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  • Writer's pictureChef Kelly Unger

The Joy of Peppers

Stuffed Peppers 100 ways, Steak and Peppers, local Hershberger Heritage Farm Sausage & Peppers, Roasted Red Pepper Soup. Those are the recipes that immediately come to mind when I think of peppers. Nearly every cuisine and country across the globe uses peppers so there’s no shortage of pepper recipes. Peppers are wonderful when charred on the grill or gas burner. Smokiness and peppers really go well together - smoked paprika powder, smoked chilis, bring something deep and rich to a recipe. You can char your peppers whole but I like to cut mine in half first. I find it easier to remove the seeds and pith when the pepper is fresh and crisp. And also, surprise surprise, I don’t peel my peppers (there's nutrition in that skin). I cut mine in half, remove the seeds and pith (white, bitter membrane) and then char them on the grill just until I get substantial grill marks on them. I let them rest for a few minutes and then they are ready to do whatever I want - dice, chop, julienne, keep them halved.

Quick recipe: put charred peppers in a baking dish and drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sliced garlic, top with a delicious cheese and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. This makes a fantastic appetizer served with a baguette. You can “cut” the peppers with a spoon into bite size pieces. Who’s hungry? This is popular dish in Basque Country, using their specific Basque cheese - Idiazabal.

In addition to their happy color palette, peppers are loaded with nutrition. They are low in calories and can help boost metabolism. I like peppers of all colors but vibrant, ripe red peppers are best for those who have had issues with nightshades. Green peppers, while gorgeous and delicious, are not ripe and can cause issues for some. Hot peppers have even more health benefit. “Hot peppers contain dozens of phytochemical compounds that are helpful to the liver. One such compound is capsaicin, which gives the liver license to heat itself without negative ramifications. The liver welcomes this food-initiated heat because it’s a reset factor. Blood rushes oxygen through all the capillaries throughout the liver, and the heat caused by the capsaicin instantly draws fresh, clean blood into the liver through all avenues. It’s like opening a window in your house to let out stale air and let in fresh air. This reset is beneficial for the liver’s reaction to inflammation that’s caused by pathogens and toxins… Look to ripe hot peppers for a liver reset.” Anthony William, Liver Rescue

I love a collection of recipes, so here is one from Cooking Light. Surely you’ll find one or five to make you hungry for peppers!

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