Tag Archives: stuffed peppers

Confessions of an Impulse Buyer – Stuffed Poblano Peppers

I’m an impulse buyer. Sometimes something calls to me like a Siren. I’m drawn to it, my reason somehow clouded by its alluring song. The temptress isn’t a designer bag or a beautiful pair of earrings; far from it. Quite often it is a jar of imported olives or an intriguing blend of ancient grains. Grocery stores and markets are my weakness, and I’m forever a sucker for the new and unusual.

Many a routine shopping trip meant to replenish our staples finds me coming home with some culinary treasure or another. My need to have whatever it is doesn’t care if there is little room to store it. So much so, that I’ve converted an entire closet in our minuscule apartment into a pantry. (Thank you Papa D for humoring me).

From time to time I pull myself out of my gastronomic reverie and take stock of my larder. I repentantly vow to use what is on hand before I buy anything else that could be considered non-essential. The time has come to take stock, take a vow, and start getting creative.Here is my counter of shame…yes all of these came out of my pantry. Sadly, this isn’t everything, I left the more plebian things out; actually I ran out of room. Some were actually purchased for a specific recipe, but many were acquired just to have. What’s Mama D to do?She made Stuffed Peppers for starters. Poblano peppers were stuffed with a quinoa rice blend that was good the first time around, but has been languishing in the dark ever since.  Since we were in a  “South of the Border” kind of vibe, I started with a Sofrito of sorts. In this case it was poblano, onion, garlic, and cilantro chopped finely and sautéed in a bit of olive oil. The liquid was predominantly Guajillo Chili Sauce (click here for the recipe). This gave the grain a hearty depth of flavor. I created lovely Poblano boats by cutting a large oval out of their sides. This also gave them great stability in the oven.The chopped up pepper scraps, some red bell pepper, onion, and Chipotle Chicken Sausage.Sauteed in a bit more olive oil, they gave the filling substantial substance. 

I added the rice to the above mixture and tossed everything together. I also added some Pepper Jack Cheese because I was feeling the need for an even bigger comfort food sensation ( nothing says comfort to me like adding some cheese). I over – filled the pepper boats because that’s how I roll. I even put some of the filling in the pan to act as a tasty platform for the peppers. They spent some time in the oven under a foil tent, when they were almost ready, I topped them with more cheese and let the broiler work its magic.

These were very tasty. The flavor was rich but surprisingly not too spicy. If you wanted to turn up the heat, you could add some chopped jalapenos or use a spicier chili sauce. By the way, if you don’t have the time or inclination to make scratch chili sauce, canned enchilada sauce would work as well. 

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Stuffed Poblano Peppers
Servings: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 Tblsp Sofrito
  • 2 Tblsp Olive Oil Divided
  • 1 Cup Chili Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 2 Tsp Cumin
  • 2/3 Cup Brown Rice Or other grain blend
  • 2 Large Poblano Peppers
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Red Bell Pepper
  • 3/4 Cup Chopped Onion
  • 1/2 Cup Chicken Broth More or less as needed
  • 2 Links Chipotle Chicken Sausage Quartered lengthwise and chopped
  • 3/4 Cup Shredded Pepper Jack Cheese divided
Instructions
  1. Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the Sofrito and cook for 3 - 4 minutes until it is fragrant.

  2. Add the rice or grain blend and stir to mix in the sofrito. Cook another 3-4 minutes, stirring often.

  3. Add the chili sauce, water, and cumin and stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer, cover and cook 15 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed. Set aside.

  4. Cut a large oval out of the side of each pepper. Carefully remove the seeds and membranes. Each pepper should look like a little boat when you are finished. Chop the pieces that were cut out and add them to the onions and red peppers. Set the pepper boats aside.

  5. In a large skillet, heat the remaining olive oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the onions, red peppers, and chopped poblano pieces. Cook, stirring occasionally until everything softens and browns slightly. Add the chopped sausage to the pan and cook for several minutes more

  6. Add the reserved grain mixture to the pan.  Add enough broth to loosen the mixture slightly. It should be moist but not soggy. Cook for a few minutes then remove from the heat. Stir in 1/2 cup of the grated cheese.

  7. Spray a casserole pan with cooking spray. spoon a little of the ric mixture into the pan. Fill the pepper boats generously with the rice mixture. Place the pepper in the casserole.

  8. Cover with foil and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the peppers. Set the oven to broil return the pan to the oven and broil for 3 -5 minutes until the cheese is melted and golden.

  9. Remove the peppers from the oven and serve.

So, there is one less bag of grain in the pantry and finding the bag of gajillo chilies was a surprise that lightened the load a little more. I can say with pride that my last two forays at the grocery store were essentially only essentials…except for the Fish Sauce (I was almost out) and the Anchovy Paste (it was on sale). Baby steps….

