Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Cafeteria Chic – Beef and Rice Stuffed Bell Peppers... a Work in Progress

The last time I saw stuffed bell peppers, they were sitting in a steam table in a hospital cafeteria. I didn't get them, but it was tempting. I really love the flavor profile of stuffed bell peppers, or as they say in hospital cafeterias, I like the flavor of stuffed bell peppers.

The sweet bitterness of the roasted pepper, along with the aromatic, meaty filling makes for a very nice plate of food. And of course, any time you can get your meat, vegetable, and starch in one neat package, you have to love that.

As I say at the beginning of the video, I'm still playing around with different fillings for this recipe before deciding on which version goes in the cookbook. This is pretty close however, and no matter what you use, the technique for prepping the peppers is basically the same.

Many people boil the peppers for a few minutes first. I don't, and have never felt the need to. Also, many recipes call for browning the beef first, then making the stuffing. I may try that out, but I've always used raw meat, and think it's probably a better way to go.

The biggest potential change to the recipe you see in the clip is the meat. For t
he cookbook, I'll probably use a sausage and beef blend. More flavor, and more fat, usually means a better recipe, but stay tuned for the final word on that.

The ingredients below are exactly what I used, but I've made notes next to some with suggestions. If you give these a try, and come up with some incredible combination, please let me know. Enjoy!


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Ingredients:
6 bell peppers
1 1/2 pounds ground meat (I used all lean beef, but suggest you try 1 lb. beef with 1/2 lb. pork sausage)
1/2 onion, sliced
2 cups tomato sauce, divided (I would increase this to 3 cups, and use an extra cup in the baking dish)
1/2 cup beef broth (I would increase this to 1 cup)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
4 cloves garlic, minced fine
1/2 cup finely grated real Parmesan cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano)
1 1/2 cups cooked rice

35 comments:

Jack Parker said...

This might be a silly question, Chef, but what other things are peppers stuffed with? I've always seen a rice and meat mix. For some reason that doesn't appeal to me but stuffing peppers does. I just can't imagine what else to experiment with. Any ideas? A single stuffed pepper seems like the perfect portion size for a meal.

Chef John said...

maybe with cheeses, other grains, barley, or lentils, orzo, etc. Play around!

KPeff said...

In my family, we always use green bell peppers, and we serve them with mashed potatoes to soak up the gravy.

Birder said...

Great base recipe idea! I can see myself making this, but with the addition of what should be unlawful amounts of garlic.

Don Madrid said...

For the stuffing. I used ground beef, a spicy smoked chorizo and bacon since I didnt have enough ground beef. It really jazzed it up.

KrisD said...

I use ground lamb--and I think (IMO) the benefit of cooking the meat first is that you KNOW it's cooked and the dish is a little less greasy.

proximation said...

really awesome wish we had such nice peppers in India though. Ours are really small stlll gonna give it a try though . . .thank u chef :)

Amirali said...

Hi! Happy new camera ;)

BTW, in Iranian (Persian) cuisine, we always add a bit of Turmeric to the mix. we also keep the stem on the peppers as a sort of handle! ...we do stuffed aubergins and stuffed big white onions as well! try them ! (take a look at here for aubergine version, i'm afraid the text is in persian : http://matbakhchi.blogfa.com/post-25.aspx)

Moyses said...

Sea foods are great as a base for the stuffing as well (shrimp, salmon, etc). Also, when we make these with meat and rice, there's always a very, very generous pouring of olive oil on top of it. I mean, you know that hissing and sizzling the peppers make right after you pull them off the oven? They're happy because they know the olive oil is coming... Indulge them! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Could I use marinara instead of tomato sauce?

Sal said...

Chef, why cut off the stem from the tops? For venting? Wouldn't the stem help with presentation?

Chef John said...

stem is very bitter and I think this looks better, but you can leave yours.

Chef John said...

yes, i used marinara myself

Liz said...

I'm a new visitor here and I LOVE the video format. I've never made stuffed peppers before, which is strange, considering I like everything that goes in them. I am definitely inspired to try and look forward to experimenting with fillings!

Livia said...

I've tried various stuffed bell peppers in the US, but none of them really appealed to me. Mostly because I find the Hungarian version so much better (and so did any American who tried my cooking).
The basic difference is that we use a pepper with thinner meat to stuff. This pepper also has spicy versions, which adds extra flavor, if one so desires. But the thick meat of the bell pepper really spoils this dish for me.

Anonymous said...

Green bell peppers, cut in half from bottom to top will look like little boats. Filling is chopped beef, cooked rice, basil, oregano, salt & pepper, mix with crushed tomatoes, Put the peppers in a large frying pan and salt the inside then mound in the meat mixture. Pour the rest of the crushed tomatoes on top, drizzle olive oil and add more basil and oregano and salt & pepper. Cover and let simmer until pepper are tender. Take cover off and continue to cook so the tomato sauce cooks down a bit. Serve over cooked rice.

Anonymous said...

