I grew up on a small horse farm in Northwest New Jersey. I suppose you could say we started practicing the idea of local, sustainable food in our family, over 20 year ago. However, as a child, I didn’t appreciate it, nor did I even remotely like gardening. Now gardening has become one of my favorite activities. Not only does it provide us with fresh and flavorful ingredients, but it’s a light form of exercise on a hot day.
I try to utilize my garden space for vegetables that may not be readily available at the grocery stores or carry a hefty pricetag. It is much more affordable to grow heirloom vegetable varieties in your backyard than purchasing them at the local market. I also find these less popular varieties of vegetables to hold a more unique flavor. This recipe features the lesser-known Cowbell Pepper, as well as a few fresh herbs! If you don’t have cowbell peppers, small traditional green, yellow, or red bell peppers will work nicely.
As for the stuffing, I decided to break out the smoker. If a smoker is not something readily available to you, it is possible to turn your outdoor grill into a smoker as well. Most home improvement stores and even some grocery stores carry Hickory or Applewood chips. Just be sure to soak the chips in water for at least 12 hours. And if using a regular grill, wrap these up in foil, and set over the flame. Soaking the chips is necessary so that they smoke and not burn. The smoking process may increase your cooking time on the shrimp. Mine took approximately 15 minutes. If smoking is not possible, you can still make this recipe with any cooked shrimp.
- 1 tsp Old Bay
- 1 tsp Cumin
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 12 Large Shrimp
- 4-5 large Cowbell Peppers, tops removed and seeded
- Pepper Stuffing
- 4-5 smoked shrimp, finely chopped
- 3 oz cream cheese, softened
- 2 TBSP mayonnaise
- ½ tsp Old Bay
- 1 TBSP fresh chives, chopped fine
- 1 tsp fresh parsley, chopped fine
- ½ cup of shredded cheddar or mozzarella cheese
- Mix together dry rub ingredients and rub onto raw shrimp. Let sit for 20-30 minutes, then smoke or grill.
- Thoroughly mix together all stuffing ingredients and hand stuff into the peppers. Stuffing mixture can also be placed into a heavy duty plastic bag or pastry bag for stuffing peppers.
- These peppers can be baked or grilled. You may be able to find a pepper stand that fits in your oven or on your grill. I find cooking them upright keeps from loosing the filling and helps the filling absorb the flavor of the pepper. Alternatively, you can wrap these in foil for cooking. The grill or oven should be set at about 400. Cook these for approximately 8-10 minutes. Serve the extra smoked shrimp on the side of the peppers. Enjoy!