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On April 28th I was honored to serve as a judge at the National Cornbread Festival in South Pittsburg, Tennessee. Little did I know, this would be one of the most difficult jobs I’ve ever had. I’m sure all of the judges would agree with me on that, though!
Each and every dish was truly amazing, blending new and classic flavors together in fresh and fun ways. We finally narrowed it down to three finalist but I really and truly wanted everyone to win!
Martha White has graciously given me permission to share with you some of my favorite recipes from the competition. So I’ll be doing that the rest of the week and then sending out an exclusive recipe in my email newsletter on Friday. If you don’t subscribe by email and would like to, just click here.
Today’s recipe didn’t end up in the top three but it did make the initial top ten and was my personal favorite. I love stuffed peppers and I love cornbread. This recipe replaces the traditional rice with cornbread batter and adds in a wonderful blend of cheeses along with a really fun way to bake it.
I love how Tim made stuffed pepper rings rather than just stuffed peppers, the rings make a perfect sized side dish and allow for a yummy crust to form on the bottom when it’s cooking. The peppers themselves were cooked just enough to bring the sweetness out and soften them without letting them get mooshy.
In each of the recipes you’ll be seeing from the Cornbread Festival you’ll notice that they use a Lodge Cast Iron skillet and Martha White Cornbread mix because these were the requirements for the competition. Each recipe is so creative and delicious, I know you’re going to enjoy them!
Lets start with these stuffed pepper rings, my favorite!
- 4 tablespoons Crisco® Pure Vegetable Oil
- 4 large green bell peppers
- 1 (7 oz.) package Martha White® Sweet Yellow Cornbread and Muffin Mix
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 1 large egg
- 1 pound ground sweet Italian sausage, browned and drained
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and diced
- 1 (10 oz.) can diced tomatoes and green chilies
- ½ cup shredded Colby and Monterey Jack cheese blend
- 8 slices or ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- HEAT oven to 400°F. Put vegetable oil into 15-inch Lodge® cast iron skillet. Place in oven to heat for 7 to 8 minutes or until hot.
- CUT tops and bottoms off each bell pepper. Remove ribs and seeds. Cut each pepper shell into two rings.
- STIR together cornbread mix, buttermilk and egg in large bowl just until blended. Add sausage, onion, jalapeños, tomatoes and green chilies and shredded cheese blend. Stir until combined.
- PLACE pepper rings in bottom of hot skillet. Spoon sausage stuffing mixture into each pepper ring until well rounded. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until stuffing is set and golden brown. Top each pepper with a slice of mozzarella or sprinkle shredded mozzarella on top. Bake 5 to 7 minutes until cheese is melted. Remove pepper rings from skillet with spatula. Cool 5 minutes before serving.
My work philosophy:
1. If you’re gonna do a job, do it with joy.
2. If you can’t do it with joy, don’t do it.
3. If #2 isn’t an option, see #1.