HOT! HOT! HOT! Well maybe not! You can actually control the amount of heat in this recipe for Jalapeno Peppers Stuffed with Sausage in two ways:
The type of sausage you choose
How you clean the peppers
You need just four ingredients needed to make this recipe:
1 and 1/2 pounds of jalapeno peppers (about 18 small to medium)
8 ounces of cream cheese, softened
1 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound of sausage
Start by softening the cream cheese. Just take it out of the refrigerator, open the wrapping, and let it sit on the counter while you cook the sausage. It will soften on its own!
Chose HOT Italian sausage to make this recipe. It ended up with quite a kick! Choosing sweet Italian sausage or pork sausage would definitely have decreased the amount of heat. Buy whatever sausage you prefer, depending on YOUR taste or that of the people invited to your party.
With a sharp knife, slice through the casing of the sausage.
Remove the skin and add the sausage to a large frying pan that has been pre-heated on medium-high heat.
The sausage needs to get broken up into bits and cooked completely.
One way to break the sausage apart is with a spatula (shown above), but it does not do a great job at breaking apart the meat as it cooks. You could try using a fork (shown below) which works a bit better…
…or a potato masher (below), which actually works the best!
Once the meat is cooked put it into a bowl lined with paper towels.
Once all the fat has drained from the cooked sausage, which will only take a minute or so, remove the paper towels and throw them away.
Add the softened cream cheese and the grated Parmesan cheese.
This needs to get totally mixed together.
If the cream cheese is not soft it will make mixing quite difficult.
It should end up looking like the photo below.
Now for the peppers!
(Please take a moment to review my photo-tutorial on Handling Hot Peppers.)
Wash the jalapenos and cut them in half with a sharp knife.
OK! We’re now ready for the second way to control the heat of your final dish – cleaning the inside of the peppers.
The outside flesh of the peppers contain a lot of flavor. Most of the “heat” is contained in the internal seeds and the membrane that they are attached to.
So, we’re going to remove the seeds and membrane with a knife …
…or a spoon or melon baler.
Even the slightest bit of that white membrane will give these Sausage Stuffed Jalapenos quite a kick!
Fill each jalapeño half with about 1 to 1 ½ Tablespoons of filling. A small pepper will require less filling.
Some of the filled peppers may tip over in the oven. To prevent this, you can “snuggle” or “nestle” them together on the baking sheet. (Be sure to use a baking sheet with sides!)
Bake them in a pre-heated 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) oven for 20 minutes.
You can see how some of the larger ones sort of toppled over. Next time, I am going to try to get smaller jalapeños and be sure to nestle them together on the baking tray so they will remain upright.
I left the top stem on some of them just for presentation purposes.
However, be warned. You don’t eat the stem! (Warn your guests.)