Thursday, January 1, 2009

South of the Border Stuffed Peppers

Happy New Year!

After our delicious Christmas Eve stuffed squash I've been itching to stuff again! So when Bridgit whipped up some warm, filling beans and rice last night in the midst of 10 degree New England weather I knew what today's New Years Day dinner would be: colorful peppers stuffed with really flavorful and comforting rice and beans. This is just the thing for a dark, subzero, windy winter night. I wish I could stuff myself inside a warm pepper.

4 bell peppers
Olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 jalapeño, ribs and seeds removed, finely diced
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup Brown Basmati or wild rice
2 cups water
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (14 oz.) diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh cilantro

1. Dice the carrots, onions, and jalapeño and saute in olive oil with the cumin and coriander until the onions are translucent and the carrots are tender.
2. Add the garlic and saute for another minute.
3. Add the rice, water, beans, tomatoes and salt and bring to a boil.
4. Cook until the rice has absorbed the liquid. (Taste for seasoning.)

5. Preheat the oven to 350.
6. Cut the tops off the peppers (but save them!!) about an inch down and remove the seeds/ribs with a small paring knife.
7. Trim a sliver off the bottom of the peppers if they do not stand flat. Rub the inside and outside of the peppers with olive oil and sprinkle the insides with salt.
8. Arrange the peppers in a baking dish or pie plate until the rice is ready. (I popped the stems off the peppers and saved them to put back on once they come out of the oven. They make a nice garnish but if you bake the peppers with the stems on they will burn.)
9. When the rice has absorbed all the liquid fill the peppers to the top with the the rice/bean mixture.
10. Put the peppers' hats back on and cover the baking dish loosely with tin foil. Bake for about an hour or until the peppers are soft and cooked through.

* You could also cut the peppers in half and then stuff them if you are serving these as a side (or just to make them easier to eat).

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