Supper Without Meat: Overstuffed Poblano Peppers

Having established my supper parameters, I’d like to share another recipe that fits my working definition of Supper, more or less. This also is a Meatless Monday Meal that can be considered gluten-free, more or less.

I remember my mother’s stuffed peppers. she started with large green bell peppers  that she filled with a mixture of rice, tomato sauce, and ground beef. They roasted  in her oval dutch oven until they were tender and golden. They were hearty and satisfying, yet a little boring. Now that I am entering into a Stuffed Pepper Supper, I wanted something a little more adventurous. I have shared another Stuffed Pepper Recipe that is more of what my mother’s used to be but with a distinctive Italian flavor. This time out I was feeling a bit Southwestern and the resulting dish really goes in that direction. I was also looking for something that was quick and easy and this recipe delivers on that level as well.

I chose Poblano Peppers as the vessel, cutting the tops off to create  boats of deep green. These were more like a canoe than a boat and that is how the “overstuffed” came to be to be in the name.2015-08-31 18.53.39The poblano pepper tops joined red and green bell pepper along with some jalapeno to create the veggie base. Of course it wouldn’t be a Mama D recipe if there wasn’t some onion and garlic, so that made a noticeable presence. These ingredients all got happy as they sautéed in some olive oil.2015-08-31 18.53.07

Brown rice came along as the starch. This is a great use for leftover rice or any other grain for that matter, because you only need a cup or so. Mine wasn’t leftover which allowed me to cook it in some vegetable stock that was seasoned with cumin and chili powder. You can always give that Latin flair to your leftovers by adding some of the above spices to you grain. 2015-08-31 19.04.30Instead of the usual tomato sauce, I used some Red Chili Sauce that I had in the freezer. I’ve shared this recipe before and it’s another great item to make ahead and have for occasions such as this. 2015-08-31 19.05.32Last but not least, I added a can of Black Beans.2015-08-31 19.11.56 These were the reduced sodium variety that are becoming easier to find these days.Everything simmered together for 10 minutes or so before it was spooned into the pepper boats until they were quite overflowing and in serious danger of sinking. 2015-08-31 19.33.44They baked in the oven for 20 minutes before they were topped with some cheese. In this case it was Munster (because that’s what I had on hand), but any melting cheese would be good. I’ll try Pepper Jack or Quesadilla Cheese next time. A quick pass under the broiler and they were ready to serve.2015-08-31 20.12.01This recipe makes enough to over stuff four peppers. I only made two and used the rest of the filling for some killer “chip-less” nachos the next day. This is a great recipe to personalize. Add more veggies if you like or use quinoa, couscous, even farro for your grain. I kept this on the mild side, but you could add more jalapeno and spicier chili powder to up the heat ante. There’s always hot sauce du jour that can be added at the table to bring on more heat. In my case it was Tapitio, a Mama D favorite.2015-08-31 20.13.53

Overstuffed Poblano Peppers
Print Recipe
Servings
4
Servings
4
Overstuffed Poblano Peppers
Print Recipe
Servings
4
Servings
4
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Slice off one side of each poblano to create a boat like vessel. Chop the removed pepper pieces and add to the other peppers. Place the pepper boats in a baking pan that has been coated with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. If you don't have cooked rice, cook 1/2 cup of brown rice in 1-1/2 cups of vegetable stock or water that is seasoned with half of each the cumin and chili powder. This should take 30 - 40 minutes. You can do this earlier in the day or even the night before.
  3. In a large fry pan heat the olive oil. Add the chopped onions, peppers, and garlic, tossing to coat everything. Cook over medium heat until everything begins to soften.
  4. Add the remaining cumin and chili powder and let them cook and get fragrant for a couple of minutes. Stir in the rice and toss until well combined with the vegetables. Cook a couple of minutes more.
  5. Add the chili or tomato sauce, stirring it in well. Allow to cook a few more minutes. If the mixture seems dry add some of the vegetable stock as the mixture cooks. Stir in the drained beans and toss to combine.
  6. Divide the filling between the pepper boats. They will be filled to overflowing which is perfectly fine. Cover loosely with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes. The boats should be soft and the filling hot.
  7. Remove the foil and sprinkle some of the shredded cheese on top of each pepper. Broil for 3 minutes or so until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown.
  8. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Pass your hot sauce of choice at the table.
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There are probably as many variations on a stuffed pepper as there are readers of this post. Make you own version that will float your (pepper) boat. As always you are welcome to share your adventures right here. I hope that you do.

