I posted a while back about making stuffed peppers. I had done so after encountering so many different recipes with different methods that I finally just threw up my hands and selected one that had a pretty good rating. I liked it a lot. Like, a lot a lot. Very yummy. But there are two main disadvantages to that recipe. First, it kept the peppers whole, not halving them, and the result seems like far too much food for one person. Also, it involved putting the beef in the peppers to cook meatloaf-style, and while that is yummy, it also doesn’t give you the chance to drain out the fat.
After this first attempt, I thought I’d put another recipe to the test. This recipe was supposed to be a lot healthier. I’m down for that.
First, mince an onion.
Also chop up a tablespoon of cilantro. Interestingly, I happened to have some.
And here’s my lazy version of minced garlic. I’m sure it would have been better fresh. It’s just hard to have fresh garlic on hand when you’re only cooking for two. Mine always gets rubbery and grows shoots.
When you’re done prepping, drop the onion, garlic, and cilantro in a hot skillet with some olive oil.
Cook it up for a few.
After a few minutes, add ground beef. Should have been ground turkey, according to the recipe, and that would have made it healthier, but try convincing my husband that turkey > beef. Also, that’s just what I had. I really should start making that substitution here and there.
Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cumin, and keep browning the meat.
Drain off any excess fat, if you’re using beef, and add just a little tomato sauce. I think my camera got a little too close – I steamed up the lens a bit.
And then add a little bit of chicken broth.
And then just simmer for a while.
Meanwhile, prep your peppers. I used three each of red and green, but of course that’s personal preference. Just remove the stems and scoop out the seeds and membranes.
I had an open can of diced tomatoes from another dish in the fridge, so I added a bunch of those to the meat mixture. Go me.
Finally, add in some cold, clumpy, cooked rice. I suppose it could be hot, fresh rice, but that’s not what I had.
Stir it up until it’s nice and hot.
Fill the pepper halves with the mixture (be careful – it’s hot!) and place in a casserole dish.
Add some more chicken broth to the bottom to keep them all moist.
Grate some cheddar cheese.
And sprinkle it on top of your peppers. Then notice that you were supposed to wait until after baking them. Ah well. I like to live on the wild side.
Cover with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes.
Here are my thoughts.
Appearance: way better than the last time. The peppers were firm, not droopy, despite the chicken broth that they’d cooked in, and the cheese looked a lot better than the crusty tomato sauce. And having them in halves just looked better than stuffing them whole, as well.
Taste: Meh. I think the person who wrote the recipe deliberately didn’t top with tomato sauce, but I think this was a mistake. I topped all of my leftovers with tomato sauce and that made them way better. The beef mixture was good, but just not great. I know the original recipe called for turkey and that changing it to beef and then critiquing isn’t fair, but I have to say that neither the taste nor texture really did it for me. I think I’m a fan of the meatloaf-texture, as apposed to the taco meat texture, and the flavor was just plain missing something.
Not opposed to trying again, but definitely topped with sauce. And maybe I’ll stuff it with raw meat and bake longer. Okay, maybe I’ll just combine this recipe with the other one. *sigh* Why is this so difficult?
Oh, but by the way, I love stuffed peppers now. How did I make it so long without ever having them before?