My greenhouse is full of plants loaded with an amazingly colourful array of chilli fruits right now……. red, yellow, green and purple……. small, large, round, long or pepper-shaped……… blindingly hot to very mild…… Many of them will end up dried and will be added to various dishes over the coming months. But some (like these bright, shiny Cherry Bombs) are perfect for stuffing and eating fresh.
I love cheese-stuffed chillies and often buy them from the deli counters at farm shops and supermarkets. But this year, since I now seem to have them coming out of my ears, I figured it was time to prepare some myself.
They are dead easy to ‘make’. You simply de-seed them and soak in a mix of oil and vinegar overnight before softening them briefly in the oven and stuffing with your favourite creamy cheeses, herbs or anything else you fancy. If you don’t want to eat them all at once, then you can store them (after deseeding and before softening) for a week or so in the oil and vinegar or keep them in the fridge unstuffed for about the same amount of time after they have been in the oven.
To be honest, whilst I love a bit of chilli, I am not keen on the palate-stripping heat that you get from large amounts being thrown into hot curries. Somehow all subtlety of flavour can easily get lost and eating with friends just becomes a competitive exploit to see who can survive the meal intact.
These Cherry Bomb chillies are naturally fairly mild, especially once they have been deseeded. The goats cheese-mascarpone filling that I have used brings in a wonderful cooling, creamy contrast against the background chilli kick. Throw in some fresh chopped basil for an extra sweet herby shot…. Simple!
They are such a wonderful, vibrant colour too. Eat as tapas……… use to brighten up any salad…….. or in my case, keep visiting the fridge, pop one in the mouth and bite through the contrasting slightly crisp chilli-pepper shell into the melty, soft, calming cheese, allowing the flavours and textures to mingle…..
Goats Cheese Stuffed Cherry Bomb Chillies
120 ml/½ cup olive oil
60 ml/¼ cup white wine vinegar
125g soft goats cheese
80g Mascarpone cheese
handful fresh basil leaves – finely chopped
- Prepare the chillies by carefully slicing off the very top (stalk end) and scraping out the seeds and ‘veins’.
- Place in a jar or bowl with the olive oil and vinegar and leave at least over night or for a couple of days to soak in the fridge.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
- Remove the chillies from the oil when ready and drain the excess oil-vinegar. (Save the oil vinegar to use for another batch).
- Place the drained chillies on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 10 minutes to soften only (do not let them brown). Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, mix the goats cheese with the Mascarpone and chopped basil until smooth and completely combined.
- Stuff the chillies with the cheese mixture and serve.
- You can store the chillies for about a week in the fridge covered in olive oil.