These bacon and goat cheese stuffed peppadews are topped with crispy panko and baked to perfection in just 20 minutes! Drizzle an easy balsamic reduction over the top to complete this irresistible appetizer!
We first came across peppadews at an Italian restaurant and I don’t know about you, but if I see something unfamiliar on the menu there’s an almost 100% chance that I’m going to order it! With their delicious sweet and spicy flavor, the pickled peppers quickly won me over. So when I found the little peppers at our local market, I bought a few jars to experiment with and the absolute best result of those experiments are these goat cheese stuffed peppadews!
what is a peppadew?
Okay let’s back up a bit first. What even are peppadews? Peppadew is actually a brand name that has become synonymous with the pickled version of the juanita or sweet piquanté pepper. The peppers were discovered in South Africa in the early 1990s and have since been pickled and sold by Peppadew International. The bite-sized delights are sweet with a just the right amount of heat — great as a snack, on sandwiches or even as a pizza topping!
Jars of peppadews are labeled as either mild or hot and while you can use either for this recipe, we strongly recommend the hot for all except those who are extremely spice-averse. They have great flavor and a slight kick, but I definitely wouldn’t classify them as overly spicy, especially with the goat cheese filling we use in this recipe. If you’re familiar with poblano peppers, I’d say they have a similar spice level.
So where can you find these peppadews? If you’d like to get them in bulk you can definitely buy peppadews online, but we’re generally able to find them more reasonably priced at most larger grocery stores.
goat cheese stuffed peppadews
When it comes to stuffing peppadews, there are a lot of great options! Our favorite is a creamy mixture made with just goat cheese, cream cheese, garlic powder and a bit of crumbled bacon. Peppadews are quite small, so I find it easiest to use a piping bag to get the goat cheese mixture into the peppers. But a ziplock bag with the corner cut off or even a small spoon would work just as well!
And actually, if you’re in the mood for a cold appetizer, you could eat your peppadews right after adding the goat cheese! But if you prefer something warm like we usually do, I definitely recommend baking the peppers with an added layer of crunchy panko breadcrumbs. Mix the panko with a small amount of melted butter, sprinkle on top and bake for about 20 minutes. And if you want to get your panko topping super crispy, turn the broiler on for the last few minutes. Just remember to keep an eye on them as they can burn really quickly!
balsamic reduction: a little something extra
The last step is to make a quick balsamic reduction. While this is completely optional, you can easily whip up the reduction while the peppadews are in the oven. And we find that the vinegary sweetness is the perfect final touch to these little bites. You definitely don’t need to splurge for a super nice bottle of vinegar — a moderately priced balsamic vinegar should provide excellent flavor.
To make a balsamic reduction you really just need one ingredient: balsamic vinegar. Heat about ¼ cup (60 ml) of balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a slight boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. When the peppadews are ready, you can either drizzle the reduction directly over the peppers or serve it on the side.
Looking for more cheesy appetizers sure to impress? Definitely give these a try!
- Provoleta (Grilled Argentinian Cheese)
- Baked Goat Cheese Dip
- Baked Brie with Jam
- Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes
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