I’ve been doing stuffed peppers for quite a few years now, and the thing I love the most about them is their versatility. A dish such as this can easily be served once a week because of the fact that it can be made in so many different ways. There’s no one true variation of a stuffed pepper, it’s seen in various forms all over the world, which means it pretty much comes down to Chef’s choice.
And any dish that calls for Chef’s choice is my preferred kind of dish.
So, for tonight, I’ve decided to make one of the girlie’s favorite variations and I’m going to show you how to do it in less than an hour.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Red bell peppers
- Long grain and wild rice
- ½ lb. Italian sausage
- Baby Bella mushrooms
- Cheddar jack cheese
- Sweet onion
- Fennel seed
- Red pepper flakes
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 F
Start by cutting the tops off the peppers and placing them in a small, lined baking dish. Make sure you save the top scraps.
Drizzle them with olive oil, slightly cover and put them in the oven while you make the filling.
Note: This is the shortcut. Normally, you would make the filling first, stuff the peppers and then cook them for longer on a lower temperature. But roasting the peppers while preparing the filling will reduce the final cooking time by about 30-40 minutes. This is simply because everything is working at the same time. (I promise they will still be just as delicious)
Now you’re going to want to start the rice since it takes 20 minutes to cook. I’m using a boxed rice to make the process even easier.
So, to follow the directions on the box, combine 1 2/3 cups water, 1tbsp olive oil, the seasoning and the rice in a small saucepan.
Bring to a boil, cover, then simmer on low for 20 minutes.
This leaves plenty of time to make the rest of the filling while you wait.
Chop the leftover pepper scraps and the onion. Throw them in a large heated skillet with olive oil and cook until slightly tender.
Next, break up the sausage directly into the skillet and give it a good stir.
Season the mixture with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and fennel seed.
Rough chop the mushrooms and add them to the skillet.
Stir occasionally until the mushrooms are cooked down. Then turn the heat to low until the rice is done.
When the rice is nice and tender, mix it in with the rest of the filling and take the peppers out of the oven.
Stuff the peppers as much as possible then line the dish with any excess filling.
Sprinkle cheddar jack cheese over the top and bake for 10 minutes.
Serve immediately out of the oven.
These stuffed peppers make for a rather hefty meal on their own, but I still like to serve them with some grilled zucchini or some kind of side veggie.
Realistically, a single good-sized pepper with a side can easily feed two people. But the girlie likes to talk a big game—says she’s starving and claims that she’s going to finish one on her own—and yet, fails every time. The funny thing is, her breaking point is always the same. She drops the fork on the plate…leans back, pushing the plate away…puts her hands over her stomach…lets out a long groan of defeat…then looks up at me and says, “UUUUGGGGHHH. Why did you let me eat so much?”
Each time I give her the “I told you so” and pack the rest up for her to take for lunch the next day. Fortunately, it’s one of the few dishes she’ll gladly eat as leftovers.
I think I only keep making two because deep down I know she’ll finish a whole pepper someday, and God forbid I take that chance at victory away from her. It has really become somewhat entertaining to watch at this point. I don’t mind as long as none of it goes to waste and she’s really good about making sure that it never does.
Anyway, I hope you all give these peppers a shot! Trust me, I’m not challenging you to finish one on your own, but I can definitely say that they will please the palate and fill a few hungry stomachs.
Until next time, take care.