Friday, February 18, 2011
Stuffed Bell Peppers
I like stuffed bell peppers, but I'd never made them myself because they can be time-consuming. These are slightly ambitious (for me), but worth the effort! I just used what I had on hand, and since I only had three peppers, I cut the meat back to half a pound and halved the rice recipe. It filled the three peppers, with about a cup left over for snacks.
Mexican Stuffed Bell Peppers
Slightly adapted from The Crepes of Wrath (my favorite cooking blog)
For the meat:
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. ground chicken or turkey (I used turkey)
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp chipotle chili powder (I used regular)
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
¼ tsp ground cumin
For the rice:
1/3 cup olive, canola, or vegetable oil
2 cups long grain white rice, uncooked (I used medium grain)
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, roughly chopped
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 Tbsp chili powder
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
¼ tsp salt, plus more to taste
For the peppers:
4-5 bell peppers
1 ½ cups pepperjack cheese (or your choice of cheese)
1. For the meat: Heat oil over medium heat in a large pot. Saute the minced shallot until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute or so. Add the ground chicken, then the spices. Cook for 8 minutes or so, until cooked through, but don't overcook.
2. Remove the meat from the pot and place in a bowl. Cover with foil and set aside. Drain the pot of any grease that has accumulated (I used lean turkey, so I didn't have to do this).
3. For the rice: Preheat the oven to 325 F. Rinse the rice until the water runs clear (I didn't do this, but maybe you need to if you buy rice in bulk?). Heat olive oil in an oven-proof pot over medium heat. Add rice and cook until almost translucent, about 8 minutes. (I was skeptical about leaving dry rice to cook in oil, but it didn't burn!) Add in the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
4. In a food processor or blender (yay Magic Bullet!), process the can of tomatoes with its juices, chopped onion, and chili powder.
5. When the rice and garlic are ready, add the tomato mixture to the rice, stir, and add broth. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then cover and place in the oven. After 15 minutes, remove from the oven and stir to make sure it isn’t burning on the bottom, then return to the oven for another 15-20 minutes, until most of the vegetable broth has been soaked up by the rice. (Due to the half-recipe, my rice only needed to cook for about 15 minutes total.) Stir and taste for seasoning. Add rice to the chicken or turkey mixture, and stop when you have added the amount that you want. Use the leftover rice to serve on the side or as leftovers for the next night. Or you can just mix it all up and have a sort of chicken/turkey fried rice later!
6. For the peppers: While the rice cooks, clean peppers and slice off their tops. Roast on a baking sheet in a 325 degree F oven for 10 minutes or so, until just barely tender. You can do this while baking the rice. Remove and set aside until ready to use.
7. When the meat and rice are ready, stuff the bell peppers with the mixture. Cover the tops with pepperjack cheese (I used regular Monterey Jack, but pepperjack would be delicious). Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes or so, until the cheese is bubbling.