Saturday, December 5, 2009

Stuffed Bell Peppers


Of all the recipes I made for The Gastronomer's 2008 Christmas present, these bell peppers may have been her favorite. She frequently requests that I make them again, and once when I was out of town she ate them for four meals straight. The original appeal for me was the apparent intricacy of stuffing meat inside a vegetable, but in fact they're a classic American dish that's quite easy to execute. The recipe's success can be largely attributed to the following theorem:

ground beef + cheese + ketchup = delicious

which has been experimentally confirmed over 10^9 times. However, there is some added complexity here which is far above the intellectual level of a fast food hamburger.

Recipe by The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook
  • Salt
  • 4 red, yellow, or orange bell peppers (6 oz each)
  • 1/2 cup long-grain white rice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 3/4 pound ground beef
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained with 1/4 cup juice reserved
  • 5 oz Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (1 1/4 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Pepper
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
Cook the rice by any method you choose. While it is cooking, cut off the top 1/2 inch of the bell peppers and scoop out the insides (it's easy to do with your hand). Bring a pot of salted water to boil, then add the peppers and cook until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Remove the peppers from the water and drain.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the beef and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl with the rice, and add the tomatoes, 1 cup of the cheese, and the parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the ketchup and the reserved 1/4 cup tomato juice. Place the peppers, cut side up, in a 9x9 baking dish. Divide the filling mixture evenly among them. Spoon the ketchup mixture over the tops, and sprinkle on the remaining grated cheese. Bake about 30 minutes, or until the cheese is browned.

Yield: 4 servings
Estimated Start-to-Finish Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Actual Start-to-Finish Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Substitutions: We often leave out the parsley when making these, and have also tried using Parmesan instead of Monterey Jack Cheese with good results. Adding some extra garlic to the meat mixture never hurts.


  1. I swore I'd never leave a comment, but your wittiness demands it!

    Now, go in the kitchen and make me a theorem!

  2. mathematical equations, powers...what's next? the new alton brown in the making? had to laugh at Cathy's comment...

  3. Sometimes you just can't beat mathematical language for getting a point across.

  4. I need to get you a copy of Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking. You might be stuck reading it for hours.

  5. Uff this looks amazingly delicious, thanks or this recipe.
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