Downsizing the Freezer and Stuffed Peppers

Our efforts to downsize are paying off. One garage sale has been held with respectable success. Closets are devoid of useless clothes and there are spaces were small pieces of furniture used to be. One of the tasks as we prepare to move is using up what is in the freezer and pantry. Of course our new digs will have a freezer and if I’m creative in space usage, a pantry, but it’s a good excuse to clean things out a bit. A recent exploration of the freezer revealed a small portion of Italian Meatloaf and a quart bag of Vegetable Stock. The recipes for both of these have appeared in earlier posts  You can access them on the RECIPES  page. Just search by the recipe title.

There wasn’t enough meatloaf (this made of ground turkey and turkey Italian sausage) to star in a meal, but it could become an integral part of an ensemble cast. This was my protein of choice/necessity. Any other protein you have on hand would be equally wonderful.DIGITAL CAMERAAs I pondered the contents of my vegetable bins, I found 2 lovely colored bell peppers and the inspiration to stuff them came to me. But to stuff them with, what? I had a few mushrooms that were a bit past their prime and a zucchini with more than a little life left in it.  In the back corner of the butter keeper I found a package of Sun-Dried Tomatoes. It is Mama D’s Kitchen, so of course there were onions and garlic on the counter. The cast, or most of it, was in place…DIGITAL CAMERARice is the traditional ingredient in stuffed peppers and I decided it was  a tradition that I liked, so Brown Rice cooked in some of my Vegetable Stock and was ready to join the players.DIGITAL CAMERAThe gathering was almost complete. There is usually a tomato sauce component to most stuffed peppers and a further search of the freezer turned up a small container of Marinara Sauce. Again, too little for a major role, but just enough to top the peppers once they were stuffed.

I sautéed the onions, mushrooms, zucchini, and garlic in a little olive oil before I added them to the rice and meatloaf. I raided my garden herbs and added a generous handful to the bowl.DIGITAL CAMERAThe sun-dried tomatoes were the dry kind so they were just snipped and added to the mixture. I moistened everything with more Vegetable Stock and let it sit in the refrigerator for several hours. An added bonus as the mixture got happy in the frig, the tomatoes plumped up and became tender and juicy.DIGITAL CAMERAFinally, it was time to stuff the peppers. I opted to cut them in half lengthwise to make four pepper boats. I filled them liberally since I had a lot of filling and liberally is how I roll. I topped them with some of the tomato sauce, covered them with foil and baked them for about 35 minutes.DIGITAL CAMERAI removed the foil and added some Romano Cheese. A few more minutes in the oven and they were ready to enjoy.DIGITAL CAMERAThey were delicious and a perfect meal for an evening that strongly hinted of Fall. They were a far cry from the 50’s stuffed peppers my mother made and a welcome addition to Mama D’s recipe collection.

Stuffed Peppers
Print Recipe
Servings
4
Servings
4
Stuffed Peppers
Print Recipe
Servings
4
Servings
4
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Heat the 1-3/4 cups of vegetable stock to boiling in a small sauce pan. Add the rice and stir. Return to boil and cover. Reduce heat and simmer for 35 - 45 minutes. Stock should be absorbed and rice should be fairly tender. Cool slightly and place in a large bowl.
  2. Quarter the zucchini lengthwise and slice thinly. Coarsely chop onion and mushrooms. Set aside with the minced garlic.
  3. Heat a medium fry pan and add the olive oil. Swirl to cover the bottom of the pan. Add the onion and cook and stir for about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook and stir for 2 minutes more.
  4. Add the zucchini and garlic to the pan and cook for 4 minutes or so. The vegetables should be slightly soft and just beginning to brown. Remove from the heat and add to the rice in the bowl.
  5. Slice the tomatoes into small pieces and add to the bowl.
  6. Roughly chop or crumble the meatloaf and add to the bowl. If you are using another protein, chop it into small bite-sized pieces. Add to the bowl. Stir the ingredients to mix. Add the 1/2 cup of stock and stir once more. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  7. Slice the peppers in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and white membranes. Spray a medium casserole with non-stick spray. Place the pepper halves in the pan cut side up. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  8. Divide the mixture between the 4 pepper halves, packing lightly. Spoon approximately 1 tablespoon of the marinara on top of each filled pepper. Cover tightly with foil and place in the oven. Bake for 35 minutes.
  9. Remove the pan from the oven and remove the foil. Add another tablespoon or so of the marinara to each pepper and sprinkle with the cheese. Spoon any remaining marinara into the pan to coat the bottom,
  10. Return the pan to the oven uncovered and bake for 10 - 15 minutes until the cheese is melted and the peppers are a little brown. Serve.
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We continue to sort through an astounding quantity of things that we have collected over the years. Closets and cabinets hold as much extra stuff as the freezer. At times the process is painful…we’ve become attached to many things. They are, as we are beginning to realize, just things. They represent memories that we can hold onto without a tangible souvenir. Our next chapter has plenty of room for those memories and newly found space for the memories and souvenirs to come.    Love, Mama D