Gourmet Galley: Stuffed mini peppers make great party appetizers _lowres

Advocate photo by Corinne Cook -- Sausage and Cream Cheese Stuffed Sweet Mini Peppers

ADVOCATE-TESTED RECIPE

Sausage and Cream Cheese Stuffed Sweet Mini Peppers

Makes enough stuffing for about 50 sweet mini pepper halves. Recipe is by Corinne Cook.

1 pound bag sweet mini peppers (red, orange and yellow), rinsed, dried, cut in half and seeded

1 pound Jimmy Dean pork sausage, I used the “hot” variety, (or use ground beef, chicken, turkey or Italian sausage, with casing removed

½ cup chopped onion

1 rib celery, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

¼ cup bell pepper, optional

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes

½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

¼ teaspoon dried thyme

2 tablespoons chopped fresh green onions, white and green parts

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Salt, black pepper and pinch of cayenne if desired

1. Preheat ove to 350 F. Prepare peppers and place them on a wire baking rack on a baking sheet. The wire baking rack helps to hold the peppers upright.

2. In skillet brown sausage until no longer pink. Drain off fat. Use your spoon break up sausage so there are no large clumps.

3. Add onion, celery, garlic and bell pepper. Cook until vegetables are tender.

4. Add cream cheese, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, green onions and parsley. Stir until cream cheese melts, remove from heat.

5. Taste for seasoning and adjust to taste.

6. Once the sausage mixture has cooled some, place some of it in quart-size zippered plastic bag. Snip off about ¼ inch from one bottom corner of bag, making it like a piping bag. The hole should be just large enough for the filling to go through. Cut it larger if necessary.

7. Squeeze some of the meat mixture into center of each pepper half, mounding slightly. Place on wire baking rack on a baking sheet.

8. Bake for 20 minutes, or until peppers are heated through and lightly browned on top. Temperature can be turned up to 400 F near the end of the baking time if necessary for the tops to brown slightly.