My sister-in-law (and someone else but I can’t remember who) gave me a huge bag of peppers. I’m still not in the mood to put food up—for all I know, there’s a million bags of peppers in the bottom of my freezer—and there were too many to eat up fresh, so I decided to make a new-to-me recipe: stuffed peppers.
Stuffed peppers have always seemed like:
a) an elitist, stuffy (ha!) dish, and
b) a taboo,
a) hello, who spends time hollowing out peppers and making them stand on end? and
b) soft, cooked peppers and kids don’t mix.
But I did a little research and figured that at least I’d like them. And because I’m not adverse to letting my taste preferences override those of my family, I took the stuff-the-pepper plunge.
a) No, stuffed peppers are not pompous. Especially when you cheat by cutting them in half and laying them out flat on their backs. A belly-up pepper is decidedly not as intimidating as a standing one.
b) Yes, the kids will probably turn up their noses, but they are so incredibly delicious that who gives a fig. I happily ate all the leftovers and then felt sad when they were gone.
With inspiration from: Epicurious (Bon Appetit, another Bon Appetit, and Gourmet) and Finding Harmony.
This is a formula, not a recipe—I didn’t measure a thing. Which proves, once and for all, that stuffed peppers are nothing to fear.
I used sweet peppers and banana peppers. I loved the bite and texture (thinner and less mushy) of the banana ones, but both were excellent.
8-10 gnarly peppers, halved and cored
2-3 peppers, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 generous pound bulk sausage
2 onions, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon dried parsley (fresh would be best!)
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon chipotle pepper (or chile cobán)
2-3 cups cooked brown rice
2½ cups tomato sauce, divided
1 egg, beaten
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Arrange the pepper halves in two 9×13 glass pans and set aside.
Put the chopped peppers, sausage onions, and garlic, along with the olive oil, in a large skillet and cook over medium-high heat for about 15 minutes until the meat is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Add the paprika, parsley, black pepper, chipotle pepper, and salt, and cook another minute. Stir in the brown rice, ½ cup of tomato sauce, and the egg and stir well. Remove from heat.
Spoon the rice and sausage mixture into the pepper halves, pressing it firmly into the cavities—you want as much filling as possible per pepper. Spread/sprinkle the remaining two cups of sauce over the peppers.
Bake the peppers uncovered at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes or until the peppers get slightly brown around the edges and look weary. Remove from oven, sprinkle with the cheese, and return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes to melt the cheese.
Leftovers make superb lunches.
I make a "deconstructed" stuff pepper casserole with all of the same ingredients and then the same custard of eggs and milk that you would use for a dish of baked mac and cheese, mixed into it. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes. You get the flavors of stuffed peppers without all of the work and my kids all LOVE it. They have even been known to eat it cold from the fridge the next day.
I'll share! Currently my freezer is full of chili, spaghetti sauce, individual chicken pot pies, grilled chicken breasts, grilled hamburgers, meatballs, meatloaf, lots of fruit I put up this past summer. I think that's most of it. I'll have to try your stuffed peppers. It's not something I think to make, but I like them very much. Thanks for all the inspiration, Jennifer!
We freeze them individually and zap in the micro for 5-6 minutes for a super fast treat.
Do you freeze them while the peppers are still raw?
Nope, bake the whole batch, eat some, freeze the rest…we usually make a roaster pan full and eat only 1/4 of them that day. Love that the peppers did so well this year!
We use cheddar cheese mostly and half sausage, half ground beef. I like the idea of roasting them first too. We'll be trying that soon! Thanks so much for all of your sharing!
Every time I make these, people RAVE. They're probably the most ego-inflating thing I've ever served.
I love the idea of roasting the peppers FIRST.
My family is the same as yours. At this point Benny is the only one that semi-enjoys them! But I love them. Margo's idea of grilling the peppers definitely improves the texture.
I especially love the Mexican stuffed peppers in Simply in Season. I add some cheese to the filling.
There is a whopper bag of peppers in my fridge right now. I wonder if I could get away with serving them stuffed for a third time this fall…
I parboil my pepper halves for 3 minutes, then stuff with the cooked meat/rice mixture and freeze. Pull out from the freezer a couple/three hours before baking (30 min. in a 350° oven) and they are a super-good, "convenience" food all winter long.
I like the brown rice idea and the mozzarella cheese. Thanks for the link to my blog, too. The dishes you concoct are endless!
I don't care for the oven-baked kind of stuffed peppers. Don't like the texture of the outer pepper. I DO like grilling the pepper halves and then stuffing them -courtesy of your cuz. Blog post and "recipe" (blueprint) here:
What IS in your freezers? Aren't you curious? 🙂
The top layer is still overwhelming: lots of grains, nuts, coffee, fruit. Bags of green beans and peas.
A little further down, chicken, corn, squash, pestos, beef broth, deer bologna.
I haven't dug beyond that. Yet.