Stir-frying the rice, beef and bell peppers altogether in a pan is so last year! How about stuffing everything in the bell peppers? It’s a perfect balanced meal within colorful bulbs of deliciousness, which can add a fun twist to your everyday meals.
What’s even better is that you could stuff them with almost anything you want. I tried leftover fried rice and it went perfectly! A recipe inception, perhaps?
Choosing Bell Peppers
Before heading to the rice bags, let’s take a quick tour around the colorful section of bell peppers.
Here’s a fun fact: chillies are spicy because the chilli plant produces capsaicin, a chemical substance that makes herbivores jump up and down after just one bite as it triggers a pain sensation. It was effective for the plant itself to protect its offspring. That is, until we came. What used to scare off herbivores is now a hotly delicious spice used in everyday cooking- we are such apex predators that we trigger this defensive mechanism for our own pleasure!
Chillies themselves have many varieties. Unlike their fiery cousin, jalapenos, bell peppers aren’t spicy, but rather mild and sweet. Their smell is unmistakable and is the object of endless cravings by billions of souls.
For easy categorisation, we could say that bell peppers come in 3 colors: red, yellow and green. The green ones are un-ripen fruits, and un-ripen means crunchier, spicier, grassier and less sweet than its mid-ripe yellow and fully ripe red versions.
So, to best fulfil your appetite, go for red bell peppers as they are sweeter. Also, once coming out of the oven, yellow and green peppers will turn to a “desaturated” version of their “fresh” selves while red ones look better. Also, make sure to choose heavier and shinier bells. Those with soggy spots are usually not that fresh, for your information.
What rice to choose?
Rice is so versatile! It’s good with almost anything and can be cooked in so many ways.
However, not just any kind works. After taking the first spoonful, I discovered that I had made the mistake of buying the wrong type. It has so many brands and types, and it’s your job to find just the one.
Although the types are countless, we can begin to make some sense of them by sorting by texture: soft, hard and glutinous rice. As the names infer, soft rice is tender, hard rice is firm and glutinous rice is chewy.
Since we cook the rice twice, in the pan and in the oven, we don’t want it to come out soggy and porridge-y (I learned this lesson the hard way). Therefore, hard rice or glutinous rice (which I prefer) will more appropriately fulfil your needs and make you want more after each bite.
What else should I stuff the bell peppers with?
Protein options: As said, since rice can be eaten with basically anything, there’s no limit in choosing your protein. Cook and season your rice with minced pork, beef or chunks of sausage, etc. Be creative!
Sauce options: Personally, I don’t think there is any better option than tomato sauce. The strong aroma of bell peppers doesn’t mix well with many kinds of sauce.
Cheese: Why not? Cheese always adds a salty, musty flavor to dishes. Grate some parmesan on top after baking and you’ll get bombs of oozy deliciousness.
Stuffed Peppers Recipes
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1/2 cup uncooked long grain white rice
- 1 cup water
- 31.8 oz green bell pepper 6 medium
- 16 oz tomato sauce 2 can
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- Remove the tops, seeds, and the spicy membrane of the bell peppers. (Slice just the tips at the bottom of the peppers if necessary so that they will stand upright. Don’t overdo it though, because we need them to stay intact!)
- Place the rice and water in a sauce pan and turn the heat on medium. When it boils, reduce heat, cover, and cook for 20 minutes. In another skillet, sautée the beef over medium heat until evenly browned .
- In a bowl, mix the browned beef, cooked rice, 1 can tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder and onion powder. Season the mixture with salt and pepper.
- Fill each hollowed pepper with 2-3 scoops of the rice mixture. Mix the remaining tomato sauce and Italian seasoning in a bowl and brush over the top of the filling in each pepper.
- Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven, basting the top with sauce every 15 minutes until the peppers are tender.
- Serve immediately and garnish with parsley if desired.