Feb 10, 2010

Stuffed Bell Peppers

I've always "kind of" liked stuffed peppers, though probably more the idea of them than the reality. Actually, I've liked the filling but not the peppers they were stuffed into. The problem, I have come to discover, is that I'm not a big fan of green bell peppers. However, red, yellow, or orange bell peppers are a different story. So now I make stuffed peppers with bell peppers I like, and I end up eating both the peppers themselves and the filling. This recipe comes from America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook.

Salt
4 red, yellow, or orange bell peppers, 1/2 inch trimmed off the top, stemmed and seeded
1/2 cup long-grain white rice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped fine
3/4 pound (85 percent lean) ground beef
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained with 1/4 cup juice reserved
1 1/4 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup ketchup

1) Bring 4 quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Add the bell peppers and cook until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Remove the peppers from the water, allowing any excess water to drain back into the pot. Place the peppers, cut-side up, on a paper-towel-lined plate.

2) Return the water to a boil. Add the rice and cook until tender, about 13 minutes. Drain thoroughly and transfer to a large bowl.

3) Meanwhile, heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the beef and cook, breaking it into small pieces, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer the mixture to the bowl with the rice. Add the tomatoes, 1 cup of the cheese, and parsley to the rice and stir to combine. Season the rice mixture with salt and pepper to taste. In a separate bowl, combine the ketchup and reserved tomato juice.

4) Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the over to 350 degrees. Place the peppers, cut-side up, in a 9 by 9-inch baking dish. Divide the filling evenly among the peppers. Spoon the ketchup mixture over the tops of the peppers, then sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Bake until the cheese is browned and the filling is heated through, about 30 minutes.

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