Do you ever stroll by the bins of brightly colored peppers at the farmers market and marvel at their beauty...then wonder what kind of magic you could make with them? Wonder no more! Keep reading for the most delicious shrimp stuffed Hungarian Wax Peppers with a smoky Romesco Sauce for serving.
Hungarian wax peppers played a small but crucial role in my childhood, as the sole source of heat in my paternal grandmother's signature Hungarian chicken goulash dish. Since the Eastern European dishes I was raised with avoided spice at all costs, this bright yellow pepper was used judiciously - one pepper would be seeded and split and simmered in the paprika-laced stew, then removed before it got too spicy. But what a difference it made.
Today, we're diving deep on these lovely nightshades. Hungarian peppers usually carry a little heat, although the level of heat can vary. They are the perfect size for stuffing with meat or cheese or seafood, baking, and serving to family or party guests. If you can't find Hungarian wax peppers, a variety of peppers can be substituted (see the FAQ section below).
And the smoky Romesco echoes a similar flavor profile, with that fruity, smoky, slightly spicy sauciness. Perfect to use as a dip or drizzle over the Hungarian stuffed peppers.
It's a good one, team! Let's do this.
What you'll need to make this Hungarian stuffed peppers recipe:
- Hungarian wax peppers
- yellow onion
- fresh breadcrumbs
- Manchego cheese
- garlic cloves
- fresh lemon juice
- extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt
- smoked paprika
- toasted almonds, sliced or slivered
- roasted tomatoes or canned fire roasted tomatoes
- roasted red peppers
- red wine vinegar
- red chili flakes, optional
(full measurements and instructions included in the recipe card at the bottom of this post)
Step by step instructions for this Hungarian stuffed pepper recipe with Romesco sauce:
To begin, preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic until fragrant and tender, about 4-5 minutes.
While cooking, combine diced raw shrimp, breadcrumbs, shredded cheese, cilantro, lemon juice, egg, cornstarch, salt and smoked paprika in a bowl.
Once the onions and garlic have finished cooking, let them cool for about 5 minutes, then add the sautéed vegetables to the shrimp mixture and stir to combine.
Cut the top off each wax pepper and pull out the membrane and seeds.
Stuff peppers with the shrimp mixture, pushing the paste as far into the pepper as possible.
Lightly drizzle a baking sheet with olive oil. Lay the stuffed peppers onto the sheet pan and drizzle olive oil over the top.
Bake the stuffed peppers for about 20 minutes - until the top of the peppers are nicely golden brown and the filling is cooked through.
While the peppers are cooking, make the smoky Romesco sauce.
Combine all sauce ingredients in food processor.
Pulse until mostly smooth, adding an additional tablespoon of olive oil or warm water, if needed, to thin the sauce.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sample and adjust seasoning.
To serve, spread a layer of Romesco across the bottom of your serving plate. Arrange shrimp stuffed Hungarian wax peppers over the top of the roasted pepper and tomato sauce. Garnish with additional toasted almonds and cilantro, if desired.
FAQ’s and Serving Suggestions
Almost any type of pepper of a similar shape would be a good substitute - just depending on your tolerance for heat. Anaheim peppers, cubanelle peppers, hot banana peppers, sweet banana peppers or even red or green bell peppers. Very hot peppers like serrano or habaneros would overwhelm the more delicate flavor of the shrimp filling. But if spicy food is your jam, go for it!
Mozzarella is a lovely melty cheese to add into this stuffing. It is less flavorful than manchego, so you may want to create your own cheese mixture of mozzarella with a little parmesan cheese. Monterey jack, cream cheese, cheddar cheese or sharp cheddar could also work.
Absolutely - the flavor will be modified, but walnuts or hazelnuts would work.
You can leave them out and add a little extra cheese, or use gluten free bread crumbs or cracker crumbs as a substitute. And in place of the cornstarch, tapioca or potato starches are a good replacement.
Fresh parsley is a great option, and fresh basil would also work.
You can make the filling and stuff the peppers the day before you bake them. Just keep them in the refrigerator and well chilled until baking.
Leftover stuffing can be used in cabbage rolls, mushroom caps, or just sauteed as shrimp meatballs and added to soup or pasta for your main meal.
To store, transfer cooked stuffed peppers to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to two days.
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