Thursday, October 11, 2012
Stuffed Green Peppers
This recipe is 100% adaptable. I actually make it a different way every time. Different cheeses or no cheese, ground beef or some other protein... as long as there's no rice involved and lots of tomato sauce or salsa.. it's going to be yummy.
3 green peppers (or 1 per person)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 lb. Ground Beef
mashed potatoes, to suit (about 3 medium potatoes)
2 c. Salsa or Tomato Sauce
3/4 c. shredded cheddar
crumbled bacon (optional)
Prep the green pepper by removing the seeds and pith and cutting in half lengthwise. Blanche the green pepper halves in boiling water for 5 min. (I doused them in ice cold water afterwards; though it didn't make an earth-shattering difference, I'll probably do it again.) Set to drain and cool on paper towels.
Saute the onion in a little oil. Add the ground beef and cook thoroughly. Drain, if you like. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Stir in mashed potatoes to preferred ratio. I like mine 1:1, so I add enough mashed potatoes to double the beef mixture*. Spoon the mixture into each pepper half, getting it into all the nooks and crannies of bell pepper goodness.
Cover the bottom of a 9x13 pan with the rest of the tomato sauce. Set the six pepper halves inside it carefully.
Top the mixture with a teaspoon of salsa or tomato sauce, then a hearty sprinkling of cheddar cheese and bacon, if you like.
Bake at 350 for 20-30 min. or until cheese is totally melted.
*Some tips about the filling:
--I take a super shortcut and use dry mashed potatoes and water. This helps me make exactly as much mashed potato as I need and no more.
--No matter how many peppers I'm filling, I only make one pound of beef. If I'm only filling 3 pepper halves, I use less potato. If I'm making for guests too, I increase the potatoes and add more cheese/bacon on top. This just makes my life simpler.
--I also like to saute some yellow and red peppers with the onions occasionally, to add more veggies to the filling.
Why this recipe?
The idea for this recipe originally came from a stuffed poblano I had in a Mexican restaurant in college. It had an amazing cheesy potato filling. I knew (and still know) nothing about Mexican food. I only realized it was a poblano pepper about two years ago when I saw the familiar oblong shape in the Kroger near the bell peppers. I had already made up this recipe to recreate that old college experience using what I did know.
Why don't I use poblano peppers now, you ask?
Abouna doesn't like any level of heat. I sometimes roast a poblano and chop it up and sprinkle it on top of the filling.
Why don't I mix cheese in the filling? Abouna's not a huge cheese-maniac like I am, so I have mercy on him and on my waistline by putting the cheese where it counts--right on top! Feel free to adapt the filling any way you like!