Bright mini bell peppers are stuffed with perfectly seasoned ground beef and topped with shredded cheese. Broiled until the cheese is browned and bubbly, these little appetizers are a couple of bites of pure snack deliciousness.
Expecting a crowd? Picadillo Stuffed Mini Peppers are great for some game day bites and snacking.
Who doesn't like tacos?
When my son was 4 years old, he saw the uncooked turkey sitting in the kitchen sink as I was starting to cook Thanksgiving dinner. He gave that turkey a long hard stare. After what I thought was a delicate discussion about where food comes from, he made a decision. No turkey for him. That came to mean no meat for any meal.
But as he got a little older, he wavered. There were some meals that he couldn't turn down. There was the chicken from a local Italian restaurant. Turkey sandwiches from a chain restaurant were always welcome.
However, his favorite nonvegetarian meal, hands down, was ground beef tacos. There is a family-owned restaurant in our neighborhood that he just couldn't refuse. It has a lengthy menu of delicious Mexican specialties. No matter, it was and is the ground beef tacos he comes for.
We eat a lot of tacos, which isn't unusual. Tacos have become a weeknight staple, Taco Tuesday anyone? They are easily prepared, and with a number of fillings, everyone can make their own custom taco.
When I knew that my son loved ground beef tacos, I tried to replicate the picadillo that our favorite restaurant served. I didn't want the little packet of spices. I wanted something more authentic. Through a little trial and error, this is the recipe that I created.
It's not just ground beef
Picadillo is a regional recipe, reflecting its community. There are several recipes from different Latin American countries. Considered a hash, it can include ingredients such as olives, peas, or raisins. The recipe that I serve to my family is mimicking a Mexican version. The ingredients I use are potatoes, tomatoes, onions, and garlic.
The recipe is not complicated. Saute the potatoes until brown and the interiors are soft. Then add the aromatic onions and garlic.
While browning the potatoes, I shred tomatoes on a box grater to remove the peel. This is so much easier than blanching and shocking the tomatoes and then peeling them. I remove the seeds prior to shredding. It's just my personal preference.
The hard part for me in creating this recipe was to get the spices right. As I mentioned, I didn't want the packet of spices available from the grocery store. I wanted to be authentic as possible. I use chili powder, cumin, coriander, and oregano. Plus a sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes for a little kick.
Shiny mini bell peppers. They catch my eye in the grocery store, a bag of many colors. Their size is what gives me ideas. The perfect sized vessel for a filling. You can pick up a mini stuffed pepper easily and in two or three bites, it's gone.
After cutting the pepper in half laterally, I remove the seeds and any pieces of membrane. I usually keep the stem on for two reasons. It looks good with the green stem still intact, like a fresh pop of color. But the stem also acts as a stopper. It keeps the filling from spilling out of the end.
Sprinkle some shredded cheese on top. Some choices are chihuahua, cotija, or queso blanco. Place the stuffed peppers in a 400-degree oven for 15-17 minutes. Brown the cheese and roast the peppers.
Set up a board
These Picadillo Stuffed Mini Peppers have definite game day vibes. Set up a board of the roasted peppers, arranging all the bright colors together.
I like to add guacamole, pico de gallo, and sour cream. But don't stop there. Bring in the chips. An assortment of salsas. A tub of cold beer. And your friends and family. These little bites need a crowd to enjoy them.
Other game day appetizers - https://tenpoundcakecompany.com/mini-meatball-sliders
Picadillo Stuffed Mini Peppers
- 1 skillet
- 1 sheet pan
- 1 box grater
- 2 cups red potatoes, peeled and diced (10 ounces/ 286 grams)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¾ cup onion, diced (3.3 ounces/94 grams)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced (1 large tablespoon)
- 1½ pounds ground beef (690 grams)
- 3 tomatoes (15 ounces/431 grams)
- 1 tablespoon chile powder
- 1½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ½ cup chicken stock
- 30 mini bell peppers
- 8 ounces chihuahua or cotija cheese, shredded (227grams)
- Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add 2 cups of peeled and diced red potatoes. Season with ½ teaspoon of kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper.
- With a metal spatula, keep moving the potatoes in the pan so that they do not stick. After 10-12 minutes, the surface of the potatoes should be getting brown.
- Add the diced onion to the pan. Stir to combine with the potatoes. Continue cooking until the onion starts to soften.
- Add the minced garlic to the pan. Stir to combine with the potatoes and onions.
- While the potatoes and onions have been cooking, shred the tomatoes with a box grater. First, remove the seeds from tomatoes that have been cut into quarters. Press the cut side of the tomato against the grater with the palm of your hand and shred. The tomato skin will be the only part that remains in your hand. Continue with all the tomato quarters.
- After the garlic has been in the pan and is fragrant, about 2 minutes, add the ground beef to the pan.
- Continue to brown the beef while stirring to combine with the potatoes and onions. Drain any fat that renders while you have cooked the ground beef.
- Once the beef is nicely brown, add the shredded tomatoes to the pan. Stir to combine
- Add the spices, chile powder, cumin, coriander, salt, black pepper, red pepper chile flakes, and oregano. Continue to stir so that the spices are distributed throughout the meat.
- After about 4 minutes, add ½ cup of chicken stock. Continue to cook on low heat until the sauce in the meat has reduced somewhat. it takes about 4-5 minutes.
Stuffed Mini Peppers
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut the peppers in half, laterally. You should have two halves, like boats. Scrap out the seeds and remove any large membranes.
- Stuff each half with a few spoonfuls of picadillo. One cup of picadillo will fill approximately 12 pepper halves.
- Sprinkle the top of each pepper half with shredded cheese such as cotija, chihuahua, or queso blanco.
- Place the pepper halves on a sheet tray. Place in oven and roast for approximately 15-17 minutes, until the cheese is browned.
- Serve with sides such as guacamole, pico de gallo, or sour cream.