Sunday, May 27, 2012

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Even though stuffed bell peppers should be the easiest fancy dish ever, this took us a couple tries to get right. The first time I was going off of several different internet recipes that all said to use uncooked rice, so I also used uncooked rice despite thinking it wasn't going to work. I was right and it did not work. Rich still says the first try was great, except for the rice, but I couldn't get past the hundreds of hard little uncooked rice grains... so the second time around I cooked the rice first.

Bell peppers
Soyrizo (or ground meat)
Cheese (pepper jack and Colby work really well)
Worcestershire sauce
Green onions
Black beans
Canned tomatoes
Canned diced peppers
Whatever else sounds good, honestly

This is a prettier photo than boiling rice, even if the step is useless.

All of the other internet recipes said to boil the bell peppers for five minutes to get the skins softer and more prepared to be baked, but the second time around we skipped this step and it didn't make any difference whatsoever. I'd say skip this step for the sake of time and all that water. Instead, use that water to boil your rice!

Cook the soyrizo! Seriously, soyrizo is the best meat-ish thing to put in a stuffed bell pepper. It has such a great flavor on its own that it imparts to the dish as a whole that ground beef or even ground turkey just won't be able to match. Go generous with the soyrizo because there's plenty of other ingredients that'll try to steal its thunder.

Add the diced onion (like, half the onion), chopped garlic, and for funzies some chopped bell pepper. I'm pretty sure there's some diced eggplant in this photo too... these two tries taught us that it really doesn't matter what you stuff inside a bell pepper as long as it tastes good to you.

 This mix is good all on its own.

Add the canned tomatoes, diced tomatoes, canned diced peppers (or diced jalapenos), black beans, corn, cilantro, green onions, Worcestershire sauce (about a table spoon), whatever seasonings you like, and mushrooms, if you like them cooked. I prefer fresh mushrooms so they were more garnish than ingredient.

Hollowed peppers

Cut out and clean the bell peppers. You can do them two ways: like a bucket, above, or like boats, below. The first time we used buckets because the peppers were small and were able to stand up on their own (you could also cut portions off the bottom to help them stand upright), but the second time we did it boat style because they were much bigger and more weirdly shaped. I like boat style best because it's easier to eat.


Spoon the delicious goodness that you've prepared (remember to mix the rice in) into your bell peppers. Fill those guys up to the brim and get the mix into the little crannies that bell peppers have. If you're doing them bucket style pack it in 'till it's almost overflowing. We also mixed some shredded cheese into the mix before stuffing the bell peppers to make it creamier.

Cheesey bell peppers

Top with cheese! The blend of Colby/Cheddar with pepper jack cheese is really pretty and it melts perfectly and the tastes complement each other. The meltyness helps keep the goods in the pepper.


Here are cheesy stuffed bell peppers boat style. These stood up in an 8x8 baking dish. (Because we're fatties, we each ate two... but when properly prepared and with rice they can be a meal on their own.)

That one has a chipotle cheese that I wanted to try. Yum.

Line the dish with foil (though I'm not sure what that does) and set up the bell peppers so that they won't move around. We fit 6 large halves together in a 13x9 baking dish. Cover the whole thing with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Check on them and if they look like they need a bit longer keep them in the oven another 10 minutes.

Maybe top with some mushrooms, or cilantro, or green onion and DIG IN. This is a super hearty meal that's surprisingly healthy and pretty impressive if you're going to serve a group (you could make a big pot of the mix ahead of time and bake the peppers right before guests arrive). Yum!

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