We chose to make this Cooks Illustrated dish (with a couple of mods) on a whim, and it turned out to be a great dish that we intend to make regularly. It’s incredibly easy to make, and this recipe calls for ingredients that you may usually have on hand (I love those types of recipes!).
Ease of Preparation: Easy
- Table Salt
- 4 medium red bell peppers , yellow, or orange, (about 6 ounces each), 1/2 inch trimmed off tops, cores and seeds discarded
- 1/2 cup brown rice (or your preference)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion , chopped fine (about 1 cup)
- 12 ounces ground beef , preferably ground chuck
- 3 medium cloves garlic , minced
- 1 teaspoon chili pepper
- 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes , drained, 1/4 cup juice reserved
- 5 ounces Monterey Jack cheese , shredded (1 1/4 cups)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
- Ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup ketchup
Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large stockpot or Dutch oven over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon salt and bell peppers. Cook until peppers just begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, remove peppers from pot, drain off excess water, and place peppers cut-sides up on paper towels. Return water to boil; add rice and boil until tender, about 13 minutes. Drain rice and transfer to large bowl; set aside.
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees.
Meanwhile, heat 12-inch heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat until hot, about 1 1/2 minutes; add oil and swirl to coat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add ground beef and chili pepper and cook, breaking beef into small pieces with spoon, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer mixture to bowl with rice; stir in tomatoes, 1 cup cheese, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.
Stir together ketchup and reserved tomato juice in small bowl.
Place peppers cut-side up in 9-inch square baking dish. Using soup spoon, divide filling evenly among peppers. Spoon 2 tablespoons ketchup mixture over each filled pepper and sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon of remaining cheese. Bake until cheese is browned and filling is heated through, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
Notes from Paige: I’m sure this would be a great dinner party option, as it’s easy to make and comes out beautifully. Although the bell peppers are deceptively filling (I definitely only needed one), you may want to make a few extras, especially if you do not plan to serve multiple sides.