This is a great time of year to cook with peppers. My family loves my stuffed peppers and asks for them quite often. I take lots of liberty with the basic recipe, switching out ingredients depending on what I have on hand and what’s available at the Market. Experimentation is half the fun of cooking, and stuffed peppers give you a lot of leeway to try new things. I like to use different varieties of peppers, different bases for the filling (couscous and polenta, for example), different types of cheese (some of the authentic Mexican cheeses are awfully good), and different ground meats (beef, pork sausage, turkey, bison) – or no meat at all (it’s great vegetarian style)!
Basic Stuffed Peppers
- 4 big bell peppers (or others)
- 1 1/2 cups brown rice, cooked
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- Salt, pepper and cilantro to taste
- 1 cup of pureed tomatoes
- 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
- 2-3 dashes Tabasco sauce
- 1 lb. cooked ground meat (optional)
- Cut the tops off the peppers and save to trim and chop (or cut the peppers in half vertically). Steam them and set aside to cool. (Some recipes don’t call for this, but I like to steam them so they are nice and tender and it also reduces the baking time.)
- Cook the onion and chopped pepper trimmings (if you don’t have trimmings, dice another whole pepper) on medium/low heat in olive oil in a large skillet. When the onion and pepper is soft, add the garlic and cook for a couple more minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and cilantro. Stir in the tomato, ground meat, cheese and Tabasco.
- Turn the mixture into a large bowl along with the rice and mix thoroughly. Spoon the mixture into the cooled peppers in a glass baking dish and top with a little cheese. (There is always some rice filling left over which my boys eat standing at the counter.)
- Bake at 350 degrees to heat through and melt the cheese on top, 15-20 minutes.
Here are some more tasty ideas for using peppers from the Market.