I have to admit, I was very, very surprised the first time I served this to my daughter. I figured she would look at me, thinking I had gone mad for serving her a green pepper, with what looked like cheese on top. But, she just cut a bite, put it in her mouth and said she loved it. Mind you, she was about 7 at the time.
Ever since, she asks me to prepare these stuffed peppers for her. Honestly, as a kid, I hated them, but, as tastes change and your palate becomes more forgiving and sophisticated, I learned to love them. These truly remind me of home, not any country in particular, just home. Throughout the years, we started to adapt our cooking from just Colombian flavors to a more Caribbean style, incorporating ingredients that we had on our lovely island of Nassau, and also some suggestions from a certain “auntie” who is Jamaican. My Auntie Sharon introduced to us so many Jamaican products, since we were new to these sorts of things. Ackee, bread fruit, how to eat Guava ( in the dark, if you’re asking, so you won’t see the worms! ) and also, Pickapeppa Sauce.
Pickapeppa Sauce is akin to Britain’s HP sauce, but with a bite, more tangy and less sweet. We started incorporating this in many, many recipes. And this is a staple in my house that I bring back from Miami whenever I can. I can assure you, that adding this to your beef stew, hamburgers, even dips will give it an extra-special kick! And apparently it’s really awesome with cream cheese.
So, why not try these stuffed peppers today?
Here’s what you’re going to need:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1/2 leek, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
50 g cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp cumin powder
Salt and Black Pepper, to taste
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp jalapeno powder (or chili powder if you can’t find)
400g Ground Beef or Pork (or a mix of the two)
2 tbsp raisins
2 tbsp Pickapeppa Sauce ( HP Sauce if you can’t find Pickapeppa)
3-4 long green peppers, sliced open, seeds and ribs removed
1/2 cup cheddar cheese (more to taste)
Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). In a large sautee pan, heat the olive oil over medium low heat. Add the onion, carrots, leeks, garlic and cherry tomatoes. Sautee for about 10-15 minutes, until softened. Add the tomato paste, cumin, salt and black pepper, garlic powder, and jalapeno powder. Sautee for another 8 minutes, until nicely softened.
Raise the heat to medium high, and add the ground beef or pork and cook until browned. Add the raisins and the Pickapeppa Sauce and cook, stirring until mixed. Take off heat.
Carefully stuff the peppers until full but not overflowing.
Place in a baking dish, and top with grated cheese. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes*, until the peppers are softened and the cheese has melted and is bubbling.
* If you prefer the peppers to be softer, you can parboil them for 2 minutes.
From my kitchen to yours,