Two weeks ago I was watching a cooking show on tv and this recipe caught my attention. The chef preparing it was Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, one of the brightest stars on the Peruvian culinary scene. He was making a dish that looked very simple yet oh so delicious- yellow chili peppers stuffed with pureed fresh corn, cooked in a skillet until thick. Then he put the peppers in a baking dish, covered them in cream and grated Parmesan cheese, and baked them in the oven until golden brown.
This recipe reminds me of my friend Raquel´s spectacular crepes filled with a similar filling. Each bite is like having a delicate corn tamale wrapped in a crepe. I’ve always thought this was a very smart creation.
If you like the flavor of the chili peppers but want to lower the heat, blanch them in boiling salted water, changing the water twice. This process will tame the heat. The first time I made this dish I forgot this step and the peppers were so hot that we couldn’t really enjoy the corn.
I know that many people don´t like chili peppers, or perhaps you have little kids at home and they don´t eat spicy food. If this is the case case try this with colorful bell peppers, that will make the dish look beautiful but without the heat of the ají. You can also use other vegetables, like zucchini, tomatoes, chard, or cabbage leaves.
For the filling I used fresh corn from Peru. The kernels are huge and don´t have the sweetness of yellow corn, that´s why the recipe includes a small amount of sugar. If yellow is the only corn you find, use this but omit the sugar in the recipe.
I make the aderezo with finely chopped red onion, and cook it in oil and butter. The ají amarillo paste is optional, so you can leave it out of the recipe or add more, if you want to. At this moment you can add cilantro leaves to give the filling a pepian or tamalito verde flavor. When the aderezo is well cooked, add the processed corn and cook until thick and creamy, (it will take about 6 minutes). Season to taste and the filling is now ready to use, but cool to room temperature. You can serve these stuffed chili peppers as a side for any meat or fish dish , or even with just some queso fresco on top… yummm.
Put the cooled filling in a pastry bag -or as you can see in the photo, in a regular bag- and pipe the filling in the center of the chili peppers. Put them side by side in a baking pan.
To finish the dish, cover with cream and bake until bubbly and golden brown.
- 12 aji amarillo (chili peppers) or use your favorite
- 3 cups corn kernels
- ⅔ cup milk
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup red onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons aji amarillo paste (or to taste)
- Salt and peppers
- 2 tablespoons sugar (optional)
- 2 cups whipping cream
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese
- Cut the top part of the chili peppers, and using a spoon take the seeds and veins out of the peppers without tearing the flesh. Reserve.
- If you want to blanch them, do it now. Put the peppers in a pan with water to cover and bring to a boil. Drain and add more cold water and bring to a boil again. Drain and reserve.
- Put the corn kernels with the milk in the blender, and process until almost smooth.
- Heat the oil and butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring every few minutes, until the onion is very tender. Add the aji amarillo paste and continue cooking for about 4 minutes.
- Then add the processed corn and stir until it begins to thicken. Season with salt, pepper and sugar to taste. When the mixture looks thick and shiny, turn off the heat. If it is too thick, add more milk. It should be creamy. Cool to room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Put the corn mixture in a pastry -or a regular- bag and fill the chili peppers. Put in a baking pan. Add the cream and the grated cheese.
- Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.
- Take them out of the oven, cool for 10 minutes and serve.
Serve at once with some of the cream sauce. This dish is perfect as an appetizer or as a side dish.