Ah, the infamous stuffed pepper. I’ve made these many many times over the years. Always trying to live up to the delicious stuffed peppers my mother made, and I would always fall short. Always. The rice wasn’t seasoned enough. The peppers were undercooked. I could never replicate what she did. But, I love stuffed peppers. They’re filling. And comforting. And when made right, they’re delicious. So I decided to give it one more go. And am I every glad I did! They turned out fantastic! The rice was perfectly seasoned. The peppers perfectly cooked — soft, but not mushy. I added some cubes of cheese inside each pepper and it was salty and delicious. All the things I love. So I will definitely be making these again.
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Fun Fact of the Day: According to Canadian Gardening, outside of Southern Ontario or B.C.’s Okanagan Valley it’s hard to grow peppers in Canada. They love the sunshine and need heat to fully mature. Growing them in pots might be your best bet to get a real crop. That way you can move the pot around chasing after the sun and getting the most out of these little ‘uns.
- 4 large peppers
- 1 cup rice (I used fancy black rice from the farmers market)
- 1/2 cup diced cherry tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup cubed cheese (I used a combination of munster and cheddar that I had in the fridge)
- In a rice cooker, or on the stovetop, cook the rice using whatever method you like. I used my rice cooker and did 1 cup rice to 2 cups water. You can add in a little stock if you want to give it some extra flavour.
- While rice is cooking, cut up your tomatoes, onion and cheese.
- Prepare the peppers. Cut the tops off the peppers (don’t throw them out!) and clean out the insides of the peppers of any seeds. Remove the stems from the top, so you can place them back on the peppers once they’re stuffed. Like little hats.
- Heat the olive oil in a frying pan on medium heat, then and add the onions. Don’t let them burn, but stir them until they get that nice translucent look to them.
- Add the cooked rice, tomato paste and wine. Let mixture come to a simmer, then turn down heat to low.
- Let simmer for a few minutes until most of the wine has been absorbed. Add spices and chopped tomatoes. Give everything one final stir to make sure it’s well mixed together.
- Remove from heat and let cool for about 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 375F. Once cool, fill each pepper half way with rice mixture. Add some cheese cubes. Fill with more rice. And top off with another cube or two of cheese. Replace pepper tops.
- Place stuffed peppers in a dutch oven (or any kind of pot with an ovenproof lid). Make sure they’re standing up. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil if you like and add enough water to the pot so that the liquid comes to at least half way up the side of the peppers.
- With the lid on, bake the peppers for 30-35 minutes. Remove lid, and cook for another 10-15 minutes (make sure to check so they don’t burn). Peppers should be soft and a little charred around the edges. Perfect to eat!
Paolo Zinatelli is a writer for Spectator Tribune. Follow him at: @paoloz5