Stuffed Mini Peppers with Leftover Pork

This delicious pork post is sponsored by Missouri Pork #MoPork with gratitude and appreciation.

Jalapenos Peppers and Mini Peppers are filled with pork filling and cheese.
Leftover Pork Tenderloin makes a delicous filling for peppers.

Italian Pork Stuffed Mini Peppers

A festive, flavorful, and fun appetizer that is made with leftover pork! Super easy and so delightful in flavor. And don’t stress, there is a variety of leftover pork you can use! This recipe will work with leftover pork chops, pork roast, ground pork, or even ham. All you have to do is finely mince by hand or chop the cooked pork in the food processor.


To create the oh-so-easy pork appetizer, prep the mini sweet peppers then stuff with chopped pork, basil, parsley, green onions and cheese. If you aren’t in the Italian mood then go South-of-the-Border with cilantro, cumin, lime, and pepper jack. A very versatile small bite that is easy to change up to your taste or what’s in the pantry and refrigerator.


And there is another plus! Kids love to stuff the mini peppers, and they enjoy eating them too! Plus, the stuffed mini peppers bake in the oven in just 15 minutes! YaY!


Pork Tenderloin is cut into chunks before grinding in food processor.
Leftover pork tenderloin or any pork roast will work in this recipe.

WHAT LEFTOVER PORK IS IN YOUR FRIDGE

This recipe is not only super flexible in the seasonings and cheeses you use but with the cut of pork! When I make a large pork roast there is always leftovers. And when is the last time you served and devoured a whole ham in one setting? You get the picture, stuffed pork mini peppers can help you transform leftover ham and pork roast into a crowd-raving small bite.

I LOVE PORK TENDERLOIN

Back to pork tenderloin! I love pork tenderloin. I bet you do too! Pork tenderloin is a quick cook, tasty, lean, and so versatile in how it can be served.

In general, one pork tenderloin serves 2 hungry people or a family of 3-4, if the kids are nibblers. When I prepare a pork tenderloin dinner, for just 2 or 3 of the fam, there is always a dilemma. What do you do with that second pork tenderloin that comes in the package? Do you freeze it? I am suggesting cooking it and incorporating it into another dish for later in the week.

HOW TO COOK PORK TENDERLOIN

My favorite indoor method of cooking pork tenderloin is to sear first then transfer to the oven to finish roasting.

Here is how:

  1. Remove pork tenderloin from the refrigerator 20 minutes before cooking. Rub with salt and pepper.

  2. Position an oven rack in the center. Place an oven-proof large skillet on the center rack, and preheat the oven to 400°F. A cast iron skillet is an excellent choice.

  3. About 15 minutes later, transfer the hot skillet with oven mitts or grill gloves to the burner. Leave the oven on.

  4. Swirl a little cooking oil in the skillet. Carefully lower the pork tenderloin into the skillet and sear on all 4 sides, about 2 minutes on each side. The burner should be set at high or medium-high heat dependent on the BTU. The higher the BTUs, the higher the heat you can achieve with that burner and, often, the bigger and hotter the flame.

  5. Once there is a golden brown crust on all sides, transfer the skillet to the oven. Roast the pork tenderloin for 10 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer stuck in the thickest part of the meat reads 140°F. Allow the meat to rest until it reaches 145°F.

Jalapenos and Mini Sweet Peppers with grated cheese.
Pick your Peppers ~ hot or sweet!

LET’S CHANGE THE FLAVOR

I’m featuring leftover pork tenderloin in a mini stuffed pepper! And my oh my, this small bite is crave-able! The roasted mini peppers turn sweet when oven baked or cooked outside on a grill. The mini pepper’s sweetness contrasts deliciously with the savory depth of flavor the pork provides. And get this! You can tweak the herbs and seasoning to Italian, Mexican or even Asian! Like I said, this appetizer is so versatile.


South-of-The-Border: cilantro, scallions, pepper jack cheese, chipotles, and jalapeños as the shell or in the pork mixture. Pork Chorizo would be delicious added to the ground pork.


Asian: Season with a splash of Hoisin Sauce, fresh ginger, mint and basil. Time to get out the sriracha too!


