Peter Piper Picked a Pepper
It is believed that in Ancient times, the Mayans ate peppers at every meal due to the pepper’s medicinal properties. Studies have confirmed that peppers offer not only medicinal properties, but a great source of antioxidants as well. Some of these benefits regard the reduction of inflammation, enhanced vision, weight loss, and aid in healing digestive issues.
Peppers are rated on the Scoville scale, which measures the amount of heat produced from the pepper. The scale, named after its creator and American pharmacist, Wilbur Scoville, ranges in heat index from 0 heat units (bell pepper) to 2,480,000 heat units (Dragon’s Breath pepper). The poblano pepper’s heat range is relatively low and falls within the 1000-3500 heat index. The heat of a pepper is derived from the compound capsaicin, which is found in the flesh of the pepper and not in the seed.
Peppers are Perfect
The majority of antioxidant benefits lie in the pepper’s capsaicin, or heat index. Poblano peppers are low in fat, calories, and cholesterol and are naturally gluten-free. Nutritionally, they are an excellent source of Vitamin A, B12, potassium, iron, B6, magnesium, B3, copper, and folate.
This recipe includes another power-punch of vitamins and minerals from the eggplant stuffing. Eggplant originated in the Mediterranean and made its way to Spain, where it earned the name aubergine. Eggplant has great antioxidant properties called anthocyanins. Foods in this group of antioxidants are generally red or purple–radish and red cabbage are in this group as well.
Selection and Preparation
Select a poblano pepper that is large and the darkest green, with a smooth, firm skin. When prepping the peppers, simply cut off the top, scoop out the inner membranes and seeds, then rinse. (Retain the tops of the pepper).
Eggplant should also be firm with a smooth skin. It typically responds like spinach when cooked, shrinking to half its original volume. Cut the eggplant across the top and bottom, forming a base for the vegetable to “stand”. Simply use a large, sharp knife and, starting at the top, slide the knife down – just under the skin. Eggplant begins to turn brown when sliced, due to oxygen. This is not a concern for quality or taste. Add a bit of baking soda to the water, this changes the PH level and will assist in preventing further browning while cooking.
Cornbread (cornmeal) is the recommended grain in this dish due to its gluten-free status, as well as its properties of Vitamins A, B6 and B12, iron, potassium, and calcium. The recipe also includes mushrooms which are a great source of the B vitamins: B2, B3, B5, as well as trace minerals.
Eggplant Poblano Peppers (serves 4; 2 peppers each)
2 large eggplants
1 medium onion chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup roasted red bell peppers, chopped
2 cups cornbread, crumbled
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup goat cheese (optional)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. sage
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
12 – 16 toothpicks
- Preheat oven to 400℉
- Prepare cornbread according to package; allow to cool; reduce oven heat to 350℉
- Prep vegetables; retain tops of poblano peppers
- Peel eggplant and cut into cubes
- Bring a 6-quart pot of water to medium heat; add eggplant; cook till tender
- Drain eggplant and squeeze pulp in a paper towel until all moisture is gone
- Using a fork, mash eggplant till it is pureed; set aside
- In a large skillet, heat oil, add vegetables, and cook till tender
- In a large bowl, combine crumbled cornbread, sautéed vegetables, eggs, cheese, and eggplant; add seasonings : sage, salt, and pepper
- Scoop ample amounts of mixture into peppers using a teaspoon or clean hands
- Secure pepper tops to pepper with toothpicks
- In a 9 x 13 baking dish, pour about 1/2 inch water
- Place peppers in baking dish and cover with foil
- Bake peppers 25 minutes or until tender
- Use either an organic, gluten-free packaged cornbread mix or a scratch recipe
- Retain the tops of the poblano peppers; secure to stuffed pepper with toothpicks prior to baking
- Cooked chicken, beef, or tofu may be added to the eggplant stuffing
Additional Stuffing Ingredients for Consideration:
- Shredded carrots, cooked spinach, or kale
- Nuts – walnuts or pecans
- Chopped water chestnuts
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