I decided to get creative and find a way to use the sweet-flavored gypsy peppers which I grew in my summer garden. I concocted a dish which has both Cajun and Asian elements which I am calling, “Cajun-Asian Fusion Stuffed Gypsy Peppers.” I used a traditional Cajun stuffing of pork, rice and lots of vegetable seasonings. The Asian fusion component comes from Indonesian Sambal Oelek Ground Fresh Chili Paste which I added to the stuffing. This paste gives a different flavor “twist” to the stuffed pepper dish. And the mild gypsy peppers are a great pepper to use for stuffing. The result is a flavorful rice and pork casserole and supper entree.
Chili Sauces and Paste
I find that these Asian, Mexican and American chilies which are made into hot sauces all have slightly different flavor profiles. Indonesian chili paste has similar ingredients as Tabasco Sauce (red chilies, vinegar and salt). They are both “hot.” However, sambal oelek paste just gives the dish a different vibrant chili flavor. It’s a pleasant change-up from Cajun hot sauces. Gochujang sauce, which is a thick Korean chili paste, and Sriracha sauce, which originated in Thailand and is often referred to as “rooster sauce,” are examples of two other hot sauces which give a dish a distinctly different taste.
About Gypsy Peppers
This year I planted just about every type of pepper in my summer garden that I could find in my local plant nursery. Peppers are easy to grow in Louisiana gardens; and I like success. Hurray! So, I have several rather unusual types of peppers to use in recipes. Gypsy peppers, for example, grew prolifically in my garden. This pepper is not something that is typically available in grocery stores so you may have to search for them in farmer’s markets. However, recently I found several bins of these peppers at Albertsons! Go figure.
Gypsy peppers (also known as Cubanelle peppers) are creamy, pale colored and very mild flavored. They are even milder and sweeter than bell peppers which makes them very appealing to use in recipes. Plus the skin of gypsy peppers is thinner than a bell pepper. You don’t have to peel the skin if used in grilled or stuffed dishes.
How do you use these peppers? Cut the peppers and use raw in a salad. Or cut in strips and use on a vegetable dip tray. Grill them, use to make stuffed dishes. Use anywhere in place of green bell peppers.
The gypsy pepper is a hand-bred hybrid, sweet pepper variety that was developed by crossing a sweet Italian bullhorn pepper and a sweet bell pepper. It looks like a bell pepper except that has a cream color and is slightly smaller. As the peppers ripen, they turn to yellow-orange and then orange-rad. The peppers have three lobes and taper at the end. This variety of peppers was developed in 1980 by Petoseed, a Southern California company who specializes in hybridizing peppers and tomatoes. The pepper is resistant to tobacco mosaic virus, which is important for commerical and home gardeners.
Here are the ingredients for my Cajun-Asian fusion casserole:
Hard to see in the photo, but nevertheless important is cooked rice. To cook the rice, add dry long grain rice, salt and water and let it steam on the stove in a tightly covered pot for 20 minutes. Very simple.
Making the recipe:
Prepare the gypsy peppers by cutting them in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and membrane. I chopped up the smallest peppers and added them to the filling.
To make the filling, brown the ground pork along with lots of chopped onion and celery. These seasonings are so often used in Cajun dishes. (I used lean, ground pork rather than sausage. The Indonesian chili paste adds the spice to this dish.) Cook the pork completely. Add in the cooked rice.
Stir in the Indonesian Sambal Oelek Ground Fresh Chili Paste, salt and garlic powder. Spoon the filling into the prepared gypsy peppers. There will probably be extra pork and rice filling. Transfer the extra filling to an oiled casserole dish. Arrange the stuffed gypsy peppers on top.
Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake in a 350 degree oven until heated through, about 30 to 45 minutes.
Serve the peppers — two per person — along with the extra pork/rice stuffing. Garnish with parsley, if desired. I served the casserole with a tomato and cucumber salad.
If you can’t find gypsy peppers, you can still make the casserole. Substitute Hatch chili peppers or sweet bell peppers in the recipe.
This is a delicious Cajun-type casserole dish. The vegetable seasonings add flavor and crunch along with the gypsy pepper. The Sambal Oelek Ground Fresh Chili Paste adds a nice flavor twist. I am getting to love this chili paste in recipes. And I can’t wait to try more recipes with my gypsy peppers. Enjoy!
Cajun-Asian Fusion Stuffed Gypsy Peppers
- 3/4 cup raw, long grain rice
- 1-1/2 cup water
- 2 tsp salt, divided
- 4 medium-sized gypsy peppers
- 1 lb ground pork (90-10 blend of meat/fat)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 3 Tbsp Sambal Oelek Ground Fresh Chili Paste
- Fresh parsley, garnish, if desired
Method and Steps:
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 9″ x 9″ casserole dish.
- Cook the rice: Add long grain rice, water and 1 tsp salt to a medium-sized sauce pan with tight fitting lid. Stir, place lid securely on pot. Bring to boil. Immediately turn the heat of the burner to low (or even turn stove off) so that rice steams for 20 minutes. Take off stove and set aside.
- Meanwhile, cut the gypsy peppers in half, lengthwise. Cut out seeds and excess membrane. Set aside. Chop up small peppers and add to filling.
- Add the ground pork, chopped onion and celery (and any small pieces of gypsy pepper) to a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Brown the ground pork, breaking up chunks of meat. Sir and cook until pork is completely cooked.
- Add cooked rice to the cooked pork mixture and stir to combine.
- Spinkle on remaining 1 tsp salt and garlic powder. Spoon Sambal Oelek Ground Fresh Chili Paste over pork/rice mixture. Use a large spoon to completey combine in the seasonings.
- Spoon about 1/4 to 1/3 cup filling into each gypsy pepper half.
- Spoon excess pork/rice filling into bottom of oiled casserole dish. Arrange stuffed peppers on top. Cover tightly with aluminum foil.
- Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 – 45 minutes until hot and steamy and cooked through.
- If desired, garnish with fresh parsley prior to serving.