STUFFING A PEPPER

One of my very best friends once said, very wisely, that good weekends begin with good friends.  I wholeheartedly agree, and something that is just as true is that good weekends also begin with good food.  The bf and I had one of my best friends and her boyfriend over some time ago for a BBQ.  Our summers are hot, yet short and sweet, so any chance we have to eat outside, have a drink, and light the BBQ, we’ll take it.

Something that I’ve wanted to try is stuffed peppers. Now, usually, trying something new is something I’ll reserve for just myself and my bf, but this friend of my mine is also very food-oriented and enjoys experimenting, so another experienced opinion is never amiss.  This particular recipe is kind of a brain child of mine, as I combined elements of two different recipes.  Stuffed peppers is also something you can make for meat lovers and vegetarians alike.  Stuffed peppers can also be a main course just as easily as it can be a side dish.

Stuffed pepper recipes tend to have a few things in common, regardless of whether or not they are vegetarian.  They usually contain rice that’s already been cooked.  Other elements of the peppers’ filling are entirely up to you.  You can add some spicy peppers, corn, and tomatoes for a more Mexican feel, or you could do the meat route, cooking up some ground beef with some onions to mix with the rice.  If you want to make the stuffed peppers a main course, add beans to the Mexican mix and amp up the protein content.  However you choose to make them delicious, always top them with cheese!  You can never have too much cheese!

For our stuffed peppers, we choose some lovely red, orange, yellow, and green peppers. Colours are always good!

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Then cut them in half and wash and clean them so they can hold as much filling as possible.

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Once you have the peppers prepped, start on the filling.  Like most things I experiment with, they usually end up being a two-person job.  If you don’t have two people, give yourself lots of time and start with the peppers.  Because cooked rice makes things easier in the long run, start your rice as soon as possible.

Once you’ve got things underway, start the filling by sauteing some onions.  Give them looooots of time.  The more the better!

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To the onions, add some garlic, and now is the time that you can season with salt and pepper.  Let the onion and garlic go for as long as you wish.  I kept mine on low for about 20 minutes as I prepped the rest of the filling and the rest of dinner.  Let the onions get nice and caramelized so they are a lovely golden brown.  The garlic should be golden and fragrant as well – you don’t want to burn the garlic!

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Once you see the garlic and onion is caramelized, add some corn and hot peppers.  You want the corn and peppers to be nice and soft as you saute them with the onions.

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Give the mixture another 5-10 minutes until the corn and peppers are nice and soft and the peppers are just beginning to have a little colour on them.  Season again with some salt and freshly ground pepper.

When you are ready to combine everything, find a nice big bowl.  Scrape everything into it – cooked rice, and onion mixture from the stove.  Now is a time to do final tasting – add salt and pepper if needed.  I also added some oregano to the mixture.  Spoon the mixture into your lovely clean, halved peppers and top with cheese.  The type of cheese is entirely up to you – we used some nice white cheddar, but you could also use a pre-grated mixture or simply whatever you have in the fridge.

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Once they are filled and covered, pass them out to the BBQ to get some colour on them and to melt the cheese.  This is a great opportunity to make sure everything gets warmed through, and you don’t have to worry about cooking anything.

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If you’ve decided to make the peppers more of a main course, add the beans/ground beef to the rice at the same point as you would the onion mixture that you sauteed.

Alright, here is what you’ll need for the stuffed peppers:

STUFFED BELL PEPPERS

1-2 tbsp canola oil
4-5 bell peppers, assorted colours (red/yellow/orange/green)
1 onion, diced and sauteed
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 jalapeno peppers, diced (more if you like it spicy!)
1/3-1/2 cup corn, frozen or from a can
2 cups rice, already cooked
1/2 tsp oregano
1-2 cups cheese, grated (could be white cheddar, marble, or pre-grated mix)
salt
freshly ground pepper

First, wash, clean and halve the bell peppers.  Set aside.  Set a medium saute pan on medium heat.  Add canola oil and heat until oil runs like water across the pan.

Add onion to heated pan.  Saute and caramelize for 15-20 minutes, until nice and golden brown.  Add minced garlic and continue to saute until fragrant and light golden brown.  Add salt and pepper to the pan.  Add the corn and the jalapeno peppers.  Saute until corn and peppers are soft and the peppers begin to colour.

In large mixing bowl, combine cooked rice with sauteed onion mixture.  Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper; add oregano.  Stir and fill the pepper halves.  Top with grated cheese.

Put on top shelf of the BBQ to melt cheese and get some char marks on the peppers.

Serve and enjoy!

Thanks for reading! Happy eats!
xoxo
~e.

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