Sunday, January 11, 2015

Recipe of the Week: Southwestern Stuffed Peppers (Smothered in Cheese and Tomato Sauce)

Last fall, we got into the habit of making stuffed peppers for dinner. Our friend Kathleen had been gifting us with these gorgeous sweet red peppers, and stuffing them with rice, meat, and beans, then smothering the peppers in tomato sauce topped with bubbly melty cheese, quickly became our favorite way to eat them. But it is winter, and the only peppers we have in the house are the ones we had chopped up and froze. In a pinch, I settled for some store-bought poblano peppers.

This recipe for Southwestern stuffed peppers is fairly flexible. In fact, I've never made it the same way twice, and you definitely don't have to do it the way I did (this time)! Feel free to substitute some of the pepper filling with what you have at home. Try it with chorizo sausage or ground lamb or use some other kinds of cheese or beans! For this round of stuffed peppers, I went the Southwestern route.

6 poblano peppers
1 lb of ground beef
2 cloves garlic
1 cup of brown rice, cooked
1 cup of sweet corn
2 cups of beans (I used black beans)
4 cups of grated Chipotle Jack cheese
4 cups of tomato sauce
fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste

spice mix: in a small bowl, combine the following spices and set aside
1/2 tbsp chili powder
1/4 tbsp ground coriander
1/2 tbsp paprika
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tbsp dried oregano

Preheat oven to 425F.
Cut the tops of peppers and remove seeds.
Prepare sauce by combining 4 cups of tomato sauce with 2 tbsp of spice mix. Let this simmer while you work on the stuffing.
In a skillet, cook garlic until fragrant, then add beef and cook through.
In a large bowl, combine rice, beans, corn, and beef, and 1 tbsp of spice mix.

Add 1 cup of grated cheese to rice mixture; stir well to combine.
When peppers are stuffed, ladle some tomato sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Add peppers to the tomato sauce, then bake for 25 minutes.

Remove from oven, gently flip peppers, cover with remaining grated cheese, and bake for another 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted.

Serve hot!

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