Thursday, March 29, 2007

Stuffed Bell Pepper, Tex-Mex style

You will need a sweet bell pepper for this, orange or yellow-- they really compliment the spicy hot sauce and rice. I intended on baking the stuffed peppers, but found out I preferred them tender and still crunchy. Cook em at the end if you want the peppers even softer. Without the baking step, this was a quick, finger-food dinner that's easily doubled to feed 2 people.

Makes two stuffed pepper halves -OR- one 'whole' stuffed pepper (a half is shown above).
25 minutes; (45 minutes with baking)
Preheat oven to 350 F
-medium saucepan
-medium (or large) pot
-cookie sheet covered with Aluminum foil (if baking)
Quick and simple

1 large orange or yellow bell pepper
1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 c. uncooked white long grain rice
1/2 c. water, for cooking rice
1/4 lb ground beef
+6 heaping tbsp. favorite GF salsa (I used my own, but I think Pace Picante sauce is GF)
2 tbsp. chili powder*
1 tbsp. ground cumin*
cheese for topping

*McCormick spices are GF

1. Coarsely cut onion into small-ish pieces. Wash and core the bell pepper.. either remove the stem and leave as is (hole on top, forming sort of a mug) -OR- remove the stem and cut downward lengthwise, so that the pepper is halved into shallow-er bowls. I liked the bowls, since you could eat it with your fingers and they will for sure cook with the rice.
2. Begin cooking rice: pour uncooked rice into water and heat over 'high'. Place bell pepper halves into the same pot just when the rice begins to boil. Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer gently, uncovered, for 10 more minutes, stirring every so often to evenly cook the bell pepper.
3. While rice/pepper is cooking, place washed ground beef into medium saucepan. Start cooking over medium heat. When the meat is browned (outside no longer pink ~ 5 minutes), add in the chopped onion. Season generously with chili powder and cumin. Cook onion and meat until meat is fully cooked and onion just starts to wilt (not totally translucent, yet; another 5 minutes).
4. Rice and bell pepper should be done by now. Carefully remove hot bell pepper from rice and rinse under cold water. It should be firm, but slightly soft. Set on prepared cookie sheet. Make sure to re-drain any more water that's collected inside the peppers once again before filling.
5. Turn back to rice.. add in 6 (or more, if you wish) heaping spoonfuls of salsa to the warm rice. Stir to combine well and heat thoroughly.
6. Also add in cooked beef/onion mixture to rice and salsa. Re-heat briefly over medium heat of a minute or two if you desire. Remove from burner and mix in cheese of choice.
7. Spoon rice/salsa/beef/onion mixture into waiting, drained crisp-tender bell pepper halves (or stuff all into the top of one whole bell pepper), distributing equally. Smother top again with more cheese.
8. Immediately serve hot with some chips and dip, or refried beans, or continue on...
9. Pop the stuffed bell pepper into the preheated oven. Cook for an additional 20 minutes, or until bell pepper is fully tender and cheese is melted.


Sheri said...

I really like your recipes and the "size" of them - namely, well, you know - eating for 1 or 2. Since The Man is gone all the time, I can always use new ideas!

smash. said...

Thanks! I really like reading through your recipes for inspiration. I'm glad you use ingredients that are not terribly exotic, so I can actually find them!

I wish Spring would return to Illinois... I'm so ready to plant some herbs!