Southwestern Stuffed Peppers
I’ve been known to give Rachel Ray some grief, but in reality, it’s just because I’m jealous of course. She’s made quite a name for herself coming up with inventive and fun dishes. And, without a doubt, she convinced more people in America to cook which is definitely a good thing.
But for some reason I have a hard time following her recipes. Maybe it’s pride. Maybe it’s that I’m pretty sure I can improve them. So it went with these peppers.
I was kind of shocked that they won the poll last week. But, clearly you guys were interested so I did my best to make them and even, I think, improve them a bit.
1) For rice, add stock, tomatoes, spices, and rice to a medium pan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, covered, and simmer for about 20 minutes. Be sure to check your rice for exact cooking times and liquid amounts.
2) For peppers, chop off stems, slice peppers in half and remove seeds. Roast in a 400 degree oven for 5 minutes per side. They shouldn’t be soggy, but should be flexible. Some scorch marks are good.
3) Chop onions and Serrano pepper and add to a medium pot with olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook for a few minutes, stirring, until onions are soft. Stir in cooked rice.
4) Season rice mixture with salt and pepper. Spoon it into pepper halves.
5) Serve with avocado, sour cream, and cilantro.
Making the Rice
While this recipe is in the spirit of the original, it’s really different on almost every level. For starters, Rachel uses a canned enchilada sauce to give her rice some flavor, but I’m a big fan of using real spices instead. It’s not like it’s that much more work to add a few spices and some tomato paste instead of a can.
That said, I did keep mine pretty simple.
Add the veggie stock (you could use chicken also) along with the tomato sauce (or strained tomatoes) to a medium pot along with a pinch of salt and all the spices.
Add in the rice and you’re ready to cook!
This will need to simmer, covered, on medium-low heat for about 20 minutes. You should check your rice cooking time though as it might vary a bit depending on what kind of rice you use. Whatever you do though, don’t use the instant stuff. It won’t really hold up to the flavors.
Again, I changed a lot from the original recipe, but I liked all my changes if I do say so myself. For starters, the original used cubanelle peppers, but I subbed poblanos. I think they have a bit more flavor and are a lot easier to stuff.
Just chop them in half and clean out all the seeds.
When it comes to cooking these guys, Rachel says to grill them in a grill pan. I don’t have a grill pan and the idea of firing up the grill for some stuffed peppers seemed a bit ridiculous. So I just roasted my peppers in a 400 degree oven for about 5 minutes per side.
You don’t want them soggy, but they should be flexible. Some scorch marks on the outside are nothing to be afraid of. They add great flavor.
Finishing the Rice
In a separate pan, add the olive oil over medium-high heat and toss in the diced onion and Serrano pepper. The Serrano is optional, but it gives the dish some nice heat.
Let this cook for a few minutes until the onions are soft and then add in all the rice. Stir it all together, season it with salt and pepper, and you’ll be in rice heaven.
Once your rice is done just add a good amount of it to each pepper half. Don’t worry about over-filling.
In fact, I encourage over-filling.
I suggest serving these guys with some sour cream and fresh avocado.
They can be a side, but we ate them as a meal and what a good meal it was!
I’m not really positive if my version was better than hers because I didn’t make hers, but mine was good enough for me. That’s for sure.
You’ll probably have some leftover rice after this dish which is great. The rice is delicious in burritos or just on its own.