and puree in batches, or puree thoroughly with a hand immersion blender. Force the pulp through a coarse sieve or a food mill. Transfer to a saucepan and stir in the vegetable or chicken stock, adding a bit more if you like a thinner soup. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
Serve warm or cold, garnished with a dab of sour cream and a sprig of dill.