Dinners

Super Stuffed Peppers

So last night I had no idea what to make for dinner. The only meat that I had thawed was ground beef, and we’ve had a lot of beef lately. Beef tacos, meatloaf, meatballs, beef tomato sauce, beef chili, so much friggin’ beef!  We’ve had to repeat these recipes a few times over. Not that those haven’t been delicious, because I can make some damn fine beef, but I wanted something different for dinner, something new. I left the choice up to Bronson, I told him to challenge me. He came right back at me with stuffed peppers.

Stuffed peppers? I’d only had them once before in my entire life, and they were delicately prepared and frozen with love by Stouffer’s. Yeah…So, I figured, what the hell? I could certainly cook up a better stuffed pepper, with much more love and no frozen anything. I looked up a few stuffed pepper recipes and saw the basic principles; beef, rice, tomatoes, hulled peppers, spices, etc. I went for it!

I started by browning some ground beef in a large skillet with a diced onion, a minced Serrano pepper, a minced Jalapeno pepper, a few cloves of chopped garlic, and salt and pepper, of course.

 When the beef was browned and the onion was translucent, I transferred it into a large mixing bowl and added a cup of cooked brown rice, some chopped cilantro, salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and about a cup of breadcrumbs. I also drained a can of diced tomatoes and threw them in there too. Looking back, I should have put some tomato paste or barbecue sauce in there for some extra flavor, to round it all out.

 I cut the tops off of my peppers and hulled out the inside, got rid of all of all of the white innards, and filled them with the meat mixture. I wanted to make sure that the peppers were full and solid, so that when I cut into them to eat, the delicious insides didn’t just fall out onto the plate like a landslide. The breadcrumbs also helped to pack everything together inside the peppers.

I topped the peppers with more breadcrumbs, and then drizzled some olive oil over them. I happened to have bought peppers with pretty flat bottoms, but if your peppers have bumpy bottoms, just trim them down a little so that they had flat bottoms. Their jeans will be so sad…

I baked them at 475 degrees for 35 minutes, then broiled them for ten minutes to finish them.

Look at my pretty little pepper! When Bronson came home from his twelve hour shift, he was so happy to walk into a home smelling of spicy peppers and toasted breadcrumbs. When we sat down to dinner and cut into the peppers, the meaty insides stayed exactly where they were supposed to. Our knives cut through the peppers like butter, and the sweet, tanginess of them was an excellent pairing with the savory beef and rice. The peppers were delicious, but like I said, some tomato paste and/or barbecue sauce in the meat mix would have knocked these stuffed peppers out of the park! All in all, not too shabby for my second stuffed pepper meal, and my first time making them myself.

Recipe for Stuffed Peppers:

4 bell peppers, tops cut off and insides cleaned, bumpy bottoms trimmed flat
1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1 serrano pepper, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup cooked rice
Generous handful of chopped cilantro
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
2 teaspoons chili flakes
1 cup breadcrumbs, plus more for topping
Salt
Pepper
1/2 can tomato paste and/or 3 tbsp of your favorite barbecue sauce – My suggestion
Olive oil to drizzle

Brown beef in pan with garlic, minced peppers, garlic, salt and pepper. In a separate saucepan, cook 1 cup of rice. When beef is browned, transfer to a large mixing bowl and combine with cooked rice. Add cilantro, spices, breadcrumbs and tomato paste/barbecue sauce. Fill bell peppers with meat mixture, press it in, and stand them upright on a baking sheet. Top with breadcrumbs, drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 475 degrees for 35 minutes, broil for another ten. Peppers should be soft, with crispy, lightly browned tops.

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