German: Let’s grind that leftover bratwurst, and add a squeeze of whole grain mustard, fresh lemon juice, and chopped red onion. Top with muenster cheese and sauerkraut. I am getting hungry just writing this!


Brunch Ideas:

Serve 3 or 4 pork stuffed mini peppers topped with a fried egg! Now we are thinking #PorkPerfection!


Bacon me Crazy: Do you have extra bacon cooked? How about a bacon stuffed mini pepper!


Stuffed Pork Mini Peppers Egg Casserole: Get the picture? Grease a casserole dish and line with stuffed pork mini peppers. Whip 12 eggs, 1 teaspoon salt, and about a cup of cream or milk and pour over the mini peppers. Smothered in cheese and baked for 30-40 minutes. I suggest covering the dish with foil during the first 20 minutes. And this time, please take off the stems!


Anyway, you can see that leftover pork from any cut can be ground, seasoned and stuffed into a mini pepper or jalapeño. I can't suggest a rib because of 2 reasons. First, there are seldom any ribs leftover ~ haha. Secondly, picking rib meat off the bones is too laborious for me!



Ground pork and herbs are ready for grated cheese and cream cheese.
Grind fresh herbs and pork for a delcious filling for mini peppers.

For other delicious pork inspiration:

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Close up of mini peppers and jalapeno peppers filled with cheesy ground pork.
The jalapenos and the mini peppers are delciious in this recipe!

Recipe for Italian Pork Stuffed Mini Peppers
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Italian Pork Stuffed Mini Peppers

15 Minutes Prep Time 15 Minutes Cook Time 15 appetizers


Ingredients:

1/3 cup parsley leaves or cilantro

1/3 cup basil leaves

1 green onion, roughly chopped

1 cooked Missouri pork tenderloin, cut into chunks (or 3 cups pork roast or ham)

1 1/2 cups shredded Italian cheese blend, divided

1/3 cup cream cheese

1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese, divided

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional

15 mini sweet peppers, or how many you have filling for

5-7 jalapeños, optional

Salt to taste

Garnish: Herbs and Parmesan Cheese


Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease a rimmed baking pan.


Minced the parsley, basil, and green onion in a food processor. Add the pork chunks to the food processor, and pulse until ground.


Add to the ground pork the 1-cup Italian cheese, cream cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, smoked paprika, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes. Pulse until all ingredients are uniform in size. Taste and season with salt, if needed.


Prepare the mini peppers. Cut the peppers lengthwise, about 1/4-inch deep, (not in half) creating a pocket yet leaving the stem intact. Clean the cavity of the pepper by removing and discarding the seeds and ribs.


Tip: The trimmings can be finely chopped and included in the pork filling or discarded.


Stuff each mini pepper with 1 tablespoon of pork filling, press filling into the pepper cavity with your finger or spoon.


Place filled peppers onto the prepared baking pan. Stuff each mini pepper with additional filling, about 1/2 tablespoon. Sprinkle it with the remaining Italian cheese.


Bake stuffed mini peppers on the center shelf for 15-18 minutes or until desired doneness.


Transfer Italian Pork Stuffed Mini Peppers to a serving platter and garnish with sprigs of parsley. Dust stuffed peppers with Parmesan Cheese, and serve warm. Note: stuffed mini peppers are delicious at room temperature too.


Make Ahead: Prepare stuffed peppers the day before cooking, cover, and refrigerate until cooking the next day.


Leftovers: I did eat the pork stuffed mini peppers the next day, straight from the refrigerators. The flavors were deliciously melded; so scrumptious. You can reheat the stuffed peppers in the microwave as well.


Chef Notes:

I add one beaten egg when the mixture looks dry. If the pork has plenty of moisture and fat the egg is not needed.


Adjust the quantity of herbs and cheese! The recipe above is asking for your tweaks!

When I make stuffed mini peppers I change it up a bit depending on how the ground mixture looks and tastes.

Servings is up to how much pork you grind!


Recipe Author: Merry Graham from A Merry Recipe



Pork tenderloin stuffed spicy pepper.
What do you reach for first spicy or sweet?


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