california stuffed peppers
Serves:2 to 4 |
Prep Time:30 minutes |
Cook Time:30 minutes
I got a call from Martha Stewart Radio and they asked me to talk about stuffing peppers on the show today. Funny, because a few weeks ago I attempted to do just that when I got a bag of homegrown Anaheim chiles from a friend and wanted to adapt an old recipe called California Rice. It’s a Junior League classic that calls for mixing roasted, diced chiles with rice, sour cream and cheese, and baking it as a casserole. I wanted to turn that inside out and stuff the filling into roasted peppers. I didn’t get around to it then, but when Martha Stewart calls (or, at least, her peeps do) you hustle! So I did and here’s the recipe…which, by the way, would be great with those Labor Day burgers I sent out last week or with any barbecue you happen to be doing. Or serve these as a vegetarian entree for two.
4 Anaheim chile peppers
1 cup rice (white or brown)
kernels from 1 ear white corn (or 1 cup thawed frozen corn kernels)
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cup crumbled feta
salt and pepper
1/4 cup grated Monterey jack cheese
Tomato-Basil Salsa (optional)
2 medium ripe red tomatoes (about 6 oz each), seeded and chopped
1 clove garlic, pressed
4 to 6 fresh basil leaves, cut into thin shreds
Adjust an oven rack so it is about 6 inches under the broiler (usually the second rung) and turn the broiler on. Place the peppers on a foil-lined baking sheet and put it on the rack under the broiler. Cook, turning peppers a few times with tongs, until every side is blistered and starting to brown, 6 to 8 minutes total (you don’t want to blacken them). Remove pan from broiler and place a clean dishtowel over the peppers to steam them. Turn off broiler, then preheat oven to 375°F.
While the peppers steam, combine the rice, corn kernels, sour cream and feta in a medium bowl and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Rub a little olive oil over the bottom of a baking dish just large enough to fit the peppers in one snug layer, like an oval gratin dish or an 8-inch square baking pan.
When the peppers are cool enough to handle, pull off and discard the skins (if pepper flesh is very thin, you can leave the skins on). Lay peppers on a cutting board and with a small knife, cut a slit in one side of each pepper. Holding a pepper in one hand, use a small spoon to scrape out the seeds and the ribs from inside; try not to break the pepper open too much, but if you do, you can push it back together when it’s filled. Clean out all the peppers, then lay them back down on the cutting board. Wash your hands (this is important to get the stinging chile juices off your fingers). Spoon the rice mixture evenly into the cavities of the peppers, about 1/2 cup in each, then lay peppers in the oiled baking dish, molding the flesh around the filling as needed to reshape them. Pack peppers tightly, so they are almost touching, to keep the sides from flopping open. Sprinkle evenly with the jack cheese. Bake peppers until filling is hot through and cheese is melted, about 30 minutes.
While peppers are baking, prepare salsa if using: In a small bowl, mix together tomatoes, garlic, basil and enough olive oil to moisten it all. Season with salt and set aside until ready to use. Spoon a ribbon of tomato-basil salsa across the middle of each pepper when serving.