Thursday, February 27, 2014

Peppers Unstuffed - Easy Weeknight One-Pan Pepper Caseserole

I love many things about the flavors of stuffed green peppers. But the texture of the stuffed pepper often comes out all wrong and the pepper itself can be difficult to eat. Also, to my taste, green bell peppers on their own can be a little bitter. Also, coring, stuffing and cooking whole peppers is kind of a pain. So I take the easy way out. I don't stuff the peppers at all.  Here's the tasty little stovetop dish I like to whip up.

Meet the players: Ground meat (I'm using meatloaf mix and a leftover chorizo. You can use any ground meat you like that comes to around a pound.), A 14.5 ounce can of fire-roasted tomatoes, veal or beef stock and chicken stock (use any broth you like. I love a mix of veal and chicken. We're going to use a cup total), You also see tomato paste, which I decided later to swap out for tomato sauce. Also a few cloves of garlic (depending on how much you love garlic) and some onion. You'll need one cup of uncooked rice as well. Then you can either dice up green, red or yellow bell peppers or any combination of the three. Or you can do what I did and buy a bag of frozen pepper mix.

This is Kroger's 3 pepper and onion mix. It costs a little over a buck a bag and it is one of my go-to grocery items. This colorful combo of green, red and yellow peppers with onion is very useful.

Let's start out by dicing the onions and mincing some garlic. I enjoy smashing garlic cloves with a knife blade to peel them.

Then dice them finely.

Now add some type of fat to the skillet. You can use butter or olive oil or a combination.

Because I was using the chorizo, I cut it out of the case and crumbled it in the pan. I wanted to render the fat to use for cooking. Otherwise, wait and put the ground meat in at the later stage.

Let it brown a little, then add the onion to the pan and allow it to cook until it softens.

If you're using freshly diced peppers add them to the pan to soften as well. If  using the frozen peppers, they need to be defrosted. If you haven't already thawed them, zap them for a couple of minutes. Once thawed, squeeze as much water as possible out of them.

Add them to the pan.

Now add a good glug of Worcestershire sauce.

Then add the garlic and saute for about a minute.

Crumble in the ground meat.

Brown for a minute or so. But not for long. We want the meat to stay tender. Add an 8 ounce can of tomato sauce.

Stir it all together.

Add a cup of uncooked rice.

Stir the rice in until it's thoroughly coated.

Now add a can of fire roasted tomatoes.

Now we need a cup or so of liquid. I love the veal broth/chicken broth combo.

Add the broth to the pan.

Stir to combine.

Cover and cook over medium to low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Cook until the rice is tender, then turn off the heat and let it sit for about five minutes to finishing absorbing the liquid.

Salt and pepper to taste. I like to add a little cheese.

Parsley is a nice touch, too. I had some in the fridge.

If you put the lid back on for a couple of minutes, the cheese melts very nicely.

It's pretty tasty and a little more convenient to eat than a stuffed pepper. Although one of these days I'll figure out how to hack a stuffed bell pepper and make it work for me.

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