Stuff long thin green peppers with bread. My mother-in-law did this over 50 years ago and I make it to this day. Italian bread broken in small pieces or cut into cubes, add to that grated Italian cheese, garlic, basil, oregano, salt & pepper. The only liquid is crushed canned tomatoes. When the bread soaks up the liquid and is no longer grainy but holds together, cut the tops off the peppers and dig out the seeds. Stuff peppers with the bread mixture. I use the handle of a wooden spoon to help push the stuffing to the bottom of the pepper. Don't over stuff, leave a little room at the top for expansion. Fry in olive oil turning often until brown on all sides. Today instead of frying you can put them on a sheet pan with sides, with a drizzle of olive oil and bake until peppers are wilted and slightly browned. Sprinkle salt after they are baked/fried, I have always fried. That is how my mother-in-law taught me. Hard to break old habits.

poophead said...

It seems like there would be way too much fat in the pepper if you didn't render it a little bit before hand.

maybe using some dark chicken meat or stew meet wouldn't be a bad idea (given that you are cooking it for up to 2 hours).

Also, it seems like you use a lot less rice than I've ever seen before. Is this personal preference or does it turn out better this way.

I love the site, and I LOVED your bbq sauce. Good luck on the cookbook!

Chef John said...

regarding the fat, there's no difference between this and meatloaf, or meatballs, etc. no don't cook those first, so that's not a prob.

Amount of rice is totally random. You can use more for sure.

Lastly, change your handle! I can't post comments from "poophead"

Chef John said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nancy said...

I have also done this with couscous if you don't like rice. Couscous, chickpeas, feta and beef or lamb. Its fantastic and so easy to make rather healthy.

frabala said...

Hello Chef John,

I must admit that your recipe is almost tha same with the greek 'gemista'. Gemista are green and red pepers and also tomatoes with rice, meat and dril.

In Greece we also cook that way little fresh zuchini. (The recipe is here: http://frabala.com/2010/02/small-squashes-stuffed-with-rice-and-miced-meat/)

For another time cons for your video!!!\

frabala

Rita said...

we love stuffed bell peppers. thanks for the recipe and the technic.

by the way, i voted for you, of course. this is something that we can vote everyday, i hope? i really didn't see any kind of rules on their site.

Chef John said...

thanks! I believe you can only vote once

Livia said...

Yep, only once, I tried ;-). Of course, you can make an account for your husband, children, grandparents, etc. And log on from different IP addresses :-)

ShootingLittleStar said...

Thanks for the inspiration, Chef John! I made a variation of these for dinner today, and they were deeeelicious! I posted pictures on my friend's blog. http://www.craftybakers.com/2010/03/stuffed-bell-peppers-remix.html

Anonymous said...

In Turkey we use green capsicum as the red ones have a sweet taste- honestly I don't like this taste either. You may google it typing "etli biber dolmasi" (meat stuffed bell pepper) or the vegetarian version "zeytinyagli biber dolmasi". For the stuffing, we cook the meat a little bit and then add some onion and then some tomato paste. When the meat and onion are a little bit cooked, we add some rice and mix them 2-3 minutes. Then we add some water (for 1 cup of rice 2/3 cup of water)and cook until the rice absorbs all the water. The we generally add parsley and dill. You may add spices and salt as you wish- especially black pepper, Turkish chili and mint. But anyways I liked the idea of cheese and I'll try this version someday =)

Chef John said...

Those look great! Thanks!

Karen said...

Making these tonight, chef! I love these pretty standard beef-filled tomatoes. So yummy.

Even though a few nights ago I made some vegetarian "Mediterranean" peppers with eggplant, feta, san marzano tomates, onions, and herbs-- topped with whole-wheat (panko) breadcrumbs. But I pretty much sauteed the filling myself before baking for like, 20 minutes. I think this method is more time consuming but I'm sure letting everything simmer together is what makes them more delicious.

tipsi said...

Dear Chef,

You have a great foodblog here. I saw one of your videos in Youtube and got myself directed here. I like your comments too and style. Thanks. Will be doing some recipes soon! Have a great day, and happy cooking too!!

Betsy

Fred said...

Love you, your site, and your food. Here's my attempt at your awesome stuffed pepper recipe. I would love a chef john verdict.

maila said...

hi mr chef.. what can i use instead of balsamic vinegar in making my beef and rice stuffed peppers? thanks.. i really love your site..

Chef John said...

another vinegar with a pinch of sugar, or leave out

Julia said...

I tried this for dinner tonight and it came out delicious...the peppers were so sweet and flavorful and the filling was great...I was worried about not cooking the meat first but it was fine...the rice really absorbed all the flavor...and the pan sauce...with the onions...YUMMY...the balsamic vinegar and the red pepper really push it over the top!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm currently living in Costa Rica, where chiles rellenos are different from the baked stuffed version that I've done in the U.S. I showed my Costan Rican housemates how to prepare them using your recipe and and cooking them in an electric skillet instead of the oven, and they loved them! We had to use cilantro, as Italian parsley doesn't seem to exist here.