Monday, August 23, 2010

Vegetarian stuffed bell peppers

The making of this dish marked a watershed moment for me — it was the first time I actually improved on an originally meat-based recipe by making it vegetarian. A welcome surprise, as I was getting pretty tired of consistently making some of favorite recipes worse through substitution.

I swapped the ground beef in these stuffed peppers, not with imitation "veggie ground round" but with black beans — an often overlooked ground meat substitute. Here's the recipe:



4 medium red yellow, or orange bell peppers, cored and seeded, 1/2 inch trimmed off tops
1/2 cup long grain white rice
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 can (10 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
3 medium cloves garlic , minced
1 can (14 1/2 oz or equal to 1/2 a large can) diced tomatoes, drained, 1/4 cup juice reserved
1 1/4 cups Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup ketchup


Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large stockpot over high heat. Add 1 tbsp salt and bell peppers. Cook until peppers just begin to soften, about 3 min. Using slotted spoon, remove peppers from pot, drain off excess water, and place peppers cut-sides up on paper towels. Return water to boil; add rice and boil until tender, about 13 min. Drain rice and transfer to large bowl; set aside.

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350°.

Meanwhile, heat 12-inch heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat until hot, about 1 1/2 min; add oil and swirl to coat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, about 5 min. Stir in garlic and beans, and cook until fragrant, about 30 sec. Transfer mixture to bowl with rice; stir in tomatoes, 1 cup cheese and salt and pepper to taste.

Stir together ketchup and reserved tomato juice in small bowl.

Place peppers cut-side up in a 9-in baking dish. Using soup spoon, divide filling evenly among peppers. Spoon 2 tbsp ketchup mixture over each filled pepper and sprinkle each with 1 tbsp of remaining cheese. Bake until cheese is browned and filling is heated through, 25–30 min. Serve immediately.

And the best part of this little experiment? This is recipe was adapted from America's Test Kitchen. So I'm also claiming to have improved on an ATK "best recipe." Christopher Kimball, I await your cease-and-desist letter.

Rice Stuffed Bell Peppers (Zeytinyagli Biber Dolmasi) on Foodista

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