Recipe: Mexican-Style Stuffed Bell Peppers

My mom is out of town this weekend visiting her mother, so this means my dad and I get to eat all of the foods that we love and my mom hates (mostly, we’re just going to eat a lot of spicy food and various kinds of peppers). We bought some beautiful red, yellow, and orange bell peppers in the Strip last weekend and I’ve been waiting until this weekend to use them, thinking I’d try to make some sort of stuffed pepper. When my dad was little, his mom used to make him stuffed peppers filled with ground beef and white rice, but I wanted to come up with my own recipe and I really wanted to use Mexican chorizo, a spicy pork sausage. I decided to do Mexican-style stuffed peppers, substituting chorizo for the ground beef and Mexican red rice for the white rice, adding hot salsa and seasoning to give them a little kick. The result: sweet, soft-yet-crispy peppers filled with spicy chorizo, red rice, tomatoes, and onions, topped with melted cheese and a sprinkling of finely chopped cilantro—delicious!

Serves: About 6
Prep. time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: About 25 minutes total for both the rice and the chorizo-and-veggie mix; 1 hour to cook the filled peppers
Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients

  • Mexican or Spanish red rice (I used a 6.75 oz. box that cooked in 25 minutes)
  • 6 bell peppers (I recommend red or green, but if you like sweeter peppers, yellow and orange are a better choice)
  • 2-4 Mexican chorizo sausage links, casings removed and meat crumbled (pull the meat apart to make small, bite-size chunks)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Dash of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1-2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup salsa (I used hot for a bit of kick, but use whatever heat level you prefer)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Monterey Jack cheese or other Mexican cheese, shredded (I used a Mexican four cheese mix and Monterey Jack)
  • Fresh cilantro, finely chopped

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350*F. Cook the rice (following the directions on the box) in a medium pot. Cut the tops off of the peppers, and discard the tops as well as the seeds and membranes. Arrange the peppers, hollowed side up, in a baking dish. In the meantime, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. Put the onion, garlic, and chorizo in the pan, cooking until the chorizo is about half-cooked. Add the tomato, crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper and continue to cook until the chorizo is completely cooked through. Add the salsa and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to low and add the rice, stirring to combine. Once combined, spoon the mixture into the peppers, filling them to the rim. Bake the peppers in the oven for 1 hour, removing them when there is about 10 minutes left so you can add the shredded cheese on top. Remove from the oven, top with cilantro, and serve. Add more salsa if desired.

This dish is sweet and spicy and incredibly filling (I barely made it through one pepper!). The spicy chorizo, red pepper flakes, and salsa add a kick to the dish while the red rice and bubbling, melted cheese help balance that heat. By stuffing uncooked peppers, rather than boiling or steaming them before stuffing, the peppers soften but still retain a light crispness. I also love this meal because you can wash the dishes, wipe down the counters, and do whatever other cleaning needs to be done while the peppers are cooking in the oven—no dreaded clean-up after dinner!

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