Sunday, January 22, 2012

Stuffed Bell Peppers

This is one of the family's favorite meals, so I've got it on the menu for tomorrow night. Stuffed bell peppers are a popular meal in many different cultures. Just try a google search and you will find hundreds of variations. The recipe I'm sharing here is a traditional American one....something your mom might have served you up back in the 50's. (Note that I said your mom would have served this only if it came frozen on a TV dinner tray).

This recipe is from my very favorite source,  Cook's Illustrated (you can subscribe here: They suggest it as a light main meal or side dish. I've beefed up the ingredient list because I want to serve this dish as a hearty meal. So in addition to a beef-upped ingredient list, I buy really big-ass bell peppers. I look at the green, yellow, orange and red ones and buy the biggest ones in the produce bin.

This recipe is fairly simple and requires three basic steps. The first is to blanch the peppers for three minutes. Second, you are going to mix the "stuffing" ingredients. Third, you are going to bake your stuffed peppers for thirty minutes. Then you'll serve up a great meal where the participants get to eat the delicious innards and the container as well! This recipe serves four.

4 big bell peppers, 1/2 inch trimmed off tops (see photo), core and seeds discarded
1 cup long grain white rice*
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 pound ground beef
4 cloves garlic, minced
One 14 1/2 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
2 cups Monterrey Jack cheese
3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
1/2 cup ketchup
Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper

  1.  Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large stockpot or Dutch oven over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon salt and bell peppers. Cook until peppers just begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, remove peppers from pot, drain off excess water, and place peppers cut-sides up on paper towels. 
  2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Heat 12-inch heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat until hot, about 1 1/2 minutes; add oil and swirl to coat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add ground beef and cook, breaking beef into small pieces with spoon, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer mixture to bowl with rice; stir in tomatoes, 1 cup cheese, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Place peppers cut-side up in 9-inch square baking dish. Using soup spoon, divide filling evenly among peppers. Spoon 2 tablespoons ketchup over each filled pepper and sprinkle each with 1/4 cup of remaining cheese. Bake until cheese is browned and filling is heated through, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve immediately.
Wine pairing: Merlot

Blogger's Note: If you'd like to make an Italian version of this, substitute hot Italian sausage for the hamburger, use mozzarella instead of Monterrey Jack and spaghetti sauce instead of ketchup. To make a Mexican version, add taco seasoning to the hamburger, use cheddar cheese in lieu of Monterrey Jack and salsa in lieu of ketchup. Toss in a minced jalapeƱo if you like it hot.

*To save time and make the recipe easier, I buy pre-cooked rice instead of making my own:

No comments:

Post a Comment