May 3, 2013 by annmquintero
I’ve been meaning to stuff some veggies for a while, and when I saw ground buffalo on sale at the market, I decided it was time! I remember as a kid eating green bell peppers stuffed with ground beef and rice and soaked in tomato sauce. Of course, I’d eat out the insides and skip the delicious and nutritious casing. But I’m an adult now and love capsicums!
You could, of course, substitute red peppers for green, or beef or turkey for buffalo. Maybe throw in the fresh, loose sausage of your choice. The things you can stuff in a pepper are really quite endless. The herbs and spices you choose are similarly endless. I’m kind of stuck with simplicity here, but you guys should go crazy!
What you’ll need:
Aluminum foil, maybe
Bell peppers, 4
Bacon, 5 slices, chopped
Onion, 1, chopped
Ground buffalo (or whatever), 1 lb.
Mushrooms, 1 pint, chopped
Zucchini, 2, chopped
Tomato, 1, diced
Salt and pepper
Parmesan or pecorino (optional)
Preheat oven to 425F
Start by cooking your bacon in a pan on medium low heat. Once crisp, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the chopped onion to the drippings in the pan, salt, and allow to soften. Add the ground meat, break up with the back of your spoon, and turn up the heat to medium high. As always, browning = flavor, so don’t stir the meat constantly. If you let it sit quietly for a bit, it’ll get some browning on it. Once cooked through, remove the meat to the side with the slotted spoon. Add the zucchini and mushrooms to the pan with drippings from the meat and the bacon in it. Salt and pepper and let cook until softened.
While you’ve been letting everything cook in the pan, I recommend turning your eye to your peppers and your baking dish. Use a small knife to cut the top out of the pepper, removing the seeds and stem, just like on a jack o’ lantern. Use your fingers to remove any excess white fibers inside and salt the inside liberally. Ideally, you’ll have found four peppers that can stand up on their bases unaided, but if that’s not the case, you can always build a little support out of foil, as shown here.
Once your baking pan and your peppers are ready, re-incorporate all the meat and veggies in the pan and add your diced tomatoes. Don’t forget the bacon! Scoop into the hollowed peppers equally and top with cheese if you’re going that route. If you decide to use a softer cheese like mozzarella or cheddar, I’d recommend waiting until the last 10-15 minutes of baking to get melty, but not burny.
Pop the dish into the oven for 45-60 minutes and you are all good! Because all the insides are cooked, how long you leave them in the oven depends on how cooked you like your peppers. You could even serve them in raw peppers if that appeals to you.
A note about this last photo. I actually made this dish the night we were on lockdown during the manhunt here in Boston. A friend of mine who works at Mass General had been working all day and came over after her shift for dinner. Because of the stay-at-home order, we were keeping it tucked in; and what says “tucked in for a city-wide emergency” better than home cooked dinner and a bottle of red? It was just as we sat down to eat that they lifted the order, and shortly thereafter that they took Dzhokar Tsarnaev into custody.
As I’m about to leave Boston for Charleston, I’d like to say how fortunate I am to be able to travel and collect experiences and find friends the way I do. I get to share stories and laughs and food and libations with new people all the time. Life on the road can be lonely, but I am extremely lucky when I find people who make me feel welcome from the first moment. I must’ve done something right in a past life. Cheers, Boston! Until the next time!
(If this is your first time reading EATS, I encourage you to check out the Introductions post for my philosophy and list of must-have kitchen items.)