Sweet Spanish piquillo peppers stuffed with creamy goat cheese, diced chorizo, shallot, and herbs warmed through and drizzled with a date and sherry vinaigrette... Goat Cheese and Chorizo Stuffed Piquillo Peppers make a simple but elegant tapas or appetizer. Serve them as part of your tapas menu for New Year's Eve, or easily transport them to a party!
Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it well & serenely, & with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense.
This day ... is too dear with its hopes & invitations to waste a moment on the rotten yesterdays.
~~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
On the threshold of a new year, soul-searching seems compelling and unavoidable. 2016 was something of a roller coaster for this girl - adjusting to life in a very different place sans many dear ones, relationship challenges, the birth of a new grandchild, a trip back to Seattle after 25 years away, an election that has rocked me to the core, my youngest son graduating from college... "Tomorrow is a new day." Yes. Indeed. I will greet this New Year with "hope and a future."
Cooking feeds my soul. It is difficult to describe how the act of creating and preparing food brings the peace and satisfaction that it does. I began thinking about this recipe prior to our Christmas trip on December 20. I had already purchased the ingredients. Sometimes, life happens, and the recipe didn't. 😉 It's all good. December 21, our youngest son Gerritt (we have 4) graduated from the Culinary Institute of America. This was a very poignant moment for his momma. This young man has overcome so much in his 26 years - a devastating paintball accident at the age of 13 that left him blind in one eye, surgeries, drug addiction, rehab in both North Carolina and California, sobriety, and finally a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Why is this important? He found his passion, and he shares it with his mom. His passion provides the focus he needs to tackle the challenges he regularly faces. Food. Family. Faith. Together around the table.
So, back to the Goat Cheese and Chorizo Stuffed Piquillo Peppers? I love Spanish flavors! A few of my favorite Spanish recipes: Spanish Mussels With Chorizo and Saffron Broth, Spanish-Style Chicken and Chick Pea Stew With Grilled Bread, Spanish Fish With Chard, Cannelini, and Tomatoes. Piquillo peppers originated in the north of Spain. They're sweet, and on the small side... the perfect size for tapas! I don't have any trouble finding them in Texas' Rio Grande Valley. If you can't find them, substitute a small, sweet roasted red pepper. Peppadew would work well.
My workflow goes something like this: Cook the finely diced chorizo in a sauté pan on medium-high heat. Remove with a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the minced shallot. Thoroughly mix the softened goat cheese with the diced chorizo, shallot, fresh herbs, and olives (optional). Spoon the mixture into the peppers. Place in the oven at 350° until heated through - about 15 minutes. While the peppers cook, whip up the date and sherry vinaigrette. To serve the Goat Cheese and Chorizo Stuffed Piquillo Peppers, drizzle with the vinaigrette, and sprinkle with toasted almonds and fresh herbs. Served with a dry Spanish rosé, this tapas is sure to please!
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Goat Cheese and Chorizo Stuffed Piquillo Peppers
- 4 ounces chorizo 1/4" dice
- 2 shallots minced
- 8 ounces goat cheese softened to room temperature
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves stripped from stems
- 2 teaspoons flat leaf parsley finely chopped
- 1/4 cup Spanish olives chopped (optional)
- fresh ground pepper
- 12 ounce jar piquillo peppers see notes
- 8 dates pitted
- 1/2 cup sherry vinegar see notes
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves 1/4 teaspoon dried
- 1 teaspoon flat leaf parsley minced
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- several grinds pepper
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds toasted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Saute the diced chorizo over medium-high heat until fat is rendered and edges are a bit crispy. Drain on paper towels.
Remove all but about a teaspoon of the fat. Saute the shallot until soft. Drain on paper towels.
Add the softened goat cheese, chorizo, shallot, chopped olives (if using), fresh herbs, and several grinds of pepper to a mixing bowl. Use a rubber spatula to thoroughly combine.
Spoon the mixture into the peppers after cutting a vertical slit in each. Press edges together, and arrange in the roasting pan.
Place in preheated oven, and cook until warmed through - about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, add the vinaigrette ingredients to the bowl of your blender or food processor. Pulse until mixture is very smooth.
Drizzle each pepper with some of the vinaigrette. Garnish with toasted almonds and chopped fresh herbs.
Delallo Grilled Piquillo Peppers are widely available and work great! I've found piquillos at Trader Joe's and Marshall's too. Substitute small sweet red peppers if you can't find them. Sherry vinegar is an exceptionally smooth and aged vinegar. There really isn't a great substitute. Good quality white wine vinegar is probably the closest.