I’ve officially moved out of my house in Georgetown. I spent all of last week sorting through and packing up a remarkable number of kitchen supplies, books, and other odds and ends that I have accumulated over the course of four years. It’s always a little weird when one moves, and this particular move was especially bittersweet as I knew that I may not see some of my friends for several months or, in some cases, years. It was also sad saying bye to our house on T Street. So long, “The Onionpocket!” I shall miss your amazing counter space and ridiculously colored walls. Something tells me that this was the first and last time that I will have a lime green living room and hot pink kitchen.
Part of my moving process involved uploading pictures to my computer. While browsing through my pictures, I came across a few shots of these delicious Mexican-rice stuffed peppers that I had made a couple of months ago but had never blogged. Major oops. I made these one night when I was craving Mexican food, and, with the variety of summer vegetables starting to appear at the grocery store and farmer’s market, I bet these would be great with some fresh corn, zucchini, and herbs added to the mix.
I didn’t have any meat on hand when making these, so I opted to use beans. I have made these before with meat, however, and they taste great with some ground chicken or beef. Just be sure to season them well and cook the meat separately and to season it well with onions and a Mexican spice blend. I usually serve this dish with a side salad of spinach, avocado, red onions, and a cilantro-lime vinaigrette. You can even crush up a few tortilla chips for an added crunch. The rice is simple to make and fun to experiment with, and its a great recipe to have on hand whenever you want to make burritos. I hope you consider making these this summer. Happy eating!
Stuffed Bell Peppers
Recipe adapted from The Crepes of Wrath.
This recipe makes a ton of rice and beans – far more than you need to stuff the peppers. Be sure to save some and make burritos or burrito bowls later in the week!
For the rice:
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 cups Basmati rice
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 onion, chopped
- 14.5 ounces diced or whole tomatoes with juices
- 1 tablespoon chili powder (I used Mexican chili powder)
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- ¼ teaspoon salt
For the beans:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
- ½ onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 teaspoon Mexican spice blend
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the peppers:
- 4-5 bell peppers cleaned, with the tops cut off and the seeds/ribs removed
- 1½ cups shredded cheese (I used a Mexican four-cheese blend, but Monterey Jack or Cheddar would taste great)
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Then, make your rice. In a fine mesh sieve, rinse your two cups of Basmati rice under cold water until the water runs clear. Shake off any excess water and set aside.
- Add your tomatoes (with their juices), chopped onion, salt, and chili powder. Process until smooth.
- In a medium pot that is oven safe, heat your olive oil over medium heat. Add the rice and cook until translucent, about 5-8 minutes. Add your garlic and cook for another two minutes.
- Add the tomato mixture plus vegetable broth to your rice.
- Bring it to a boil; then, cover and place in the oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove it from the oven and stir. Be sure to mix it well so that the rice on the bottom does not burn. Return it to the oven for 15 to 20 more minutes until the broth has been soaked up by the rice (it’s ok if it’s still a bit moist). Set aside.
- While your rice is cooking, you can prepare your bell peppers and prepare your beans. For the peppers, clean them well and slice off the tops. Carefully remove the ribs and seeds, rinse the inside and pat dry. You can roast these at the same time as the rice in the preheated oven for ten minutes until barely tender. Remove and set aside.
- As for your beans, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-low heat in a skillet. Add in your ½ onion and garlic; cook until the onions have softened and the garlic is fragrant. Then, add in your Mexican seasoning and cumin; stir to combine.
- Add in your beans. Raise the heat to medium and stir to combine. Allow to for 10-12 minutes or until the beans are heated through. Stir in your lime juice.
- Now it’s time to assemble your peppers. Combine your rice and beans (this recipe makes a TON of rice, so only add as much as you want and save the rest for another night). Fill each pepper 1/3 full with rice, then sprinkle with some cheese. Fill another 1/3, sprinkle some cheese, then finish filling the peppers and top with another sprinkle of cheese.
- Raise the oven’s temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake the peppers for 15 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and the peppers are tender. Serve warm.