Stuffed Peaches Won’t Disappoint

Here’s another recipe that came out of my Palisade peach adventure. But this one has a much larger story than just, “Hey, I have some peaches. Cool…”

Eat Denver is an organization of independent restaurateurs in the Denver area. This group takes the idea of being a localvore to a different level–eating local can be about supporting your neighborhood restaurant too. The organization does a few events throughout the year, including something called Harvest Week. During Harvest Week, these chefs create dishes using only locally sourced products. Sort of a think local, eat local, act local, kind of triple threat. One of the dishes that I had the pleasure of eating was at one of my favorite restaurants–Rioja.

Chef Jennifer Jaskinski (Chef Jen to her employees) doesn’t need me to sing her praises. Her food has been written up in the likes of GQ, Bon Appetit, and Food & Wine, just to name a few. But that won’t stop me from signing her praises. No. Because during Eat Denver’s Harvest Week I ate something at Rioja that was so rich, so delicious, so beautiful, that I almost cried. Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but damn, was that sucker good. Chef Jen served a grilled peach stuffed with honey scented goat cheese and crispy pork belly, topped with micro-basil. It was absolutely as good as it sounds.

And so, now that I’ve had a taste, I just can’t get enough. But, since Harvest Week only happens one week out of the year, I’ve had to recreate my own little piece of heaven. Thanks Chef Jen for the blissfully sweet idea! I made these as an hors d’oeuvre for a party, so adjust the recipe depending upon how many hungry faces you need to feed…

Rioja Inspired Stuffed Peaches
–peaches, sliced in half and pitted
–plain goat cheese/chevre
–balsamic vinegar
–bacon strips, cut in half
–micro greens or broccoli sprouts

After removing the pits from the peach halves, use a spoon to scoop out a small concave bowl in the center of each peach half. Using a new clean spoon, fill each peach bowl with a spoon-full of goat cheese. I made one 4oz. log last for 15 peach halves, so remember that a little goat cheese goes a long way! Place the filled peaches into a baking dish. Drizzle each peach half with a light line of honey and balsamic vinegar.

Place the bacon strips on a foil-lined cookie sheet in the oven. Bake at 375 degrees until the bacon is crisp and evenly cooked. The foil will make it easier to pull off the pan. Cooking it in the oven helps keep the bacon from curling up and also allows the fat to drain away.

Bake the peaches in the oven at 375 degrees for 8 minutes. Remove and top each peach with the crispy bacon. Place back into the oven for a few more minutes, until the peaches are softened *but not soggy* and the goat cheese is warmed.

Remove to a plate. Top with the micro greens and serve!

Dammit Jim, I’m a cook, not a doctor…
Time: 20 minutes
Serving: 2 peach halves
Calories: 304

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