I've always wanted to try to make stuffed peppers, bell peppers that is. The first time I tried a stuffed pepper was on a trip to Greece. Suprisingly there was a fair amount of vegetarian fare in Greece, beyond the Greek salad. Or as they refer to it as, salad. There was the spanakopita and of course the stuffed pepper. I actually didn't know that it was a Greek dish (and technically still don't know if it is) but regardless, it was good stuff. Rice, beans and veggies stuffed into a vegetable, yum! I've always wanted to try to make it, and after seeing Bethenny Frankel make it once on her show, I wanted to make it even more. (No, my love for Bethenny has since diminished, for many reasons, much too many to get into here. But do not worry, I still watch her show.) The reason I never made it in the past is because you are committed to a whole pepper. Whether it's too much or not enough, you have to consume that portion. I thought it would be something impressive to make for a dinner party, but then you have to make enough peppers per person, plus extra (for the option of seconds of course) and it just wasn't for me. And with bell peppers being about a buck a pop, that gets to be a pretty expensive side dish.
So I found this recipe in the quick and easy Martha Stewart book and decided to try it. I like that the pepper was halved and then stuffed, as opposed to stuffing everything into one whole bell pepper. I had to make some adjustments, of course. I added more into the filling (rice and corn) to make it a little more filling. The result was a success! I had so much filling that I took two bell peppers, halved them and put stuffing into it and gave it to my parents. The sauce was really good as well, but unfortunately because I used fresh tomatoes instead of canned tomatoes I did not have enough sauce, and it was oh so good! I mashed up the pepper and rice and added some low fat sour cream for Bambino and she devoured an entire pepper on her own!
This is good, good stuff. I will definitely make it again. It's great for a full meal for a vegetarian or you can add in some shredded chicken to the filling and perfect for a meatavarian. I think the next time I make it I will make half with chicken and half without so Hubby can eat some too.
1 can whole tomatoes (28oz) in puree
1/2 red onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
salt and pepper
2 cups cooked black beans (Or 1-15 oz can)
2 ears of corn with kernels chopped off
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup water
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon of chili powder (or more, depending on taste)
1/4 cup uncooked rice
1/2 cup water
4 large poblano peppers, cut in half with seeds and stems removed
1. Place 1/4 cup rice in a pot with 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer until all water is absorbed.
2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a food processor, pulse tomatoes, 1/2 of onion and 2 garlic cloves. Season with salt and pepper. Pour sauce into a greased baking dish.
3. In a bowl, combine cooked rice, black beans, corn, cornmeal, 1/2 cup cheese, remaining onion and garlic, chili powder, cumin (I was generous with the chili powder and cumin), 3/4 cup water and season with salt and pepper.
4. Dividing evenly, stuff peppers with rice/bean mixture and place on top of sauce in baking dish and cover with aluminum foil.
5. Bake in oven until peppers are tender, about 45 minutes. Remove aluminum foil and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese and bake an extra 10-15 minutes more.
6. Cool and serve
The extra filling used for stuffed bell peppers
Amateur Cooking Difficulty Scale: 7
I thought this was going to be an easy shmeasy dish to make, but I was wrong. Because I used fresh tomatoes (Which I boiled and then removed the skin before putting them in the food processor), used raw beans (which had to soak the night before then cooked in the pressure cooker) and made fresh rice, it turned out to be a bit more complicated with a lot of dishes to wash!
I did like the dish a lot, so next time I know what I'm getting into and will plan my day accordingly. Also, I liked the taste of the fresh tomatoes, so next time I'll have to use about 10, since 6 were not enough.